Despite lectures being an unpopular method of teaching amongst professional advisers, it is the most effective. Lectures may seem traumatizing and mind boggling, but this does not deem it insignificant. This is a misconception, lectures help evolve the human mind to improve learning. Lectures are a focus of teaching in situations where the transmission of knowledge is vast and most vast, such as: Medicine, Engineering, Science and Psychology. in exactly the situations where transmission of knowledge is most vital, and in subjects where learning is most easily and validly measurable.
Here are all the reasons why lectures are considered to be significant for an university student:
- Lectures are delivered through speaking:
Lectures are essentially a form of spoken communication which is delivered to an audience by a physically present individual. A lecture is therefore a formally-structured event which allows the human psychology to improve learning. Furthermore, educational lectures are given in ‘courses’ (not one-off lectures), which enable the audience to develop a relationship of trust with the lecturer and progress in their learning. For centuries, information was communicated mainly by direct speech and individuals were almost never alone. By contrast all communication technologies – whether reading a book, audio-visual media, or a computer monitor – are artificial and contrived and studying alone is a difficult skill with widely varying levels of attainment. This is probably the major reason why so many people find it easier to learn from a spoken lecture and in groups rather than alone. The primary visual aid should the lecturer him- or her-self, especially the lecturers face, in particular the lecturers eye contact. The student should listen attentively to the lecturer and avoid all other distractions. One should subordinate record all notes and thereafter look through class handouts as doing the opposite may make one too dependent on the information they have been already provided with.
- Lectures are social-events
Lectures have the potential for a two-way communication – mainly the eye contact between the a lecturer and audience. This is what makes lectures easier to attend and remember than written material, because failure to pay attention in comprehend materials can be easily regained by seeing the lecturer and listening. Lectures that are delivered through an electronic media are used to transmit a lecture remotely – here the lecturer cannot maintain eye-contact with all members of the audience. This has two disadvantages: firstly that the lecturer cannot monitor the response to his words on the whole audience, secondly that remote parts of the classroom become cut-off from the lecturer because the students recognize that they are not being visually monitored. This can lead to students losing interest in lectures and in effect they are excluded from the lecture situation.
Note, Donald Bligh also suggests many advantages to lectures. He explains that ‘lectures are generally used to teach new knowledge and skills, promote reflection, and stimulate further work and learning’ (Bligh, 2000). He claims the ‘main benefits of lectures are that’:
- They are an effective way of providing information that is not available from other sources.
- They can be cost-effective for transmitting factual information to a large audience
- They provide background information and ideas, basic concepts and methods that can be developed later by private study, or in small tutor-supervised group activities. [Lectures allow students to enhance their knowledge as further self-study is required]
- They can be used to highlight similarities and differences between key concepts
- They can be a useful way of demonstrating processes.
Written by Halima Khatun