Seven different types of lecturing technique were assessed in 14 groups of nurses at 2 hospitals. Two lectures in rheumatology were given to each group and a multiple choice questionnaire answered by the nurses immediately after the lecture and 3 months later. A significant amount of knowledge was imparted by the lecturer. About a third of the knowledge, however, was lost within a minute of the end of the lecture, and a half to two-thirds within 3 months. There was no correlation between scores and the row on which the students sat. There was no significant difference between the scores of overseas students and those of British nurses. At immediate recall the techniques differed little. The techniques which scored best were giving the questionnaire before the lectures, giving handouts and using the blackboard. At delayed recall 100% differences in marks were seen between the worst and best techniques in the second lecture. The same techniques which scored best at immediate recall did so on delayed recall. The lowest score occurred where note taking was forbidden. Some questions scored significantly better with note taking. When note taking was forbidden, it made no difference if the student was an habitual notetaker or not. Nor did it make any difference if she was frustrated by the ban. There was no correlation between entry qualifications and the scores obtained. Nurses at a non-teaching hospital did just as well as those at a teaching hospital.
It should be emphasised that teaching endeavours to influence 3 aspects—knowledge, skills and attitudes. This series of experiments largely tests the first, but does suggest that a technique which scores highly on information recall may be less helpful in forming constructive attitudes to the patient.
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