Is lecturing the cream of teaching, at the mercy of learning?
Photo: Credit from anonymous source.
Lecturing is the win-win-win solution in teaching, from last century till this decade, right? May be it is still a predominant way of disseminating information from the lecturer to students, be it a video lecture like Khan Academy or the mass video lectures throughout the Education Video series on Youtube Education.
Relating to the use of videos in higher education, certain trends are clear, where video production and consumption rate are exploding. Every minute, approximately 13 hours of video are uploaded to Youtube. University lectures on Youtube are exploding at an exponential rate too, though it is still not yet fully known on their use as an OER among students, except by checking on the number of hits on those lecture videos.
Besides, there are education videos on TED.COM that is competing for the attention of general public, educators and learners.
Mass lecturing or classroom based lecturing is still the holy grail that would last for another decade.
What are the views of educators and learners in lecturing as a means to achieve the educational learning goals? Here in a post:
Easy! Easy! Easy!
Is it any wonder students want Powerpoint slides of their lectures? They know that there is a world of knowledge available to them on any given subject. They also know that they will be tested on some of this information. Why not demand that the lecturer condense, organise, and present the information that is considered most important – saves the student from having to do it themselves.
Not a surprise, aha! Lecturers teaching in accordance to what is required in the course curriculum, and ensure the learning outcomes are met, through exposition of the deep-down-to earth content, case-by-case, point-by-point, and checking whether the students comprehend what has been taught through quizzes, tests, and examinations. Isn’t it what the administrators want to achieve, in terms of making sure the lecturers are satisfying the students’ needs and expectations, in providing a summary of learning, the cream of knowledge and wisdom. This would make sure that the students would conform with the requirements set by the potential employers in future work, as these students are accredited with a degree of excellence in achievement and are ready for employment.
What about the lecturers?
Lecturing is easy to do. In one hour (or 90 minutes or whatever) you can deal with 40, 50 100, 200 or 1000 students. In and out with minimal effort (plus the accompanying buzz). In addition, lectures are sustainable – easily recycled and reused. They are an easy way to teach.
I am not sure that there is much interaction in most lectures anyway. Moreover, I think Gen Y and their kids will consider 400 students in a lecture hall an anachronism. I wonder whether they will be able to concentrate for more than five minutes in a row.
Electronic interactions through small groups will be the absolute norm. Students will like it; financial administrators will like it.
I think Chris’s assertion of using electronic interactions with small groups would be significantly better than the mass lecture, as I have shared also in my past post of to teach or not to teach, to learn or not to learn.
Instead of mass lecturing, what are some of the options?
1. In University 2.0 Sebastian Thrun envisions the use of tools and technology in reaching hundreds of thousand of students throughout the world, with small video clips of short duration to provide snapshots of knowledge, just like what Salman Khan has been doing. The use of practice and quiz may be a good way to check one’s understanding of basic knowledge. However, when it comes to higher order learning, then such practice and quiz is not sufficient.
What could be used instead? Project-based learning is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges. See dozens of articles, videos, webinars, and more at Edutopia website: http://www.edutopia.org/project-
This is a constructivist approach towards learning, apart from the instructivist approach to learning.
2. A MOOC, Mobile MOOC or MOON approach to articulate and integrate the learning – both institutional and personal learning. This is based on a Connectivist approach to learning, though at times fused with the COPs, Situated Learning, Rhizomatic learning, and Constructivist Learning throughout the networks and communities, with individuals building their PLE/PLN.
3. What about other options? I have shared some of the future learning here.
What may be underpinning theories behind all these “exciting present and future scenarios”? How about Netagogy?
Here Terry summarises some of the recent distance education theories.
Postscript: Refer to this post on university-lectures-are-a-legacy-of-our-predigital-past. 12 July 2012.
Another nice post on who-would-choose-a-lecture-as-their-primary-mode-of-learning.