Teaching - the difference between a lecture and a conversation

Filed under: Teaching, — Tags: Conversation, Lecture — Thomas Sundberg — 2013-04-02

There is a big difference when teaching a large group and teaching a small group. I recently had the pleasure of teaching the same material in a few different scenarios. One of them with a large audience of about 70 participants. It took me approximately 2.5 hours to go through all slides and coding an example. Two other scenarios was with small groups with less than 10 participants. The exact same material took a little over a little over 3 hours to complete.

What is the main difference?

My observation is that when you have a conversation rather than a lecture, you will know if the audience understands or not. You spend more time validating that the participants have understood or not. If they haven't understood, you will spend time making them understand. The same interaction is not possible with a large audience. You can't know if everyone has understood what you wanted them to understand.

Conclusion

My conclusion is that if you really want to teach and truly share you knowledge, work with small groups. I also notices that I prefer small groups over large groups. The main reason being the conversation rather than the monologue.

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