General Discussion Don't Lecture Me! Science Finds Traditional Lectures Fail Students

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Shawn Hopkins submitted a new blog post:

Don't Lecture Me! Science Finds Traditional Lectures Fail Students

Did you ever fall asleep in class during a lecture? Don't feel bad, it's been happening since the lecture was invented. Look at the 14th-century painting of a lecture above. That guy in blue with the sweet headband is totally napping.

But maybe it wasn't entirely your fault.

A recent study has shown that undergraduate students subjected to traditional lectures are 1.5 times more likely to fail than students taught by more active learning methods.

“Universities were founded in Western Europe...
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I think that it depends on the learning style. I don't mind being lectured, I even like it, if I'm learning something interesting. I listen to podcasts and audio books, and have even found that I've taken to information disseminated in that way much better than reading (even though I love reading!)

But maybe those who aren't auditory learners would prefer something that they can put their hands on and interact kinaesthetically with, or animations and illustrations that speak for themselves to visual learners.


New Member
As someone who's just completed their first year of university, I've had very recent experience with these traditional forms of lecturing. Granted, they've changed a fair amount since the mid 20th century when students would just sit and listen to a teacher in front of a chalkboard, with no visual aids at all. However, I do agree with this article. Some of my professors were much more engaging and interactive than others, with some even having interactive displays on the screens that students could interact with via their handheld "clicker" devices. I found that I was much more enthusiastic and intrigued by the classes which were taught in a more engaging way, and I ended up skipping many of the lectures taught by the boring, monotonous professors.


New Member
I didn't need a study to tell me that, I find that classes where there are more activities and application of the teachings to real life situations stuck more than classes where the teacher stood at the front of the class, droned, scribbled on the board and droned again. The sad thing is that the latter is the most common method of teaching straight from elementary school all the way to college.