Teach the Earth > Teaching Methods > Interactive Lectures > What is Interactive Lecture?

Interactive lectures are classes in which the instructor breaks the lecture at least once per class to have all of the students participate in an activity that lets them work directly with the material. These activities allow students to apply what they have learned earlier or give them a context for upcoming lecture material.

For example:One way to transform a traditional lecture into an interactive lecture would be have students discuss their observations of the picture linked to the thumbnail to the left rather than telling the students what you see. Then call on some groups for their responses and discuss as a class.


Types of Interactive Activities

Lecturers can use a variety of interactive activities to engage their students. Such activities include having students

These are examples of the types of activities described in more detail in Interactive Segments. Many of these activities not only involve the students in the material, they can also promote critical thinking, develop quantitative skills, and allow for informal assessment of student understanding.

Some general structures of interactive activities are given below.


Some instructors structure the class period using a combination of different kinds of activities to serve a variety of purposes in their classes. For example, one could use a few quick individual ConcepTests primarily for assessment, to see if the students understand and can apply the lecture material to simple problems, and then get them working in groups on a more complicated problem that has them synthesize the current material within the content of previous lessons. Learn more about how to give interactive lectures

Additional Material

Interactive lectures are one method for interactive engagement. The Interactive Engagement page in the Teaching with Models section provides additional information on different methods for interactive engagement, research on student learning using interactive engagement, and some key references. Learn more about interactive engagement



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