Transitioning Away From Lectures: How To Adopt A More Active Approach To Teaching & Learning
Back by popular demand!
Thursday, April 6 ~ 1:00-2:15pm (Eastern)
Challenge - Adopting a "no lecture" approach to teaching
It is a real problem that many students don't learn as much as they could in their classes and, as teachers, we need to realize that the way we design our courses is one of the main driving factors in how much students learn. Even though the evidence against the effectiveness of lecturing is hard to dismiss, it is a significant challenge for students, teachers, and administrators even to imagine what a college class without lectures could look like. For many, being a 'great lecturer' is a point of pride and even the central pillar of one's identity as a teacher and so considering a class without lectures is a profound challenge to consider.
Even though lecturing is nearly ubiquitous in most college classes across almost every discipline, there is little if any evidence that lectures do much to help students learn. Moving away from lecturing is scary and difficult for everyone involved from students to teachers to administrators, but it is our obligation to follow the evidence and adopt a more active approach to teaching and learning that minimizes or eliminates lectures.
This is the second in a series of spring 2023 webinars focused on Active Learning. However, each webinar in this series stands-alone.
Lectures are the hallmark trait of the dominant paradigm of teaching and learning that started more than 500-years ago. This Transmission of Knowledge approach to education is so pervasive that it can be difficult or impossible to imagine that there could even be an alternative approach. Lectures, for most everyone, seem necessary and inevitable. The problem is, however, that lectures are not an effective way to help students learn.
In this webinar, we will consider the history of lecturing and acknowledge why this way of transmitting knowledge from teacher to students was necessary in a time when there were few books and the only way for students to access important content was by listening to a “sage on the stage.” Unfortunately for learners, this paradigm of teaching and learning with the teacher as a content expert with passive students sitting, listening, and taking notes has remained remarkably unchanged over hundreds of years even though learners can now access content in a myriad of ways other than a lecture.
Webinar participants will examine various types of lectures including continuous exposition by the teacher, lecture-discussions, demonstrations, and storytelling and consider the pros and cons of these types of lectures from the standpoint of both teachers and students. We will review some of the reasons why lectures fail to promote meaningful learning and, considering this, we'll explore our own roles as lecturers: why we lecture and what we believe our lectures are doing to promote student learning.
Participants will examine the wealth of evidence that students learn significantly more in Active Learning classes compared to lecture-based classes and then entertain the idea that it is time to leave the lecture behind. We will also confront the fact that students expect and often prefer lectures to Active Learning and consider ways to address this concern.
Finally, we will consider practical, evidence-based alternatives to lecturing and hear from former "great lecturers" about their experiences transitioning to Active Learning and the impact this new approach has had on student learning.
Great lecturers and skeptics are welcome to attend this provocative but fun session that will hopefully leave everyone with lots of food for thought about lecturing. This webinar will take an "active learning" approach so participants should expect to watch and listen but also to write, think, and communicate with the presenter and each other during the webinar.
- Explore the history of lecturing and examine the reasons why lectures became such a prominent aspect of the Transmission of Knowledge paradigm of teaching and learning
- Contrast this Transmission of Knowledge approach to education to the Active Learning paradigm as a way to consider the role of lectures in learning.
- Consider their own motives for lecturing, the outcomes they believe their lectures are attending to, and ask and answer the question, "why do I lecture?"
- Review and then compare and contrast various types of "lectures," and then consider how these different kinds of "lectures" fit into the teaching and learning paradigms we've identified.
- Consider why students expect lectures and often say they prefer lectures to other more active approaches to learning even though the clear evidence is that those students learn much more through active learning compared to lectures.
- Review the research showing that transitioning from a lecture-based approach to the Active Learning paradigm can significantly improve student success for all students and close the equity opportunity gaps that URM students and others face.
- Consider practical ways to transition away from lectures offered by former “great lecturers” who have adopted active learning alternatives.
- K12 & 2-year & 4-year institutions
- Academic Affairs/Instruction
- Faculty (full and part-time)
- Deans of Instruction
- Department Chairs
- Online Learning faculty
- Any educator interested in learning more exploring active learning alternatives
Eric Salahub has been at Front Range Community College in Fort Collins Colorado since 1999 where he teaches philosophy and serves as an instructional coach. In his coaching role, Eric has worked with hundreds of teachers helping them improve their craft in face-to-face, online, and hybrid classes. Over the past 10 years, Eric's main teaching and research focus is in Active Learning and he is the co-creator and director of the Active Learning Institute. In 2018 Eric was named the Colorado Community College's Outstanding Faculty and in 2019 he was awarded the Jerome Wartgow award for Excellence in Teaching with Technology.
Bio current as of April 2023
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The CRLA is a group of student-oriented professionals active in the fields of reading, learning assistance, developmental education, tutoring, and mentoring. In 1989, the CRLA created a training program that is considered ‘best-practice’ for tutor training. A fews years ago, Innovative Educators partnered with the CRLA to create supplementary training modules. Our training supports learning centers in achieving level 1 certification through CRLA.
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