Lecturing Can Be Active Learning: A New Evidence-Based Approach to an Old Debate

Todd D. Zakrajsek, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine

Within the field of educational psychology are concepts and terms that lie at the foundation of effective teaching and efficient learning. Please join us for a session where we will explore metacognition, scaffolding, and cognitive load, as well as new teaching strategies you might implement based on these concepts. In addition, we will use these concepts to better understand why lecture versus active learning is a false dichotomy. This session will have an immediate impact on how you teach!


  • Thursday, March 22, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m., 90-minute, in 508 Rider Building
  • Wednesday, April 4, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m., 60-minute, remote session via Zoom (this session will be recorded and posted in our Tools & Resources for future viewing)

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. explain how the concepts of metacognition, scaffolding, and cognitive load directly inform how we teach and how students learn;
  2. describe one way to lessen cognitive load for students so that they may better learn the foundational material in the course; and
  3. argue the position that we should stop talking about "lecturing versus active learning" and instead focus on the underlying aspects of creating an effective learning environment for our students.

Photo of Todd Zakrajsek

Todd Zakrajsek is an associate professor of Family Medicine and the associate director of the Faculty Development Fellowship at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Dr. Zakrajsek has served on many boards and work groups, including The Journal of Excellence in College Teaching; International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning; Higher Education Teaching Learning Portal; Technology Enriched Instruction (Microsoft); Communicating Science in K-12 (Harvard); and The American Council of Education (ACE). His most recent publications include Dynamic Lecturing: Research-based Strategies to Enhance Lecture Effectiveness (Stylus Publishing, 2017), Teaching for Learning: 101 Intentionally Designed Education Activities to Put Students on the Path to Success (Routledge, 2015), and The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony with Your Brain (Stylus, 2013).

Please visit our Events page for more information and to register.