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How to Captivate Your Learners with Engaging Lecturettes!

Posted by Beth Brashear on 2/1/16 3:00 AM
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Did you know the average adult attention span is now around five minutes? Yes, you read that right—five minutes! According to an article from Fortune.com, “the average adult attention span has plummeted from 12 minutes a decade ago to just five minutes now.” You are likely saying to yourself, “Only five minutes? My lectures are longer than five minutes. What do I do to keep them engaging?”

Sometimes in training, you just can’t avoid giving a lecture. Let’s look at some lecture techniques that will help keep your learner’s engaged and involved. Try to structure your lectures to fall between five and twenty minutes which, at Langevin, we call a lecturette. A lecturette is an instructional technique (or presentation method) that allows for interaction between the learners and the instructor.

Here are three of my favorite lecturette techniques:

  • Abbreviated – Learners list everything they know about a topic and the instructor provides the missing content. This instructional technique is a great way to represent the concept of “Don’t do for the learners what the learners can do for themselves.”
  • Graphic Association – The instructor shows a picture or symbol to represent a key idea/topic and then explains its significance. The learners then have to recreate the graphic from memory and share what they remembered. This instructional technique hits all three learning styles: Auditory – instructor explanation, Visual – graphics, and Kinesthetic – recreating the graphic. As a bonus, this technique uses the “Rule of 3!” This rule ensures learners are introduced to content three times, preferably in three different ways.
  • Mock Interview – A volunteer participant “interviews” the instructor using a list of questions or a script provided by the instructor. Have fun with this one! Set it up like a talk show and channel your inner Jimmy Fallon!

Lectures are often necessary in training and can be very engaging. By using one of these lecturette techniques and remembering the tips above, your learners will be more engaged and less likely to lose their attention span after five minutes! For even more instructional techniques and tips for instructors, check out our Instructional Techniques for New Instructors workshop!

Do you have a favorite lecturette technique you’ve used with success? We’d love to hear from you!


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Beth has been a course leader with Langevin since 2015. She currently resides in Washington, DC and is working towards completing her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Beth began her training career in 2006 and believes, while training needs to be educational, it also needs to be fun! Outside of the classroom, Beth enjoys spending time with her daughter, reading, playing volleyball, and travelling. She hopes to one day visit India during the Festival of Lights, Mexico for the Day of the Dead Celebration, Rio for the Carnival, and China for the Chinese New Year.

Topics: instructional techniques, instructor-led training

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Our very own world-class course leaders share their experiences, tips, best practices, and expertise on virtual training, instructional design, needs analysis, e-learning, delivery, evaluation, presentation skills, facilitation, and much more!

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