The Best Recipe for Most Effective Lectures

RecipeWhen it comes to brain food, higher education offers the richest dishes. Instructors are master chefs in a fully stocked kitchen with a main course in mind and a hundred different ways to prepare it.
And, as you know, the preparation of a lesson is just as important as the delivery. It can make the difference between a bland dish and one bursting with flavor. Here’s one recipe to help you brew up a memorable course.

(Optional) Early Prep: Tantalize your students’ brains by providing them with the lecture before your next class meeting. Once they’ve had a taste of the lesson, they can really sink their teeth into the classwork. This is known as flipping the classroom, because it takes the conventional in-class lecture and homework assignments and reverses their order. This teaching method allows for instructors to spend more thyme as the Guide on the Side rather than the Sage on the Stage.  EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association for advancing higher education, offers a deeper insight on flipped classrooms for those of you interested in learning more.

Mix in Realistic Scenarios: Give them an authentic taste of the obstacles industry professionals encounter. The Project Based Learning educational method puts students together in small groups and challenges them to problem-solve in unfamiliar situations. By collaborating together and directing their own learning, students learn more than just the lesson at hand; they gain more trust and confidence in themselves and their abilities.

Gradually Add Discussion: College students have reached the maturity level required to appreciate the full flavor of a classroom discussion. They should be given opportunities to share their knowledge and experience in their education. By encouraging students to voice opinions and share their own anecdotes related to the lesson, they’re not only internalizing the knowledge, they’re helping other students (and even the instructor) learn.

Season Well with Technology: This crucial ingredient must not only be used, but used effectively. For example, the ever-popular PowerPoint is primarily a visual medium used to enhance lectures. As we’ve discussed in the past, it works best when it makes use of images, graphs, and only a few key words. But don’t limit yourself to PowerPoint! Technology can be the agent that transforms your lesson from a simple lecture to a dynamic presentation! Visit our Instructional Technology page on the CTL Intranet page to learn more about the technologies we host at the college.

Serve with Hefty Helpings of Feedback: Even after following all these steps, there will still be students who need more assistance finishing the course you prepared. You can help by providing constant, specific feedback, in the manner of a successful coach. Explain exactly what they can do to correct their errors, rather than concentrate on what they initially did wrong. Not only does this give them a goal to aim for, but it also helps shift the focus from improving a weak grade to improving a weak skill.

Have an effective lecture formula you’re willing to share? Let us know in the comments! We accept responses in both normal prose and recipe formats (but keep in mind, the recipe format is much more fun.)

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