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Adv Physiol Educ. 2008 Mar;32(1):23-4. doi: 10.1152/advan.00048.2007.

Don't dump the didactic lecture; fix it.

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Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40536-0298, USA.


Numerous articles have been published on the merits of active learning, and collectively they present a body of compelling evidence that these methods do enhance learning. In presenting arguments for active learning, it is often suggested that the traditional didactic lecture is more passive in nature and less effective as a teaching tool. However, a well organized lecture remains one of the most effective ways to integrate and present information from multiple sources on complex topics, such as those encountered in the teaching of physiology. This article presents an argument for enhancing lectures by incorporating active learning activities within their framework, and it is noted that engagement of the student is a key element making active learning activities work. Finally, suggestions are provided on the basis of the author's experience of things instructors can do to make lecture-based courses more engaging to students and, hence, promote learning.

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