Dr. Anders and Sahakyan

CTL Hosts Q&A Session on Choosing the Right Lecture Format

2 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia On June 30, the American University of Armenia (AUA) Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) Director Dr. Brent A. Anders and Assessment Coordinator Syuzanna Sahakyan facilitated a special Question and Answer (Q&A) live webinar titled “Q&A: Avoid a Pure Lecture Class Format.” The event was organized as part of AUA’s Center for Teaching and Learning. During the event, specific reasons were presented (supported by extensive research) explaining why using pure lecture in the classroom is not an effective method of instruction. Instead, student-centered active learning techniques were presented as a better alternative to lectures. Sahakyan, a newly hired assessment coordinator for OIRA, explained that research suggests that minimal learning occurs during passive lectures, leading to poor understanding and low retention of information by the students.   

Dr. Anders went on to describe how active learning is much more engaging for students and proposed a spectrum of teaching techniques that instructors can incorporate into their lesson plans to increase learning effectiveness and create a better educational experience. Dr. Anders described active learning methods through the use of open-ended questions during a whole class or smaller group discussions; think-pair-share; games and simulations; debate; problem- or project-based learning; role-play; and many more.

Sahakyan also shared the many benefits associated with using active learning techniques instead of a pure lecture format. She cited studies which have shown that active learning generally results in students across disciplines from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to the Humanities and social sciences performing better in assessments, achieving higher retention of information, and demonstrating increased motivation and greater involvement and participation in class. Another major benefit is that students are better able to apply what they acquire during active learning sessions to real-world environments and situations.

“Techniques that are more oriented around active learning stimulate attention and are more motivational. That’s what the research shows,” noted Dr. Anders. “They’re also more fun, not just for students, but for instructors as well.”

Dr. Anders and Sahakyan fielded questions at the end of the webinar, highlighting that students don’t seek boring lectures. Students want critical engagement in discussions and active involvement in the learning process, as opposed to sitting through purely passive lectures in the classroom.

The entire video of the live webinar, to include a full listing of the research studies referenced in the presentation, is now available on the Center for Teaching and Learning’s Facebook page and YouTube Channel

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) supports faculty to inspire, cultivate, and continuously enhance the educational process and student experience through research-based, creative, pedagogy and instructional design.