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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-3

Reframing the lecture versus active learning debate: Suggestions for a new way forward

Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Todd Zakrajsek
School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/EHP.EHP_14_18

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For nearly 1000 years, lecture has been the most frequently used teaching strategy in higher education. Over the past 20 years, there has been increasing pressure to stop lecturing and instead use more active and engaged teaching strategies. An unfortunate result of the attack on the lecture is that faculty members have resisted being told to completely abandon lecturing. This has critically slowed the adoption of more contemporary evidence-based teaching strategies that would likely have advanced student learning beyond where it is today. This article includes four key challenges regarding the “active learning versus lecture” debate. Issues presented address a better understanding of what is meant by “the lecture,” a better understanding of the empirical studies comparing active learning to lecturing, a challenge to the claim that students do not learn well from the lecture, and that the comparison of active learning to lecturing is not an appropriate comparison. The primary position of this paper is that the adoption of contemporary evidence-based strategies designed to advance student learning is much more likely to be accepted and adopted by faculty members if the “active learning versus lecture” position is reframed in favor of an integrated position of combining lecture strategies with more active and engaged learning strategies. This approach would also be more consistent with existing evidence on teaching for deep learning.

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