Are Medical Lectures Harmful to the Process of Learning?

J. Willis Hurst, MD


December 11, 2001

In This Article

Solving Other Problems

One of the most serious problems plaguing many lecturers is a lack of familiarity with the varied backgrounds of the members of the audience. This is especially true for out-of-town lecturers.

The dialect of specialized modern medical language has become so bewildering to those who are unfamiliar with it that a 1-hour lecture may end with an expert in a field having communicated nothing to listeners from other fields. A perceptive lecturer always arrives 10-15 minutes before the scheduled hour. The lecturer familiarizes him/herself with the lectern and makes sure his or her slides are in place. In addition, the lecturer may talk with some of the early arrivers and determine their interests and estimate their knowledge base of the subject to be discussed.

Lecturers must keep in mind that audience members may be able to remember no more than 5 points from a 1-hour lecture. The points must be made at least 2 times during the lecture and at the end of the oration. The lecturers should use different language for each time the 5 points are recited. Poor lecturers rarely do this.