Lecture Tutorials

This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project
Initial Publication Date: February 17, 2009

Developed by Karen M. Kortz, Community College of Rhode Island and Jessica J. Smay, San Jose City College

What Are Lecture Tutorials?

Lecture Tutorials are short worksheets that students complete in class to make lecture more interactive. They are designed specifically to address misconceptions and other topics with which students have difficulties. They pose questions of increasing conceptual difficulty to the students, cause conflict with alternative conceptions, and help students construct correct scientific ideas. Research shows that Lecture Tutorials increase student learning more than just lecture alone.
Read an in-depth definition of lecture tutorials

Why Use Lecture Tutorials?

Lecture Tutorials are beneficial in a course because:

  • They are easy to incorporate to make a class more interactive
  • Students learn more from Lecture Tutorials than through lecture alone
  • Students enjoy using Lecture Tutorials
  • A large set of Lecture Tutorials has been developed on a wide range of introductory geoscience topics
See a list of benefits to students and learning outcomes

How to Use Lecture Tutorials

After a brief introduction, the instructor directs the students to form groups of two or three and work through the Lecture Tutorial. Students take 10-15 minutes, working with each other, to complete the worksheet. Afterward, the instructor reviews a couple of the more difficult questions then continues with the class.
Find step-by-step guidelines with helpful hints

How to Create Lecture Tutorials

Creating your own Lecture Tutorials requires establishing what you want your students to learn and knowledge about common problems they have while learning this topic. Suggestions for writing your own Lecture Tutorials are given here.
Use this step-by-step approach to writing Lecture Tutorials


A small set of example Lecture Tutorials designed for introductory-level geoscience courses.


Find additional information on the research behind the efficacy of Lecture Tutorials and the pedagogical theory for their use. Additional Lecture Tutorials for introductory geoscience courses have been published as a workbook, which is available from the W.H. Freeman website.


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