What are Interactive Lecture Demonstrations

Initial Publication Date: April 27, 2010
Interactive Lecture Demonstrations introduce a carefully scripted activity, creating a "time for telling" in a traditional lecture format. The activity can be a classroom experiment, a survey, a simulation, or an analysis of secondary data. Because the activity causes students to confront their prior understanding of a core concept, students are ready to learn in a follow-up lecture.

Unlike most other active learning techniques Interactive Lecture Demonstrations include three scripted steps without which students often revert to their initial incomplete or faulty understanding when they leave the classroom. Learn more about research on Interactive Lecture Demonstrations.

The three steps require students to:per diag
  1. Predict.
    Click for larger image
    After the instructor describes the problem or shows the demonstration, students make a prediction about the result. In this step, students articulate their understanding, even if it is ill-formed or incorrect. Students explain their choice to a partner, changing their answers if they like. The instructor polls student answers without revealing which are correct.
    Learn more about ways for students to make predictions

  2. Experience. The demonstration can be a survey using student data, a simulation, an analysis of data from a secondary source, or a lab experiment. The demonstration may be conducted by the instructor in front of the class or by students in small groups.
    See examples of demonstration formats

  3. Reflect. After the demonstration, students record and report the results, identifying differences between what they predicted and what occurred in the demonstration. In the rush to end a class meeting, it may be tempting to skip the reflection step. However research on learning shows that it is important for students to think explicitly about what they have learned, making connections to what they knew before, and identifying what specifically has changed in their thinking. Also, in order to understand a concept deeply, students need practice using it in a variety of contexts.
    Learn more about techniques to encourage reflection and transfer