ROBERTS, D., 2017. Higher education lectures: from passive to active learning via imagery?. Active Learning in Higher Education, doi: 10.1177/1469787417731198.
An important contemporary challenge to the large group lecture in higher education is that it encourages passive learning which is claimed to be out of sync with intellectual expectations and social needs. Attempts to change this practice have salvaged some aspects of the higher education experience for students, but they have not transformed the learning environment that is the most usual one, that is, one characterised by lectures, into an arena of active learning. This article tests recent multimedia learning propositions which claim that using certain images dislocates pedagogically harmful excesses of text, reducing cognitive overloading and exploiting under-used visual processing capacities. The experiments yielded unpredicted results which indicate that the use of certain images can also prompt students to become active co-producers of knowledge. This is not about visual aids, where images are a side-bar to a traditional lecture. This is about images as the medium through which active learning is energised. Marshall McLuhan famously remarked that ‘the medium is the message’. But for this article, the message is the medium.
This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Active Learning in Higher Education and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/1469787417731198.