People often like to compare game-based learning to lectures. They want to know “which is better?” Often the answer is not that simple. While many people acknowledge different types of games for learning such as: matching games, first-person thinkers, platform games, games that require balancing resources, etc. Many people don’t realize there are also different types of lectures and most lecture types are not that good.
In fact research has shown that while lectures are good for imparting factual knowledge, they are not that effective at imparting much more than facts.
Here is a list of lectures types gathered from research conducted by Brown & Bakhtar who found five styles of lecturing they identified through cluster analysis of responses of
lecturers to an inventor and then validated by direct observation. Here is the list updated to reflect modern technology in the classroom. In your company, with your training personnel, which type of lecturing is the most common.
Oral Presenters: These lecturers rarely use any means of communicating other than talk. They do not use PowerPoint, blackboards or overhead transparencies to outline main
points or provide full notes, nor do they use diagrams to show relationships, structures or processes. They are less likely to write down full lecture notes or scripts, more likely to note headings and subheadings and less likely to rely on one text for preparing lectures.
Visual Information Givers: These lecturers are confident visual information providers who use the chalkboard, overhead projector or PowerPoint slides to provide full notes to their learners, they use diagrams to show relationships and processes, and they usually give learners time to copy down complex diagrams. Of all the groups, they are most likely to write down full notes when preparing their lectures and least likely to use only headings and brief notes.
Exemplary Performers: These lecturers are confident, well structured and able presenters who use a wide variety of oral and visual techniques of presentation. When preparing lectures this is the group that is most likely to write down headings, subheadings and brief notes rather than whole lectures. They do not report any difficulty in selecting and structuring materials for their lectures. They think about, write down and tell the learners the objectives of each lecture, and they inform the learners in advance of the lecture topics. They often structure the lecture around questions. They rarely use aids to provide full notes but almost all exemplaries use aids to emphasize key points. The exemplaries provide more handouts but this difference is not significant.
Eclectic Lecturers: These lecturers use a variety of techniques, including humour, but lack confidence in their lecturing powers and tend to be disorganized. When preparing lectures, this group admits to having difficulty in selecting and structuring materials. They tend to write down headings, subheadings and brief notes rather than full lecture notes and they are likely to use more than one text as a source for their lectures. Of all the groups, they are the group most likely to digress from the content of their notes.
Amorphous Talkers: These lecturers are confident, even over-confident, but ill-prepared and vague. They are the group least likely to think about objectives for their lectures or to inform the learners of the objectives of the lecture. Of all the groups, they are the least likely to tell the learners which topics they will be examined on or to tell the students in advance the topics of their lectures. They neglect the essential strategies of lecturing.
The article by Brown & Manogue from which the above is cited indicated that “In medicine, Visual Information Givers were common and Amorphous Lecturers were more common than one would
expect by chance.” And, I suspect, that is the case in many other academic displines as well as in many different types of organizations.
It may be why more and more meta-analysis of game-based research is indicating that Game-based learning is more effective than traditional instruction because too much traditional instruction is done by Subject Matter Experts or others who are simply Amorphous Talkers. Take a look around your organization and note the type of lecturers providing information to your learners.
Brown, G.A. & Bakhtar, M. (1987) Styles of lecturing: a study and its implications, Research Papers in Education, 3, pp. 131–153.
Reference to Brown & Bakhtar, 1987 taken from AMEE Medical Education Guide No. 22: Refreshing lecturing: a guide for lecturers George Brown & Michael Manogue, Queen’s Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, UK; Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry, Psychology and Health, University of Leeds, LS2 9LU UK