In Defense of Lecture

Mark Guzdial, Jul 27, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Oh, I think this point in defense of lectures is exactly right. "If you recognize that the complete sentence is 'Lectures don't work…for inexperienced or lazy learners,' then you realize that using 'active learning' with professionals at a formal conference is insulting to your audience. You are assuming that they can't learn on their own, without your scaffolding." Now, sometimes they can't actually learn, even if they are professionals - if they are learning outside their domain of expertise, for example. But people who are interested and motivated and able to learn on their own need little help - they'll turn a lecture into active learning in their own way, through note-taking, engaging with the speaker, or simply listening with an active, questioning mind.
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