Friday, July 22, 2011

Lecture Isn’t Effective: More Evidence #4

Some blog followers might be interested in a discussion-list post “Lecture Isn’t Effective: More Evidence #4” [Hake (2011c)].

The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: In response to “Re: Lecture Isn't Effective: More Evidence #2” [Hake (2011b)], EvalTalk’s Jan Hill (2011a) wrote: “Yes, we educators know that lectures are ineffective. . . . .” To which Ricardo Gomez (2011) replied: (a) “What educators know that lectures are ineffective?” and (b) “Different teaching methods serve different learning objectives.”

In answer to “a”: among articles that demonstrate the relative ineffectiveness of traditional passive student introductory lectures in comparison with “interactive-engagement” methods are Hake (1998a); about 25 other physics education research reports consistent with Hake (1998a) as listed in Hake (2008); Epstein (2007); Mazur (2009); Prather, Rudolph, Brissenden, & Schllingman (2009); Prather, Rudolph, & Brissenden (2009); & Deslauriers, Schelew, & Wieman (2011)].

In response to “b”: different teaching methods also serve different audiences - e.g., introductory students vs attendees at professional meetings - see e.g. “Re: Lectures” [Hake (2011f)].

Gomez also wrote: “I can't imagine Stephen Jay Gould, Carl Sagan, or Isaiah Berlin using ‘interactive teaching methods’ . . . . . instead of the great lectures they were famous for. . . . . or maybe they did use one of best interactive teaching methods ever invented: the Socratic method.”

I would agree that the “Socratic Method” of the historical Socrates is “one of the best interactive teaching methods ever invented,” witness “Socratic pedagogy in the introductory physics lab” [Hake (1992)], but the “Socratic Methods” of Plato’s Meno and the law school are, in my opinion, among the worst - see e.g. : “The Socratic Method of the Historical Socrates, Plato's Socrates, and the Law School Socrates” [Hake (2007)].

To access the complete 17 kB post please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands
President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References which
Recognize the Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)

"…I point to the following unwelcome truth: much as we might dislike the implications, research is showing that didactic exposition of abstract ideas and lines of reasoning (however engaging and lucid we might try to make them) to passive listeners yields pathetically thin results in learning and understanding - except in the very small percentage of students who are specially gifted in the field."
Arnold Arons in Teaching Introductory Physics (1997, p. vii)

REFERENCES [URL’s shortened by and accessed on 22 July 2011.]
Arons, A.B. 1997. Teaching Introductory Physics. Wiley. information at Note the searchable “Look Inside” feature.

Hake, R.R. 2011a. “Re: Lecture Isn’t Effective: More Evidence,” online on the OPEN! MathEdCC archives at along with 10 responses as of 22 July 2011. Post of 15 July, shamelessly cross-posted to Math-Teach, Math-Learn, MathEdCC, and RUME.

Hake, R.R. 2011b. “Re: Lecture Isn't Effective: More Evidence #2,” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 20 Jul 2011 17:13:46-0400 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post were transmitted to various discussion lists and are also on my blog “Hake'sEdStuff” at with a provision for comments. See also the precursor Hake (2011a).

Hake, R.R. 2011c. “Re: Lecture Isn't Effective: More Evidence #4,” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 22 Jul 2011 14:52:44 -0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to various discussion lists.

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