Effective Lecture [workshop notes]

An effective lecture is possible according to this workshop I attended. I was surprised how many strategies can be used in a lecture to help a student learn.


The traditional lecture and the reasons for using them are being challenged. Both technology and pedagogical research provide major challenges for the traditional lecture. Yet lectures have certain advantages, especially where you can assemble a large number of students together at one time. This workshop looks at how you can make lectures worthwhile for students and strategies for making them more interactive.


By the end of this session you should be able to:

  1. State what you want to achieve with lectures
  2. Design lectures with a clear sense of how students are learning
  3. Create more interactive lectures
  4. Incorporate feedback in lectures


  1. One-minute paper. Write down the one thing you want to know about lectures to hope you in your teaching (my one thing is “engaging the students”)
  2. Introduction to lecturing. What are the pros and cons of lecturing? What is the purpose of lectures? How are students learning in lectures?
  3. Poll on aspects of lectures. Some challenging aspects of lectures presented to participants for voting- which are the most important to you and which the least important? Discussion about the results.
  4. What can lectures achieve? Participants to discuss what they want lectures to achieve in relation to their particular topics.
  5. The relevance of your topic. One of the most important parts of giving lectures is to engage students’ interest through letting them know why what you are talking about is relevant.
  6. Chunking lectures, interrupting lectures, the discussion in lectures, using clickers and other means of getting feedback.
    • Given that people cannot pay attention to more than about ten minutes, how should lectures be structured? Chunk the lectures up with concepts check, feedback and more.
  7. One-minute paper. What is the most important thing you have learnt today that you will use in your lectures? (It is possible to make lectures effective and productive.


Possible strategies include:

  1. Work conceptually, not with details
  2. Chunking – think in ten-minute brackets
  3. Frequent feedback – create opportunities to find out where students are up to. Use Kahoot.
  4. Students interact – talk to neighbours


Twenty ways to make lectures more participatory – Harvard University

Presentation tips for teachers (TEDxOsaka)

  1. Variety
  2. Doing (Students teach). “Nothing clarifies ideas better than explaining them to others.” – Eric Mazur
  3. Move
  4. Visuals should be visual. “Storytelling is a harmonious blend of images, narration, evidence and support.”

Confessions of a Converted Lecturer by Eric Mazur (abridged version)

Mazur advocated a shift from teaching to helping students learn.

Peer Instruction for Active Learning