(Reproduced from http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Lecture-is-Dead/271794668781)
Enough with the Lecture Bashing
|Poh N-Z, Swenson, NC and Picard, RW (2010)*|
However, whiles the research findings are clear, what I found really significant were the comments to Murphy's blog about this research, which seem to show that lack of arousal in lectures may not be an indication of lack of learning and contradict the flatlining in the graph above. Here are some of the comments:
Very interesting, though from my own experience I feel that I learned very well from lectures (and I also remember the content of books and TV programmes well too)… I agree that they are essentially passive but it is possible to be mentally engaged nevertheless. I genuinely can’t remember a single thing that I learned during homework activities. Perhaps the effectiveness of these forms of learning depends a lot on the individual. Jonathan Firth
...While I don’t think that lecture should be the only teaching strategy incorporated, I do believe that there is a place for lectures within educational institutions, especially at the collegiate level. I agree with John. Being auditory, I love a good lecture and often find myself listening to lectures on iTunes U to expand my depth of knowledge. I think what the professor does with the lecture is essential, as well as what the learner views as the purpose of the lecture is. Lectures don’t have to be passive... Stephanie Franks
Maybe they need to assess their lecturing technique at MIT. I studied psychology at NUIG Galway, Ireland, and found most if not all the lectures very engaging and worthwhile. Kevin Doyle
The authors of the comments above recall their own experiences of learning in lectures almost fondly. In a previous blog, 'What's Still Good about Lectures?' I wrote about similar positive comments in an online discussion by academics about lectures and lecturers. The idea that passive learning works well concurs with Murphy Paul's earlier article called 'Couch Potatoes, Rejoice! Learning can be passive' which espouses the effectiveness of passive learning through observation, especially if students are likely to practice or repeat what they are observing and/or have prior experience of what's being observed.
Another, very different, example of contradiction in lecture bashing is within a Guardian Education article by Anna Fazackerley which details Dale Stephens Uncollege initiative and his ethos behind it, described in his book 'Hacking Your education: Ditch the Lectures, Save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More Than Your Peers Ever Will'. Whilst I don't have any issues with Stephens basic idea of debunking the belief that going to university is the only route to success, he contradicts his own book title by suggesting that non-students should try and "attend lectures" (without enrolling) because "the academics were more than willing to host someone who genuinely wanted to share their knowledge and learn". He seems to be suggesting here that, if you don't ditch the lectures, you might learn something.
So, perhaps the case against the lecture is not so open and shut. The lecture may not be popular but I'm off the bashing bandwagon for now.
*A Wearable Sensor for Unobtrusive, Long-Term Assessment of Electrodermal Activity
Ming-Zher Poh, Nicholas C. Swenson and Rosalind W. Picard. IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING, VOL. 57, NO. 5, MAY 2010 1243