How Talent Development Propelled Ohio State to Victory

Ohio State defeated Oregon 42-20 on Jan. 12 to capture another national championship for the storied college football program.

On the field, the team used a power running attack to keep Oregon's high-powered offense off the field, which allowed the Buckeyes to control the clock and the score.

Off the field, under the leadership of its coach, Urban Meyer, Ohio State uses a form of learning familiar in academic circles: the flipped classroom.

According to a Dec. 7 article in The Wall Street Journal that ran the week leading up to Ohio State's matchup in the Big Ten Conference championship game against the University of Wisconsin, Meyer is known for imploring what he calls "on edge" learning for his players.

Whereas most football teams learn their plays and assignments by passively sitting in a classroom while a coach draws up plays on the board, Meyer's team uses short videos and graphics that players consume on their phones or tablets outside of the classroom. Then, once players have consumed the content and come to pre-practice meetings, coaches pepper them with questions.

The Journal articles explains the idea further:

"The theory behind it is that introducing students to new material through short video lectures, screencasts or online slideshows outside of class time allows for the lower levels of cognitive work — gaining knowledge and comprehension — to be performed outside the classroom on their own schedule and at their own pace. Class time can then be repurposed into workshops where students can inquire about the material and interact with hands-on activities. These help accomplish the harder task of assimilating knowledge."

“The whole idea is that if you can get players thinking about it and doing the mental work prior to being in the football facility, your time in the classroom will be that much more productive” Keith Grabowski, a former college assistant and founder of Coaches Edge Technologies, an online aid for coaches said, told the Journal.

Read more from the Journal story here.