Tip #219: Debunking Myths About Lecture #1

There is a prevalent and very persistent proposition that lecture is the only practical training method to use with large groups.

There are two reasons why this belief is inaccurate.

1. The first and primary determinant of a training or learning method should be the desired level of learning. The size of the audience has absolutely no bearing on this decision. Unless the desired level of learning is knowledge, lecture is an inappropriate and ineffective method.

2. It is possible to use a variety of interactive learning methods, regardless of the audience size.

For example, a questionnaire can be used in a variety of ways. Participants can be asked to discuss the answers with someone seated next to them (for a paired discussion) or with participants seated in front and behind them (for a small group discussion). Volunteers from the pairs or the small groups can then provide their answers.

Or the trainer can ask the participants to indicate their answers to each statement with a thumbs up (if they agree) or a thumbs down (if they disagree). The trainer can then ask for volunteers to explain the rationale for their responses.

Worksheets, case studies, games and even hands on activities can be handled in this fashion.

It is not possible to have all pairs or groups report out their answers when there is a very large group. However, all participants can be engaged in discovering the answers and can evaluate their own effectiveness as they listen to volunteer report outs.

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