The flipped classroom: the perfect course for Roxell managers

09 September 2021
For several years now, Roxell has counted on its loyal partner, CPM, for selection and recruitment. In 2018, they asked if we would be willing to co-sponsor the training of their management team. We had no qualms about saying yes, even with a pandemic threatening to throw a spanner in the works. Keen to know the secret to this success story? The flipped classroom.

What does leadership mean to Roxell?

Before planning the training course itself for Roxell’s managers, CPM looked into what leadership means for the company on a general and individual level.
  • Which competencies really matter for Roxell managers?
  • Where do certain managers need to improve or continue improving?

A workshop with the management

To find out the answers to those questions, CPM organised a workshop with the management team. And naturally, Roxell’s employer branding played an essential role. We defined the core competencies and assigned a weight to each one. The workshop results were then compiled into a self-assessment questionnaire that we gave to the members of the management team. How did they score themselves for each competency?

We took time to personally discuss the individual reports generated by the questionnaire with every participant. That allowed us to define which topics should be covered in the training course, which would consist of three workshops for around 30 managers divided into five groups.

And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Social distancing measures made it impossible for us to hold a traditional workshop. Fortunately, that wasn’t a setback; Roxell was immediately enthusiastic when we suggested using a flipped classroom.

So, what is a ‘flipped classroom’?

A flipped classroom doesn’t operate according to the rules of a workshop in a classroom setting, where participants are expected to work through the content on their own. Instead, the situation is flipped; participants study the theory and assignments at home first, after which they get together to work on them as a group in a ‘classroom’ workshop.

Flipped classrooms are a proven winning formula, but there are challenges involved. Joris Ghijssels, CPM-trainer: ‘Every participant was responsible for handling the material on their own by a deadline, i.e. when everyone gets together for a workshop in a classroom setting. We constantly monitored participant progress to ensure that everyone was sufficiently prepared to participate in the workshop.’

Flipped classroom benefits

It goes without saying that a group of 30 managers is bound to be diverse, including seasoned profiles and those new to the job. What’s more, nearly all had different prior training or education and management experiences. The advantages of flipped classrooms make the most out of that:
  • Geared towards a diverse audience: every future ‘class’ participant processes the learning material at home at their own pace.
  • In the classroom workshop, the various participants start from the same position.
  • Even though workshops usually only last a few hours, participants can instantly get down to business in a way that’s application and solution-oriented.

CPM trainer Joris Ghijssels is also a flipped classroom advocate: ‘Participants don’t get stuck as long on certain pain points. After about two hours, they’re ready to develop a concrete action plan; what are we going to do and how will we do it?’

Roxell + CPM: a dual effort

Four weeks after each workshop – i.e. after four weeks of testing the action plan developed as a group in the classroom workshop – CPM set up an intervision event. There were three in total, one for each workshop. Roxell chose to be closely and actively involved in the process, having its HR Department lead the sessions. And it made sure to come well-prepared so that the intervention events would not devolve into talking shops. To help them achieve that objective, CPM hosted a separate workshop for them first and attended the first intervision event.

Coming to America … and Malaysia

The flipped classroom made it possible for Roxell and CPM to put theory into practice much faster and, as a result, act at lightning speed. While that demands greater maturity from the company and participants, it wasn’t an issue for Roxell. Given the pandemic measures, carrying out much of their preparation at home when it was convenient to them turned out to be an even sharper advantage for participants.

In any event, participants abroad are enthusiastic about flipped classrooms. Joris Ghijsels: ‘We’ll never know whether flipped classrooms would have gotten such a great opportunity without the COVID-19 pandemic. Either way, its tremendous success has currently led CPM to implement the method in Roxell’s leadership training in the United States and Malaysia as well.’

Roxell is a market leader in automated feeding, drinking, nesting, heating and ventilation systems for poultry farms and pig holdings worldwide.  It is headquartered in Belgium (Maldegem) and has production sites in the United States and Malaysia, as well as a sales office in Moscow. Most employees are graduates with (advanced) technical training. Roxell is a subsidiary of CTB, Inc.

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