Time to Perform

Dr. Wilbert McKeachie believes outstanding lecturers do two things; they use a simple plan and many examples.

First, start with a hook. It could be a quote, video, controversial statement or other attention grabber.  Remember, you have an imagination.  Use it!!

Gail Godwin thinks that good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theatre.  So perform!!  Keep the video moving along or viewers will get bored.  Stand up to increase your energy levels and mark off the areas so you don’t go out of the shot if you are in a classroom or studio.  Look at the camera and try to have it at eye level.  Online videos get lost in other distractors on web pages if you are not in an up-close shot.

Wardrobe – while you might have thought the liquid metal blouse, herringbone jacket and the Jersey Shore bangles was a great look, the camera will hate you and you will hate it in return.  Aim for solids and no noisy jewelry.  Also, watch your lapel microphone doesn’t get rattled when you adjust your collar!  It will sound like a jet engine in your listener’s ears and they will not be pleased!

Create a personal connection with viewers by being approachable, speaking slowly and clearly, using a conversational tone and by being you!  Jargon kills understanding unless you are sure your learners are familiar with the terms you are using.  As Einstein said, if you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.

Repeat “in-class” student questions before answering so your online viewers will get the context.  For your online students, prepare for a way for them to ask questions either during or after viewing your recorded lectures.  If the software you are using does not have a comments or “email the instructor” feature, then consider using an online forum.

Avoid the “um” and other filler words and run-on sentences.  However, when you make a mistake, move on.  That also happens in a classroom.  As long as it isn’t pivotal to the content you are presenting, viewers won’t care.

Mix it up!  Work on your vocal variety and experiment with different content-delivery methods (try whiteboard, tablet, embed a Smart Board simulation or whiteboard content, but write slowly and purposefully etc. until you find what works for you).  Apparently, no one watching the video will get what you are scribbling on the black board, with your back to the audience, and the camera not trained on your work.  Who knew!  Instead, use an interactive whiteboard and record your work as you produce it, and narrate it for recall later.

Many studies dating back to 1963, state that student attention drops dramatically after the first 10-15 minutes of a lecture.  Lecture in this length or less, then follow-up with an activity.  Studies show that when the length of video increases, the satisfaction decreases.

Remember confidentiality.  Don’t mention names of people in your lecture that haven’t given permission for their information to be released into the wild!

Active learning to experience information coupled with useful, timely, feedback is the key to learning. Lecturing itself won’t help people learn deeply or in a way that will be transferrable.  You need to make sure students are using the information in a way that they can connect to the rest of their knowledge.  Plan for an activity to occur following the lecture segment.  Prepare for learners to complete an assignment, which reinforces the concepts to lead to greater achievement and increased memory recall.  If there is a reflective component, there is an even greater chance for learners to retain what they have been presented.

So, if you think of these tips about performing,

  • what to wear,
  • how to speak and connect to your viewers,
  • respond to questions,
  • utilize additional methods to illustrate your material,
  • manage the attention span of viewers,
  • confidentiality during a recording,
  • and adding a follow-up activity to the lecture,

you will have your audience coming back for more!

Your students will thank you for it!

View our references page for more information.