Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Lectures Aren't Just Boring, They're Ineffective, Too, Study Finds 166

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Are your lectures droning on? Change it up every 10 minutes with more active teaching techniques and more students will succeed, researchers say. A new study finds that undergraduate students in classes with traditional stand-and-deliver lectures are 1.5 times more likely to fail than students in classes that use more stimulating, so-called active learning methods."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Lectures Aren't Just Boring, They're Ineffective, Too, Study Finds

Comments Filter:
  • by aj50 ( 789101 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @05:41PM (#46984077)

    ...but I liked lectures...

    Learning from someone who knows their subject much better than I do who has taken the time to condense a part of their knowledge into a well structured lecture is the thing I miss most when comparing university to work.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @05:42PM (#46984089)

    Prior to 1980, but after the 40's, education had gone the more "interactive" direction. But due to a disparity between educational performance between boys and girls, They switched to more lecture based teaching. The thought was that boys with their more dominant personalities interacted more while the girls "wallflowered" the labs and interactive portions of education. The NEA, feminists and other groups drove the Education dept to change teaching standards to make it more fair for Girls. The end product is yes, more girls in college (61% to 39%) but also a significantly lower percentage of boys in college, and higher dropout rates in certain areas due to a lack of interest. Also, since that point there has been a greatly increased "ADD" and "ADHD" diagnosis rate, since they boys are now expected to sit and listen for hours. This applies to all grade levels through soph/Jr college level ages.

    People knew this before but political correctness drove the wrong diagnosis, damaged the ability for boys to get an education for over 30 years and has led to a decline in education for that same period. Instead of finding the right solution (one possibility, Segregation by gender and difference teaching methods) the NEA and cohorts hamstrung 1/2 the US population, and probably that policy was followed in other nations too.

    Girls can handle themselves now and are less likely to be "put in the corner" by dominant and more aggressive personalities. Lets bring back more interactive education at ALL levels and give boys a chance again. And quick diagnosing bored boys as ADD because you havent been educated on how to teach anything but a docile girl class. Oh, and bring back punishments for bad behavior and let teachers control their classrooms.

  • by FuzzNugget ( 2840687 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @05:53PM (#46984203)
    Teachers are.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @05:59PM (#46984255)

    More it's a symptom of the ADD generation and startlingly shrinking attention spans...

  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @06:04PM (#46984299) Journal
    Because we all know that the one single purpose of an education is to train you for a job in the capitalist hell of the labour market. Critical thinking, political activism, creativity, and cultural development and experimentation are all excluded in the Educate Me For A Job model. Of course, the defunding of universities in the USA has caused their costs to go vertical - benefiting the vectoral class of financial extraction via student loans, precluding people from becoming activists, because if they get busted or booted they're stuck with a jillion dollar debt and no degree. Of course, the money for schools has been poured into prisons and warfare, where, again, it benefits the rich, and not much else. So, yeah, get a degree. Get a job. Be a useless debt slave cog in the machine.
  • by Dr_Ish ( 639005 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @06:06PM (#46984333) Homepage
    Although this study is good for grabbing headlines, the analysis seems a little bit shallow. For one thing, the focus is on STEM (Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering) disciplines, As someone who teaches at the college level in both a STEM field and a traditional humanities field, I am well aware that different areas require different methods. For instance, if one is teaching the basics of computational cognitive modeling, then some interactive segments are necessary. However, things work entriely differently if one is teaching, for instance, the history of the philosophy of mind. Another issue I have with the study is (as best I can tell -- I cannot access the original paper) that they do not control for lecturer effectiveness. To put it simply, we all know that some people are better at lecturing than others. That being said, even when teaching say, Cartesian Dualism, there are steps that can be taken to make lecture classes better. For instance, it is widely known that most humans have an attention span of between 10 to 20 minutes. So, it is simple enough to give everyone a break every twelve minutes, or so and tell a story, or some historical anecdote. Similarly, the Socratic approach, asking for input from students throughout the class and then encouraging discussion, can also make lectures much more effective and enjoyable. These are some of the things I do. That being said, I have known people who just drone on in a monotone, in lecture classes. Folks such as that can be utterly tedious. My point here is that unless the effectiveness of the teachers is taken into account, this study cannot be trusted.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @06:36PM (#46984641)

    I will offer the caveat of things like theoretical physics, which have no useful application

    As the saying goes, the things you don't know can and in fact do fill quite a few libraries. Lucky for you some other people who do not share your wisdom build all the nice things you use to post inane things on the intarwebs.

    Atleast you didn't go the whole distance and offered Mathematics as something with 'no useful application'

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @06:44PM (#46984741)

    Teachers are.

    That's one inconvenient truth. The other is its complement:

    students are boring, too.

    Just like teachers, not all of them, but those that are in class because they have to, not because they want to. And just as it takes an extraordinary student to activate a boring teacher, it takes an extraordinary teacher to activate a boring student. And here's the kicker - extraordinaries are rare, on both sides. Borings are far, far more common. Besides, with current level of teacher pay, passionate teachers are slowly going the way of the dodo.

  • Junk Science (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lawrence_Bird ( 67278 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @06:44PM (#46984747) Homepage

    Unless you can have a controlled study where both groups take the same exams and have the same labs/assignments the "result" is meaningless.

  • Prior Art (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eulernet ( 1132389 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @07:20PM (#46985039)

    In 230BC, Xun Zi wrote:

    "What I hear, I forget. What I say, I remember. What I do, I understand."


    "Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand."

    Nothing changed !

  • by khchung ( 462899 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:48PM (#46985631) Journal

    I will offer the caveat of things like theoretical physics, which have no useful application

    I will offer this quote from Particle Fever by Kaplan: "When radio waves were discovered, they weren't called radio waves, because there was no radio at that time."

    When the electron was discovered, it was called "the most useless particle".

    Quantum Mechanics give the basis of building up semiconductors.

    Yeah, right, no useful application.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:34PM (#46986663)

    Dictation is the problem. I figured out that I only needed to write down teh occasional key points or formulae to get the most out of lecture time.

  • by cain ( 14472 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @10:24AM (#46989189) Journal

    Learning to pay attention, take notes, and recall oral information is a skill to be learned and mastered just as much as the content of the lecture.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"