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Research on lectures

  • Ruhl, K. L., Hughes, C.A., & Schloss, P. J. (1987, Winter) Using the pause procedure to enhance lecture recall. Teacher Education and Special Education, 10, 14-18.

Summary: In this study an instructor paused for two minutes on three occassions during each of five lectures: the intervals ranged from 12-18 minutes. During the pauses, while students worked in pairs to discuss and rework their notes, no interaction occurred between the instructor and the students. At the end of each lecture, students were given three minutes to write down everything they could remember from the lecture (free recall); 12 days after the last lecture, the students were also given a 65 item multiple-choice test to measure long-term retention. A control group received the same lectures(using the same aneccdotes and visual aids) and were similarly tested. In two separate courses repeated over two semesters, the results were striking and consistent: Students hearing the lectures while the instructor paused did significantly better on the free recall and the comprehensive test. In fact, the magnitude of the difference in mean scores between the two groups was large enough to make a difference of two letter grades depending upon cutoff points. The implication of this research is staggering, for it essentially says that if we talk six minutes less, students learn more. Undoubtedly these counterintuitive results stem from two things; 1) the short lectures (12-18 minutes) are consistent with the research that suggests that students' ability to retain information falls off substantially after 10-20 minutes; and 2) by engaging in an activity that reinforces the information presented, student learning should increase. This study of Rhul and others clearly suggests that we have an opportunity to incude short active-learning activities into our lectures with no loss of content learned. From http://www.blinn.edu/faculty_dev/Using%20the%20pause%20procedure.pdf


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One minute paper


What is a clicker?

Discrepant events


  1. Improving Learning Outcomes: Interteaching as an Alternative to Lecture in Undergraduate Education - By Alan Scoboria http://apps.medialab.uwindsor.ca/cfl/reflexions/volume02/issue01/scoboria.htm
  2. "This is a response to | Craig Deed's Students walking out on lectures in yesterday's The Australian. "If I had a gringot for every time a colleague has complained in concerned overtones about poor attendence at their lectures, I'd be doing alright. The tone of the complaints I hear is not too dissimilar from clergy-like complaining that so-so didn't come to church or confession. Like it or not, my colleagues are slowly discovering that students aren't as motivated to attend the academic's holy altar as they used to be." http://ucspace.canberra.edu.au/display/~s613374/2007/09/06/Students+walking+out+on+lectures

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