Higher education students should avoid lecture classes, study finds

Study finds that students should ditch the lecture hall and enroll in smaller, more interactive classes to get the most out of their college education.
Study finds that students should ditch the lecture hall and enroll in smaller, more interactive classes to get the most out of their college education.

As the number of students who want to complete anything from an associate's to a doctoral degree continues to rise, it may seem unavoidable to take at least one lecture hall class. However, a new study shows that college students should think twice before enrolling in a large lecture course, particularly in science.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia trained a professor in an approach called "deliberate practice" and compared the way in which students learned science using this technique compared to the standard lecture approach. According to the professionals, deliberate practice is an interactive technique that involves making students solve puzzles as well as encouraging them to think like scientists.

The results found that students who participated in deliberate practice for 15 weeks did more than twice as well on a multiple choice test of the material than those individuals who took a lecture class. They were also more engaged in what they were learning as attendance increased by 20 percent.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, similar experiments have been conducted since the 1970's that show that lecture halls may not be a wise choice for college students, as smaller class sizes generally mean better academic performances.

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