The reverse or flipped classroom approach is becoming a more commonly used strategy in the education world. The concept of this approach is to take the lecture setting out of the classroom and onto a student’s computer – and projects and “homework” away from home and into the classroom. In a fairly recent blog post on Training the New Generation I included a chart from the Society of Human Resource Management that showed a lecture setting has the lowest degree of participation of all types of learning and therefore has the lowest approximate retention rate.

With this in mind how can we expect users to watch lectures on their own time? We can’t. This is why to model that is used more frequently currently at Hanapin when it comes to the Reverse Classroom idea is as follows:

Outside of Classroom Training

When trainees are outside of the classroom providing more webinars, blog posts and videos along with a project for them to do as they watch or read through the resources allows the trainee to practice while they learn outside of the class. This works perfectly for a lot of advanced and basic PPC tactics such as reporting methods, bid methods, optimizations (Time of Day, Device Analysis, Location Analysis, etc.), campaign build outs, keyword research, etc. This creates a hands-on learning environment right away while not pulling too much time away from the experienced team members to train on the basics.

What should be provided to trainees to open up each week in this type of structure includes:

  • Training Videos to Cover the Tactical Side of the Weeks Topic
  • Blog Posts and Webinars to Cover Strategical and Tactical Sides of the Topic
  • A Real Project That They Are Responsible to Deliver to a Senior Employee at the End of the Week
  • Autonomy on Said Project to Bring New, Fresh Ideas to the Table Along with What Was Provided in the Videos, Posts and Webinars

Inside of the Classroom Training

What this means for inside of the classroom is less lecture time and more guidance time on the trainees projects. Inside the classroom is time to make sure the trainee is comfortable with what was covered in the videos, blog posts and webinars – and that they have a good grasp on the project at hand. Throughout the time outside of the classroom the trainee should always have a mentor they are able to reach out to – but assuring they are in the same room as a Senior employee throughout the week to help guide them on their learnings is crucial. And this allows for the Senior employee to help guide newer folks to PPC on real projects rather than just taking hours out of their week to lecture.

Trainee Mindset

In order for the reverse classroom to be effective, the trainee has to have a certain mindset about the job and the industry as a whole. If you want to successfully use the reverse classroom setting across the board then when hiring the following attributes need to be considered as higher priorities:

  • Extremely motivated – the candidate needs to be a motivated person in terms of getting things done
  • Eager to Learn – the candidate must be eager to learn more about the PPC industry – this way when autonomy is given to them they take it and work at a great pace rather than working at a slower pace than expected
  • Willing to Ask Questions – with less lecturing going on, a trainee (or candidate) needs to be willing to ask questions throughout each week of training. Some good ways of testing this is to get slightly too advanced in talking with them during the interview process and see if they try to fake it until they make it, or if they ask questions and move you back a step to assure they understand what you’re saying


Obviously, there are a lot of Pros to using the Reverse Classroom. Including:

  • Trainees have a bit more freedom on how to spend their time and pacing themselves throughout a week
  • Senior employees helping in the training program can spend more time on projects with trainees, killing two bird with one stone so to speak
  • Trainees will more often be actively learning rather than passively learning – which according to the Society of Human Resource Management helps with retention of what they are learning throughout the training process

Potential Cons

So, it all sounds great, right? Why doesn’t everyone just immediately start using the Reverse Classroom approach and take lecture settings away altogether?

Not so fast.

You don’t want to dive right into an all out reverse classroom setting due to the following:

  • The industry changes so quickly that it is tough to keep up with the resources needed for the reverse classroom setting. As stated blog post, webinars and videos can be used more in a reverse classroom setting, but with how often the PPC industry changes you’ll need the resources to keep up with the content for your training program
  • Introverted people could sometimes be confused with unmotivated people within the reverse classroom system. Something to be aware of is that people react differently when given a great amount of autonomy and some people may be uncomfortable asking basic questions not because they are eager to learn but because they are too introverted to do so and it makes them uncomfortable. When using a reverse classroom extra time needs to put on helping guide motivated, but introverted people slightly out of their comfort zone potentially. Simply excluding introverted people from your hiring process would be a huge mistake that a lot of companies tend to make – because you’d be missing out on a lot of extremely smart candidates when taking this route.

Final Thoughts

Onto the opinion side of this — which side is this guy on? Should we do a reverse classroom style of training or not? I’d say a mixture of reverse classroom and classic training is good within the PPC Industry specifically. But there are a ton of benefits to using a reverse classroom style as long as you have the right things in place in your company:

  • Continual adjustments to content that can be used in the training process
  • Multiple mentors in place for each trainee that they can lean on with questions throughout the training process
  • Trainers who have been through different training programs in the past so they understand the training process from beginner material to advanced material – and understand the questions that might arise