Research Proves College Lectures Need to Go the Way of the Dinosaur

A recent experiment proves what we all know: Talking at college students is a terrible way of teaching.

I signed up for a calculus class my freshman year of college that had almost 100 other students. Our professor talked into the whiteboard the entire class. I had a hard time staying awake, and had pretty much no clue what was going on. Too many professors feel right at home talking at students instead of fostering an engaging and interactive learning environment. Students are expected to sit there, take notes, and find some way to stay awake. The suck-it-up-and-endure-a-mind-numbing-lecture mindset is so ingrained in college, schools even assign room names like "Lecture Hall 4".

We know anecdotally that this is a terrible way of teaching, but now a recent experiment has proved that the lecture method really does need to go the way of the dinosaur. Science reports that a team of researchers, led by physics Nobelist Carl Wieman, recently conducted experiments in classes at the University of British Columbia at Vancouver and at the University of Colorado at Boulder which proves that "students learn much better through an active, iterative process that involves working through their misconceptions with fellow students and getting immediate feedback from the instructor."

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