Lectures can be a source of quick information to help lecturers guide student learning.
Give students a brief writing task such as those suggested below. Collect and briefly review students' responses before the next lecture. If your class is very large, analyse a random selection of responses from the whole group or ask a subset of the class to do the exercise (try to use a different subset of the class if you repeat the exercise).

  • The One Minute Paper
    Students write for one minute on what their understanding is of the main idea of the lecture or the most intriguing point and one or two questions that remain uppermost in their mind.
  • The Five Main Points
    Some lecturers have found that they made 120 main points according to their students who have been unable to distinguish anecdote from example from the concepts.
  • Concept Map
    Students are given a few minutes to illustrate the relationship between ideas or to fill in a pre-drawn concept map with the links provided, but the concepts removed.
  • Applications Card
    Students brainstorm some of the ideas discussed and then select two and illustrate ways that these ideas may be applied to everyday life or the workplace or within the academic discipline.
  • The Muddiest Point
    Students write for one minute the idea that is least clear to them at that moment

Once you have collated the responses:

Hand out an A4 sheet to the entire class with the collated comments, examples of some misconceptions with some explanations about why they were not correct and resources for follow-up study.

Use the first 5 minutes of the lecture to brief the students about your response to the comments, offer further explanation or clarification of key concepts, etc.

If there are common misunderstandings it may be appropriate to base your next teaching session around particular learning needs identified from the comments.