While attending school, most of us were exposed to the traditional teaching paradigm.  We were lined up in rows and lectured to.  No one was involved in the learning process.  The teacher lectured and you listened!  Lecture is considered efficient, and convenient.  Lecture ensures the instructor provides a large amount of information in a designated block of time.  Unfortunately, lecture is the least effective means of transferring knowledge to learners.  Lecture ensures the teacher talks, and students sit, and listen.  Most college/university class rooms are structured to accommodate this traditional teaching paradigm; student desks lined up in rows, and the lectern (yes lectern, not podium) in front of the classroom.  This is necessary as colleges/universities must accommodate a large number of students every year, and funding is based on student enrollment.  The teacher is the "sage on the stage" rather than the "guide on the side." 

Learning starts by creating “participant centered opportunities for learning to take place.” (Pike, Robert W., 1994: Creative Training techniques Handbook, 2nd Edition. Lakewood Books, Minneapolis, p. 197).  This allows the instructor to use the student’s energy, involvement and participation to achieve learning!  Buzan, in his book, “Use Both Sides of Your Brain” states adults listen with understanding for 90 minutes, but only listen with retention for 20 minutes.  Bob Pike, a designer of training materials suggests the 90/20/8 rule.  Pike says, "No module we teach ever runs more than 90 minutes, the pace is changed at least every 20 minutes, and we try to find a way to involve people in the content every 8 minutes.”  So what does this mean?  It means that the instructor needs a change-up every 20 minutes!  We are conditioned for 8 minutes of information. Television/cable shows will interrupt the movie every 8 minutes for a commercial.   

Students should be an active participant in their own learning.  The student should be able to discover for themselves the knowledge, skills, and attitudes, needed for success.   Obviously, lecture cannot - nor should not be eliminated.  There is a place for lecture, but, it is important to incorporate various methods to engage and involve students.  There are a variety of techniques to accomplish this, such as group activities, guest speakers, learning teams, brainstorming, charts, debates, discussion, videos, role playing, panels, dry-erase boards, student lead discussions to name just a very few!  Below are many more "things" you can do as an instructor besides lecture.  In closing, “Learning is directly proportional to the amount of fun you have.” [Pike]

Things You Can Do Other Than Lecture*

Brainstorming Gaming New Articles Quizzes Surveys
Buzz Groups Group Activities Object Lessons Report Symposium
Case Histories Guest Speakers Panel Discussion Review Take a Poll
Chain Story Interviews Peer Edit Role Playing Testimonies
Charts Journaling Peer Review Self-Test Videos
Consensus Building Laboratory Picture Studies Simulations Whiteboard Projects
Debates Learning Terms Pop Quizzes Skits Word Anagrams
Demonstration Maps Problem Solving Storytelling YOUR SUGGESTIONS HERE!
Direct an Observation Memorization Puzzles Student Led Discussion  
Field Trips Models Questions & Answers Students Summaries  

   * The above list is a sampling of "other things" instructors can do to engage students and cause learning to occur!