An interesting list of reasons from The Guardian (15 May 2014) of the 10 reasons why face-to-face lectures just don’t work:
1. Babylonian hour
We only have hours because of the Babylonian base-60 number system, which first appeared around 3100 BC. But it has nothing to do with the psychology of learning.
2. Passive observers
Lectures without engagement with the audience turn students into passive observers. Research shows that participation increases learning, yet few lecturers do this.
3. Attention fall-off
Our ability to retain information falls off badly after 10-20 minutes. In one study, the simple insertion of three “two-minute pauses” led to a difference of two letter grades in a short- and long-term recall test.
Lectures rely on students taking notes, yet note-taking is seldom taught, which massively reduces the effectiveness of the lecture.
Even slight disabilities in listening, language or motor skills can make lectures ineffective, as it is difficult to focus, discriminate and note-take quickly enough.
6. One bite at the cherry
If something is not understood on first exposure, there is no opportunity to pause, reflect or seek clarification. This approach contradicts all that we know about the psychology of learning.
7. Cognitive overload
Lecturers load up talks with too much detail, with the result that students cannot process all the information properly.
8. Tyranny of location
Students have to go to a specific place to hear a lecture. This wastes huge amounts of time, especially if they live far away from campus.
9. Tyranny of time
Students have to turn up at a specific time to hear a lecture.
10. Poor presentation
Many lecturers have neither the personality nor skills to hold the audience’s attention.
The solution to these problems, according to The Guardian? Recorded Lectures.
The article suggests recorded lectures are a win-win, benefiting both students and lecturers.
For more information on BU’s tool for recording lectures, have a look at the Panopto page in the TEL Toolkit.