DoingCL - Lectures






Johnson, et. al (1991) and Bonwell and Eison (1991) highlight several uses where lectures are appropriate:

  • To disseminate information to a large number of people in a short period of time.
  • To present concepts too difficult for students to process on their own.
  • To gather information from a variety of sources that may take the students a long time to gather.
  • To arose interest in the subject.
  • To teach auditory learners.
  • To present information unavailable to the public such as original research.
For a more complete list of "advantages" and "disadvantages" of lectures, click here.

Even the "appropriate" lecture has shortcomings. Research shows that students listening to a 50-60 minute lecture are unable psychologically or physiologically to concentrate on the content and retain it. One study found students could recall 70% of the content from the first 10 minutes of the lecture but only 20% from the last 10 minutes (Hartley and Davies, 1986).

To encourage more active and collaborative learning in the traditional lecture setting, several authors have described enhanced or modified lectures (Bonwell, 1996; Bonwell and Eison, 1991). One such straightforward technique is the pause procedure (McKeachie, 1994; Rowe, 1976; Rowe, 1980).

Bonwell, C. C. (1996). "Enhancing the lecture: Revitalizing a traditional format" In Sutherland, T. E., and Bonwell, C. C. (Eds.), Using active learning in college classes: A range of options for faculty, New Directions for Teaching and Learning No. 67.

Bonwell, C. C., and Eison, J. A. (1991). "Active learning: Creating excitement in the classroom (ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 1)." Washington, DC: The George Washington University, School of Education and Human Development.

Hartley, J., and Davies, I. K. (1986). "Note-taking: A critical review", Programmed Learning and Educational Technology, 15, 207-224 (1978).

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., and Smith, K. (1991). Cooperative learning: Increasing college faculty instructional productivity (ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 4). Washington, DC: The George Washington University, School of Education and Human Development.

McKeachie, W. J. (1994). Teaching Tips, 9th edition, D. C. Heath and Company.

Rowe, M. B. (1976). "The pausing principle - Two invitations to inquiry", Research on College Science Teaching, 5, 258.

Rowe, M. B. (1980). "Pausing principles and their effect on reasoning in science", New Directions in Community Colleges, 31, 27.

Doing CL
More Info