Deep and Interactive Learning in Lectures
Written by Glen O’Grady and Frederick Chew, The Australian National University
In today’s session we focus on how our beliefs about teaching shape our approaches to interaction.
Brown & Manogue (2001), describe different modes of Lectures (they also share their own opinions about each mode). After having a look at the table below, think about what mode of lecture you feel more inclined towards.
|MODE OF LECTURE|
|The Classical— in which a lecture is divided into broad areas and then subdivided. This is the easiest method of structuring a lecture and, potentially, the most boring. An extension of this method is the iterative classical in which a set procedure is applied to each topic. For example signs, symptoms, diagnoses, management and prognosis may be applied to a set of related diseases.|
|The Problem Centred— in which a problem is outlined and various solutions are offered. Handled well, this method can play on the curiosity or clinical interests of the students.|
|The Sequential— in which a problem or question is presented and followed by a chain of reasoning which leads to a solution or conclusion. It is easy to lose the students’ attention when using this method so the use of periodic summaries is recommended.|
|The Comparative—in which two or more perspectives, methods or models are compared. It is better done visually rather than orally. A common weakness is to assume that the audience knows intimately the perspective or methods under review. If in doubt, first outline each of the perspectives.|
|The Thesis— in which an assertion is made and then proved or disproved through a mixture of argument and perhaps speculation. Potentially an interesting approach for students but, like the sequential approach, it can sometimes be difficult to follow.|
We believe it is worth considering what might drive the way we structure a lecture activity. There is compelling evidence that beliefs about teaching impact on teaching practices (Entwistle, 2007; Trigwell et al. 1999).
However, before exploring the connection between beliefs about teaching and lecture activities we should acknowledge that the fit between beliefs and intentions and action is never a “perfect fit” (Hativa, et al. 2001).
To identify your own beliefs about teaching and learning, we invite you to complete the Teaching Perspective Inventory (TPI). It is a free, short online questionnaire that will generate a report of your teaching in terms of your beliefs, intentions and actions in relation to five different perspectives on teaching (Pratt, 1998).
For a debrief on what your TPI report means you can watch:
Your report will show that you will have one (or perhaps two) perspective/s that will be dominant – meaning that at least in the context for which you answered the questions, you are likely to adopt a certain approach to ensure effective teaching and learning. These 5 perspectives are:
- Transmission: effective teaching and learning is a commitment to a transference of subject matter
- Apprenticeship: effective teaching and learning is engaging in processes focused on the socialisation and induction of students into norms and professional behaviour
- Developmental: effective teaching and learning is facilitating the learner’s point of view
- Nurturing: effective teaching and learning is based on students’ effort and achievement but recognizing that these stem from the “heart as well as head”
- Social Reform: effective teaching and learning is best measured in terms of a willingness of students who seek to change society in substantive ways.
Given these perspectives, it is interesting to speculate what type of interaction one might feel more or less comfortable with when conducting a lecture?
If your dominant perspective is… are your lecture activities like…
- Transmission… are you less inclined to want to interrupt the story telling and narrative of a lecture with student activities? If you do have activities are they inclined to want to test whether students have acquired the information shared in a lecture?
- Apprenticeship… are you inclined to want students in any activities to practice a skill they have acquired through your modelling?
- Developmental… are you inclined towards activities that show you what students know about a subject before you give any instruction and when they have been presented an idea how they are making sense of this idea and allowing them time to develop their understanding by working with others?
- Nurturing: are you inclined to want to students to increase their confidence about their understanding of a concept by allowing them to discuss and test their ideas with others?
- Social Reform: are you inclined to want to students to share how they personally feel about an idea and its application to real-life and its power in effecting change?
Over the 3 days in this espresso course, we have examined the idea of interactivity in a lecture (that involves relationships: amongst students, with the lecturer and with the lecture content). We have suggested the quality of learning from interaction is not a given, it is dependent upon the activation of various cognitive mechanisms.
On day 2 we looked at examples of activities used in lectures, whilst in today’s session we identified how our beliefs about teaching might shape what type of activities we choose to use in a lecture.
While we have unashamedly made a case for lectures that are more interactive, our hope is that we have given you some different lens to use when considering and planning your lectures. Moreover, we hope this coffee course has illuminated aspects of lecturing and interactivity that can make us that little bit more aware – and even mindful about teaching and learning in lectures.
Context in teaching will always matter – John Hattie’s extensive review of excellence in teaching found the best teachers were always “more context-dependent and have high situation cognition” (Hattie 2003). How we teach in lectures of course needs to be driven by context – our students, the course requirements, and to some extent the conditions that we teach in (class size and teaching spaces included).
But, we are not “neutral” in how we go about understanding contexts – our students, the course requirements, and the conditions that we teach in (inclusive of class size and teaching spaces). We have chosen to frame these context variables in certain ways – that may or may not be always explicit to us.
If you would like to experience an interactive lecture, and you are on ANU campus, you are very welcome to attend our next session of Deep and Interactive Learning in Lectures that will be advertised via CHELT. Or better still invite us to one of your lectures!!!
We would like to thank Karlene Dickens and Janene Harman and the rest of the ANU Online team for their tremendous support in helping us offer this course. They are awesome to work with!
Thank you for being involved in this course – we would love to hear from you! Have you say here.
- Brown, G., & Manogue, M. (2001). AMEE Medical Education Guide No. 22: Refreshing lecturing: a guide for lecturers. Medical teacher, 23(3), 231-244.
- Entwistle, N. J. (2007). Research into student learning and university. In N. Entwistle & P.Tomlinson (Eds), Student Learning and University Teaching (pp. 1-30). British Journal of Educational Psychology Monographs Series II: Psychological Aspects of Education, Leicester, England: The British Psychological Society.
- Hativa, N., Barak, R., & Simhi, E. (2001). Exemplary university teachers: Knowledge and beliefs regarding effective teaching dimensions and strategies. Journal of Higher Education, 72, 699–729.
- Hattie, J. (2003). Teachers Make a Difference, What is the research evidence?
- Pratt, D. (1998). Five Perspectives on Teaching in Adult & Higher Education. Krieger Publishing, Florida.
- Trigwell, K., Prosser, M., & Waterhouse, F. (1999). Relations between teachers’ approaches to teaching and students’ approaches to learning. Higher education, 37(1), 57-70.