Lecture Delivery: Best Practices
Online environments present different challenges than face-to-face courses when you deliver your own content. In traditional classrooms, you can see when your audience isn’t “getting it.” At such moments you can break from your lecture and address questions or fuzzy moments. However in an online environment, unless you are delivering content in a synchronous discussion (text chat, teleconference, or video conference), you won’t receive those clues. Therefore, your challenge is to predict where those moments might be in your online lecture and provide additional cognitive support. For example, when introducing a new concept, give context and refreshers of what learners should already know to help trigger existing mental models.
If you are preparing lecture content, here are some important delivery considerations and best practices:
- While it can depend on your content, the “ideal” lecture is delivered using audio narration. Recorded audio lectures are usually the best way to capture the instructor’s passion, expertise, and persona.
- For online delivery, Powerpoint lectures and recorded voice-overs can easily be converted to YouTube.
- Include detailed written explanatory notes (or transcripts). You can then export your presentation as a PDF with notes for students who prefer to read through the content.
- Include pertinent graphical and visual elements, examples, and walk-throughs for complex topics. Try to avoid using lots of text in your slides. Ensure your images are readable, relevant, and have good screen resolution. See slide design best practices for more tips.
- Introduction and summary slides support learning. Include a brief preview of learning goals, and a wrap-up at the end to ensure your audience knows the takeaways.