Lecture is Dead (Again)

December 12, 2011

Fred S. Keller, a well-respected psychologist and educator, was asked to give the President’s Invited Address to the American Psychological Association in Washington, DC in September, 1967. His title, “Good-Bye, Teacher …”. The lecture discussed a new system of education in which students (aided by materials and coaching that a teacher provided) would move at their own pace, a pace that was determined mainly by their ability to demonstrate mastery of course content.

The Personalized System of Instruction, or PSI, became very popular in the late 60’s, and then went through a decline in the mid 80’s, but it lingers on in many forms today (check out CAPSI). Since that time many other forms of instruction, such as POGIL, have climbed on the “lecture is dead” bandwagon even if they don’t subscribe to many of Keller’s other ideas.

So it’s interesting to see academics re-discover personalized instruction (this time with online videos): D. Kroll, “Death Knell for the Lecture: Technology as a Passport to Personalized Education,” NY Times, Dec. 5, 2011. What is it about “lecture is dead” that threatens teachers so much?


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