I just found a great article by Sandi Mann in The Guardian, called, “Why do 60% of students find their lectures boring? (Dr. Sandi Mann is senior lecturer in occupational psychology at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK.) You can probably guess what’s coming.
“One of the main contributors to student boredom is the use of PowerPoint. PowerPoint slides are a powerful aid to today’s lecturer, who can use it to easily prepare dozens of slides to accompany a lecture. And that is the problem – lecturers tend to prepare too many slides, pack them with too much information, and whizz through them in a manner that obliges students to spend most of the session attempting to copy copious amounts of text from the screen, while bypassing active processing of the material.”
What a great follow-up to my webinar last week on “Presenting to Teach & Inform: PowerPoint for Education & Training!”
The research Sandi did (with co-researcher Andrew Robinson) showed that almost 60% of students say that at least half their lectures are boring, and about 30% say that they find most or all of their lectures boring!
What do students do when they’re bored?
Daydream – 75% of students
Doodle – 66%
Chat with friends (electronically, perhaps) – 50%
Send texts – 45%
Pass notes to friends (the non-electronic version of chatting) – 38%
Over a quarter of students leave the lecture at the mid-session break!
Perhaps the culture is different in the United States. It’s almost certainly different in India; in fact each region probably has its own statistics. But I think that the research applies generally to many places in the world. It’s pretty shocking. After all, education is supposed to be stimulating and enlightening!
How can we change this terrible situation? Do you have a suggestion for educating educators?