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Adv Physiol Educ. 2010 Jun;34(2):93-6. doi: 10.1152/advan.00025.2010.

Explicit constructivism: a missing link in ineffective lectures?

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  • 1Department of Physiology, AIMST University, Kedah Darul Aman, Malaysia. dresprakash@gmail.com


This study tested the possibility that interactive lectures explicitly based on activating learners' prior knowledge and driven by a series of logical questions might enhance the effectiveness of lectures. A class of 54 students doing the respiratory system course in the second year of the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery program in my university was randomized to two groups to receive one of two types of lectures, "typical" lectures (n = 28, 18 women and 10 men) or "constructivist" lectures (n = 26, 19 women and 7 men), on the same topic: the regulation of respiration. Student pretest scores in the two groups were comparable (P > 0.1). Students that received the constructivist lectures did much better in the posttest conducted immediately after the lectures (6.8 +/- 3.4 for constructivist lectures vs. 4.2 +/- 2.3 for typical lectures, means +/- SD, P = 0.004). Although both types of lectures were well received, students that received the constructivist lectures appeared to have been more satisfied with their learning experience. However, on a posttest conducted 4 mo later, scores obtained by students in the two groups were not any different (6.9 +/- 3 for constructivist lectures vs. 6.9 +/- 3.7 for typical lectures, P = 0.94). This study adds to the increasing body of evidence that there is a case for the use of interactive lectures that make the construction of knowledge and understanding explicit, easy, and enjoyable to learners.

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