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The eight-minute lecture keeps students engaged

Teaching controversial issues

Faculty Focus has an interesting article on reframing lectures into eight minute sections. Many studies have demonstrated that students retain very little from lectures. However, lectures in small segments (interspersed with active learning strategies) can be a helpful strategy to help frame concepts and facilitate student focus.

The article provides some guidelines on how to implement an “eight-minute lecture” and gives some concrete examples of their use.

How to implement the eight-minute lecture

1. Prepare students – Early in the semester, explain your teaching methodology and your rationale for doing things a certain way. This helps manage students’ expectations. Most of my students study engineering and expect to mostly listen to lectures and take notes. They are less accustomed to an active learning environment that involves lots of debates on the readings, small group discussions and report-backs, short reflection papers, quick multiple choice clicker quizzes, problem sets, and/or short lectures.

2. Redesign/rewrite lectures – Review your lectures to identify natural breaks. Where can you pause without losing meaning? How can you use students’ knowledge from their homework and previous learning as a scaffold?

How do you enhance engagement and learning in your own lectures?

Source: The Eight-Minute Lecture Keeps Students Engaged

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Associate Director, Learning Environments, Teaching and Learning Services, McGill University. Focused on our physical and digital learning environments and the appropriate and effective use of technology in teaching and learning.

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