The problems with lecture

The lecture-based model for instruction forces you to do the hardest learning tasks when you are by yourself outside of class. In this model, a teacher dedicates in-class time to low-level learning tasks. Specifically, in the lecture-based model for instruction, a student gets their first exposure to course content during in-class meetings via a live lecture delivered by the teacher to a room full of students. Such lectures are usually given in a monolog-style speech where the vast majority of the speaking is done by the teacher to the students. By the end of the lecture, teachers have presented a long list of technical content to the students sitting in the room. After the in-class meetings end, students are expected to engage in higher-level learning activities like sense making, problem solving, and creative work. In a lecture-based classroom, the out-of-class activities typically involve deeper thinking and harder intellectual tasks. But, because in-class meetings are filled by the teacher talking at you, this leaves no time for collaborative group work to support deeper learning. Thus, in a lecture-based classroom, you are expected to do the hardest part of learning when you are alone outside of class, isolated from your peers, and away from the teacher.  

In this post, we explore some of the problems with the lecture-based model for instruction. Identifying these issues is an important first step in creating learning routines that center deep learning and protect you against the harms caused by traditional lectures.

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