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Are recorded lectures a benefit or a hindrance to learning?

Nov. 13, 2013
Dental schools may start to consider the elimination of recorded lectures.

November 13, 2013

Dental schools may start to consider the elimination of recorded lectures.

In an article in the Journal of Dental Education called “Use of lecture Recordings in Dental Education: Assessment of Status Quo and Recommendations,” researchers propose that there needs to be an established system of common guidelines to incorporate lecture recording into the classroom.

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While 28 dental schools were used as a sample to study the effects of lecture recordings on students’ learning, it seems that there was no definitive answer to the question of recordings’ efficacy; while students prefer to have them available to review before an exam, one of the study’s authors says that it’s really just a placebo effect.

“While there is overwhelming evidence that students perceive lecture recording as a support tool … there seems to be little or no evidence that it actually does,” said Heiko Spallek, DMD, PhD, MSBA.

Of course, this brings into question students’ learning styles and their ability to take notes from an oral lecture: could they digest as much information jotting down notes from a live lecture as they could if the ability to pause and rewind were available?

And then there is the question of attendance. Many students may skip an early class knowing they don’t have to miss the lecture, but many schools already have mandatory attendance policies.

And what could be done in class if lectures were assigned as homework? Or would that be too much to ask for students who are already overwhelmed with coursework?

Do you think having in-class and recorded lectures is a benefit?

Lauren Burns is the editor of Proofs magazine and the email newsletters RDH Graduate and Proofs. She is currently based out of New York City. Follow her on Twitter: @ellekeid.