Wednesday, 18 September 2013 08:00

Lecture as an Instructional Strategy

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Lecture as an Instructional Strategy
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Lecture is an instructional strategy that allows the instructor to transmit information to a large group.  Lecture is often the method college instructors use most because it is an efficient way to get across a large amount of information.  However, it is important to ensure students are actively involved in the lecture; otherwise not much learning usually takes place.  Try some of the following methods to ensure active learning:

  • Questioning or polling the group to assess understanding
  • Providing graphic organizers for note taking or organizing of ideas/questions
  • Chunk your lesson into small, 10 minutes lectures with active work for students in between, such as writing a reflection, discussing a question with a peer or taking a short, self-assessed quiz.

Pattison and Day (2006) also suggest lecture may be suitable if:

  • The basic instructional task is to give information
  • The information is not readily available some other way
  • There is established learner interest in the subject
  • The material is intended for short-term retention
  • Introduction a subject or giving directions for learning task that will be developed through other techniques (p. 75)

Instructor’s Role

  • Present the information
  • Provide visuals to support lecture
  • Allow and encourage participation

Learner’s Role

  • Actively participate (take notes, ask questions)

Watch the video Instructional Strategy: Lecture [9:00] to see an interactive lecture.  In it Tom Graham uses some of the strategies suggested above to assess student learning and ensure learners are engaged.

Do you use lecture in your class?  What strategies do you use to engage learners and assess them informally as you go along?


Lethbridge College. (2013). Instructional strategy: Lecture [video]

Pattison, P., & Day, R. (2006). Instruction Skills Workshop (ISW) Handbook for Participants. Vancouver: The Instructional Skills Workshop International Advisory Committee.

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Christie Robertson

I remember what it was like being a new instructor: too many questions and too many resources to sift through. My goal as a writer for Learning Connections is to help instructors with common teaching issues, whether they are f-2-f, blended or online. I want answers to those frequently asked question to be easy to find!