A recent Op-Ed piece in the New York Times by Molly Worthen talks about her view that long-form lectures are of real value to students, at least in the humanities.
What to make of this? “It’s complicated.”
I agree (especially in the middle of the political “silly season”) that we have to make sure our students can listen to extended verbal presentations critically and well, and be able to summarize, critique, and question in real-time. Long-form lectures may also well work efficiently enough for simpler outcomes (where “simpler” is defined by the audience having enough relevant long-term memory components to easily process a spoken lecture in real time). However, looking through the lens of learning science, this is not the same as thinking long-form lectures are an efficient method of instruction for most hard, important, outcomes.