Eliminate the Lecture

Technology has revolutionized education. Students and educators have accesses to content on an on-going basis. This constant access has led to different methodologies of teaching. Students can learn outside of the traditional face-to-face classroom. Face-to-face classroom time can be used for more then content reception. Despite these paradigm shifts, has education progressed enough to eliminate the lecture entirely?

University of Adelaide in Australia believes the time is now. The Vice-Chancellor at Adelaide, Warren Bebbington, called lectures “obsolete” (Smith, 2015). Students at Adelaide now learn course content outside of the classroom through materials available online. Many of these materials utilize video content. Face-to-face classroom time is now used for “small-group discovery experience” (Smith, 2015).  Adelaide has found that student satisfaction and retention have risen in direct correlation to the elimination of lecture.

Adelaide has not only incorporated the Flipped Classroom method of teaching, where students learn content outside of the classroom to free face-to-face time for active engagement, in one course, but have rolled out the philosophy to the entire university. All lectures are scheduled to be eliminated for the first three years of the undergraduate level by 2016. By 2017, honors and masters courses will also be assimilated. Traditional lectures have been phased out of the curriculum.

Despite the success of Adelaide, there are still instructors as well as students who prefer the traditional lecture. For many, lecture is the form of education where they feel comfortable. Despite this comfort, perceptions are changing. As technology and access to content continues to grow, learner needs will evolve. The changes that have been enacted at Adelaide may soon be seen across education.

With this evolution, physical classroom design and education as a whole will need to be re-envisioned. This new vision is no small task, however in order to meet the needs of evolving student learning styles, education needs to adapt.

Smith, D. Frank (2015, July). A University’s Success with Flipped Learning Began by Phasing Out Lectures. Retrieved from http://www.edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2015/07/universitys-success-flipped-learning-began-phasing-out-lectures