Intrinsic Deficiencies of Lectures as a Teaching Method

Predrag Pale


Lectures were, still are and seem to remain a dominant form of teaching, despite an increased research and use of other methods of teaching and leverage of technology aimed at improving teaching results and efficiency. Learning, as the result of a lecture, greatly depends on the subject, the competence and abilities of the lecturer as well as on other transient causes. However, lectures also have some intrinsic deficiencies as a teaching method pertinent to their very nature. In order to fully understand the teaching value of lectures and their role and proper use in educational systems, their deficiencies have been studied in a theoretical analysis from the perspective of cognitive learning theories. Fifteen deficiencies have been identified and clustered in three categories based on root causes of deficiencies: synchronicity problems, time constraint and individual student abilities, needs and knowledge. These findings can be used to adjust expected learning outcomes of lectures, to properly (re)design lecture content and process and to design other learning and teaching activities that would compensate and complement lectures. Recommendations are given on replacing and amending lectures with other instructional methods, amending lectures in the course of delivery with additional content and tools and complementing lectures after delivery with content, tools and activities. Suggestions on the use of information technology that could substitute, reduce or eliminate at least some of the deficiencies are made. Lecture captures seem to be valuable supplement for live lectures compensating in all three categories of deficiencies. Suggestions and directions for further research are given.


live lectures; lecture disadvantages; lecture capture

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