The lecture remains a basic element of many college courses, but research continues to show it’s time for a change. Researchers from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, recently found that students taking traditional lecture classes displayed little or no improvement in their problem-solving skills after the first semester of their freshman year.
The results were similar to a 2011 UBC study which showed that student engagement and learning doubled when interactive teaching methods were utilized. Researchers from the University of Washington also released a report in 2014 that found students in lecture classes were 1.5 times more likely to fail than students who took classes with more stimulating instruction.
“There is strong evidence that different methods of teaching can heavily influence the development of problem-solving skills,” Andis Klegeris, associate professor of biology at UBC, told eCampus News. “It does not appear that the traditional, lecture-style of information delivery is well suited to helping students build those skills.”
The latest UBC research involved a test that measured problem-solving skills throughout an undergrad’s educational career. One test was given at the start of the first semester and another at the end.
“As problem-solving is becoming an increasingly sought-after skill, it is likely postsecondary institutions will need to adapt their teaching styles to ensure students are able to better participate in a skill-based economy,” said Heather Hurren, a UBC researcher and manager of academic development at the UBC Centre for Teaching and Learning. “If they haven’t already, professors will need to move from traditional lectures and expectations of memorization to approaches that see small groups of students actively discover knowledge on their own.”