Significance of lecturing, flipping the classroom

Should we flip the classroom?  Yes, based on the post by Kyle Webb.

Would this be the basis and pedagogy of the super MOOCs, where the classroom is flipped?  I have once shared that it MAY NOT BE THE SOLUTION.

Is lecturing still an effective method in education?

How is lecturing perceived, especially when incorporated in MOOC?  Lecturing is still the cream of teaching, as many lecturers reckon they are here to stay, probably for some years.  May be the format of mass lectures still bears the fruit, as this post reveals, it is still the traditional that wins for the time being:

The first reason I’m not worried is because I haven’t actually seen much research indicating that lectures are especially ineffective for learning. Indeed, some researchers have even found that “traditional lecture style teaching is associated with significantly higher student achievement” compared to many alternatives.

Nor do I agree with Butin that it is “sad” that “much of teaching…is highly prescribed and structured”. While students at the college level may be expert enough to benefit from less-structured instruction, the research indicates that more guidance in instruction is generally better.

How about the critics? Here are some opinions which show the other side of lecturing, in particular when learning in a super MOOC.

But what Bateson is really known for is making clear that there is a fundamental leap from “learning 1″ to “learning 2,” or what is commonly referred to as learning-to-learn or meta-cognition. Bateson theorized, and much research has confirmed—whether in the language of Schon’s “double-loop learning” or Mezirow’s “transformational learning”—there is a moment of insight, a meta-cognitive leap, whereby the individual is able to see the system within which she had been operating in and modify the pattern of behavior based upon this new-found higher-order perspective.

It is here, in those “aha moments,” where we find the limits of MITx and all such systems. The AI community refers to this as “brittleness,” in that all systems work so long as one stays within the parameters of the system. But as soon as the topic requires us to think about our thinking, to question our assumptions, to be creative in any shape or form outside of the predictable, such a system becomes untenable. The question as such is not whether MITx is better than human faculty. The question is for what content and towards what ends. For in the real world, we humans do open-ended things with closed-ended knowledge. This is what no MOOC can teach.

My experience with MOOC is: yes, you could learn all these learning-to learn, or meta-cognition, and ultimately transformational learning, but not with the traditional lecture type, and not even the short videos of 5-10 minutes.  I have discussed all these in my previous posts on transformational learning here and here, within MOOCs.  You could learn through the Connectivist MOOCs.  It just takes time for you to master those learning, but surely not through lecturing, or watching video lectures only.

Lecturing could be a useful teaching tool.  However, if we want to help and support learners to become autonomous, self-directed and organising learners, then lecturing is surely not the ideal tool to complete this goal, as I have argued here.

Finally, it is generally agreed that student-centred discussion in small groups are better than lectures for developing problem-solving skills, encouraging independent learning, changing attitudes, and motivating further learning (McInnis, C.).  Indeed, we have also found that students would prefer interactive learning in groups or networks, rather than the didactic teaching often adopted in typical mass lectures.  To lecture or not to lecture?  It depends, on the content, context, and the learners.

I reckon we have got millions of videos (video lectures) already watched by billion people on the net.  So lectures are ubiquitous.  Is it still your valued choice?   You could spend tens of hours in preparing “great” teaching videos.  Whether learners are going to learn from them or from you could be a different story, based on lots of assumptions.

In summary, whether you are lecturing, or flipping the classroom would make some difference to education and learning, though the biggest difference would eventually lie with why and how you would adopt those techniques, or technology and tools, based on the needs and expectation of your learners, and your preferences.  What transform education is not the “mere” switching of techniques under a pendulum from teacher-centred to learner-centred approach, but a complete re-thinking about your or our purpose of education, and how best to cater for our education and learning, for our learners, and for ourselves.

Postscript: A critique here on MOOCs – the Khan Academy video lectures.  A related post here.   An interesting post here on lecturing.

Lecturing is coming back in this post of the evolution of the lecture.

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