Traditional lectures regularly have to deal with one or more of the following problems:
- Instructors are experts in their fields of study, sometimes with decades of experience. They deal with issues that extend far beyond the scope of students’ comprehension. The danger of “tunnel vision” is correspondingly high. Precisely for this reason, in introductory courses comprehension issues may initially go unrecognized, and insufficient knowledge of basic concepts first becomes apparent during the exam situation.
- Course content is generally discussed and explained only once due to an often strict curriculum. However, such an approach does not suffice to provide students with a more in-depth understanding of course material and concepts. Prof. Dr. Riegler was able to impressively demonstrate this to attendees of his “Good Teaching Practices” presentation on June 26, 2013 by first explaining the phenomenon of “Iconic Translation” and then posing a related question to the audience, which they were largely unable to answer correctly.
- Closely related to this issue – particularly in the context of large group events such as introductory lectures – is the problem of insufficient feedback from students. Due to the monological nature of lectures, there is a considerable inhibition threshold to interrupt the lecture by asking questions. Comprehension problems usually remain unspoken, and lecturers can only speculate as to whether the audience is actually still paying attention.
- One final problem of the lecture setting is the fast pace of teaching, which cannot satisfy the needs of all students. Furthermore, students are hardly provided the opportunity to reflect upon and process mediated content.