Injecting interactivity into lectures

I went to a great session this morning first thing at the Alliance for Continuing Medical Education annual conference on how to inject interactivity into lectures, and thankfully they practiced what they preached, because 8:30 a.m. is not the best time for me to be sitting in a dark room looking at slides. Anyway, session leaders Beverly Wood, MD, University of Southern California, and Dixie Fisher, PhD, also with the University of Southern California, demonstrated how to keep lectures from being snoozers in a pretty fun way.

First off, they asked us what the 10 most important roles of teachers are in a lecture setting, had us write our answers on a card, then had us partner with the person next to us to share our thoughts, which we then reported out to the group as a whole. As Dr. Fisher explained, just asking the group as a whole can satisfy the extroverts among attendees, who have no problem coming up with an answer off the bat. But for introverts like yours truly, we need a little more time to process our thoughts, and giving us a few minutes to write them down caters to our needs as well as those of extroverts, who have a grand time reporting out to the larger group.

The session leaders also explained how it's important to pick just a few main points and not try to cram every possible thing into the lecture. "Ask attendees to take one or two of the points and discuss how they'll use it in their own work," Fisher said. Wood pointed out that for this one-hour session, they have four mini-lectures of about 10 minutes each, with time in between to do something like the print-and-partner exercise. Anyway, they had a lot more great suggestions, which I'll probably turn into an article f or our magazines.

If every session leader adopted their ideas, the end of the boring lecture could be at hand. I for one find that a pretty exciting concept.

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