Interactive lecturing- active learning methods for lectures
The traditional lecture format, common in Universities and still over-used in many other classrooms
across the world is the opposite to the type of effective, active teaching that we
have been exploring.
The didactic method of ‘ideas transmission’ to a group of passive learners through
a lecture comprehensively bypasses the various high effect size, evidence-based
pedagogic strategies explored by researchers such as Hattie and Marzano. Given
that fact, why is it that lectures are still the norm for so many learners...
A web search for the use of ‘active learning’ in universities however yields 10,000 hits. The teacher
development units in universities are aware that the traditional lecture format is inefficient (except in
terms of cost) and the widespread use of active learning methods that make ‘interactive lectures’ is
overdue. Check out this great link on pseudoteaching. With degrees costing £9K per year I would want a
bit more for my money...
Interactive Lecturing Methods
There are a suite of methods that may be used in lectures to ‘Hattie-fy’ learning. The key principles
when considering how to make lectures interactive are:
Students should visibly engage with the knowledge and ideas that are being delivered
Students should form links between items of knowledge
Students should be be supported in the formation of constructs
Feedback to the student and to the lecturer should be supported
Some useful strategies to consider include:
“In this technique the students are first asked to think about a concept or question (given
by the lecturer), and then they have to turn to their partner and discuss their ideas, this allows students
to discuss each others ideas and correct each other. After this, one pair joins another pair to discuss
their ideas. Finally the lecturer asks several pairs for their thoughts on the question. This allows the
lecturer to get instant feedback on the classes understanding of the topic. This feedback allows them to
either move on with the lesson or recap anything that has been misunderstood. This idea of working
with others is fundamental in learning. Research on cooperative learning highlights the importance of
group work to both the attitudes students have to learning and their performance.”
Minute Papers/One-minute essay
“Have each student write a very brief paper in which they 1) identify the key points, or 2) summarize
the lecture. This activity is effective during or at the end of a lecture because it gives students a chance
to solidify the information while the major points of the lecture are still fresh in their minds.”
These can be peer reviewed / modified by other lrearners. They can also be scrutinised / collected by
the lecturer and used to assess whether the learning goals have been met.
(University of Arizona)
Incorporate relevant exam-style questions into the lecture and provide the students time to work
individually or collaboratively on them. Questions can be embedded into the presentation or provided as
hand-outs. Self and peer assessment allows errors to be corrected and creates instant feedback.
You can consider a nice list of quick ideas for creating interactive lectures by visiting this page of the
University of Wisconsin-Madison’s website.
There are even more ideas here, especially if you follow the weblinks at the bottom in their reference
Use the word pedagogy in conversation?
If so, click here
So... examine the evidence
So... adopt evidence-based methods
So... enhance learning