Sunday, January 23, 2005

The value of lectures

The lecture is probably the most common and yet the most heavily criticised of all learning methods (Bligh, 1998). Learners often favour this method because it is almost entirely passive and demands little from them except the appearance of being awake. Trainers (and budget holders) appreciate that information can be thrown at large numbers of people comparatively cheaply. It is also a wonderful opportunity for those with a streak of extraversion to take the stage and expound on their favourite ideas without the intellectual challenge of debate. But is it an effective method of learning? The didactic nature of the lecture has attracted criticism. For example, in a university context, Barnett (2000: 159) describes the lecture as a:

'... refuge for the faint-hearted ... it keeps channels of communication closed, freezes hierarchy between lecturer and students and removes any responsibility on the student to respond ... the students remain as voyeurs; the lecture remains a comfort zone ... the student watches a performance and is not obliged to engage with it'

Nevertheless, the lecture can be a useful medium through which to convey broad ideas about a particular subject. But the lack of interaction means that misunderstanding may result and clarity on certain issues may not be sought. Success is dependent on a number of factors such as:

Full article at: The Value of Lectures

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