Lecture as an Instructional Method

MaryRuth L. Nich, RN, ADN
Wilmington University
 “The
oldest, most commonly used, and most
traditional instructional method by which the
teacher verbally transmits information in a
highly structured format directly to a group
of learners”
(Bastable, 2008, p. 629)
 traced
back to Greek society and Plato's
Academy, where oratory was the principal
mode of mass communication
 In medieval Europe, often only one
manuscript of any work was available lecture was the way to share the knowledge
stored in these manuscripts with students
(Bland, Saunders, and Kreps Frisch, 2007)
 Provides
foundational background
 Summarizes data and current research
 Highly instructor-centered, but if wellorganized and delivered effectively, it can be
extremely useful
 Lecturer’s expertise important in providing
information not available elsewhere
 Introduction
– purpose is to engage learners’
attention and present learning objectives
 Body – delivery of content; this part may be
supplemented with other methods to
enhance the learning experience
 Conclusion – review of major concepts;
appropriate time for question/answer session
 Useful
mainly for the cognitive learning
“learning in this domain involves the acquisition
of information and addresses the development of
the learner’s intellectual abilities, mental
capacities, understanding, and thinking
(Bastable, 2008, p. 394)
 Information-Processing
Emphasizes thinking processes (how information is
incorporated and retrieved) – 4 stages:
paying attention to environmental stimuli
sensory processing of information (visual, auditory, or motor
information is encoded into short-term memory
Information is then forgotten, or stored in long-term
memory by such methods as imagery, association, rehearsal,
or breaking into units
learner makes action or response that based on how
information was processed and stored
(Bastable, 2008)
 Healthcare
education – professional
standards, anatomy/physiology, pathology,
 On-the-job training/updates
In nursing - BLS/ACLS, new medications or
equipment, RNC certification review courses
 New
employee orientation
 Outpatient education
Expectant parent preparation, healthy lifestyles
classes, living with chronic illnesses
 College/University
lecture hall
 Classroom
 Online
 Professional
 Continuing education seminar
 Businesses/organizations
 Highly
active instructional methods may be
incorporated into the lecture based on instructor
skill level, lecture content, and learner needs
 Able
to target large groups of learners
 Effective technique for the cognitive learning
 Cost effective and efficient – can transmit
large amounts of information to many
learners in a relatively short time
(van Dijk, van den Berg, and van Keulen, 1999)
 Not
individualized to different learners
backgrounds, prior education, learning
styles/needs, cognitive abilities
 The
instructor is usually the only active
participant; learners are largely passive
 Not typically effective for psychomotor or
affective domains of learning
 Quality of lecture is highly susceptible to
skill of lecturer
(Bland et al, 2007)
Easy to add audiovisual aids
PowerPoint slides, videos, slides, numerical
charts/graphs, images
 Handouts or outlines to emphasize important
Discussions, question/answer session, or “Fill-inthe-blank” lecture notes may encourage active
 May be used as a prelude to other methods, such
as gaming, simulation, demonstration, roleplaying, or group discussion
 May adapt for online/distance format lecture
(Bastable, 2008, and DiBattista, 2005)
 Outcomes
are greatly improved when
instructor develops a rapport with students
 teacher immediacy – “extent to which
teachers reduce the psychological distance
between themselves and their students”
(Bland et al, 2007, p. 12)
Use of gestures, smiles, anecdotes, humor
 Other
strategies to improve lecture
Slower speaking, frequent pauses, varying
vocal tone, making eye contact
(Puttee and Mezzina, 2008)
 Formative
– make adjustments as needed
Difficult in traditional lecture, but lecturer
should observe learners’ body language to
determine attention; also evaluate environment
(temperature, noise)
 Content
– evaluate the specific learning
May be incorporated by using discussion, games,
or question/answer session post-lecture
 Summative
– determines outcome of teaching
Final exams, writing assignments, licensure
Bastable, S.B. (2008). Nurse as educator: Principles of teaching
and learning. 3rd Ed. Boston: Jones & Bartlett.
Bland, M., Saunders, G., and Kreps Frisch, J. (2007). In defense
of the lecture. Journal of college science teaching, 37(2),
DiBattista, D. (2005). Fill-in-the-blank lecture notes: Advantages.
Teaching professor, 19(8), 1-5.
Puttee, C.M., and Mezzina, K.E. (2008). In defense of the
lecture: Strategies to assist in active learning experiences
in accounting units. e-Journal of business education and
scholarship of teaching, 2(2), 28-38.
van Dijk, L.A., van den Berg, G.C., and van Keulen, H. (1999).
Using active instructional methods in lectures: A matter of
skills and preference. Innovations in education and training
international, 36(4), 260-272.

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