Smooth Lectures Foster Only the Illusion of Learning, Study Finds

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In an experiment, students heard the same lecture—on why calico cats tend to be female—from two instructors, one fluent and engaging, the other halting and stiff. Unexpectedly, both groups of students scored equally well on a test of the material, even though the students with the better lecturer thought they'd learned more.

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In an experiment, students heard the same lecture—on why calico cats tend to be female—from two instructors, one fluent and engaging, the other halting and stiff. Unexpectedly, both groups of students scored equally well on a test of the material, even though the students with the better lecturer thought they'd learned more.

Logic would suggest that lecturing to students in a clear, fluid style while making frequent eye contact would engage students and aid in their learning. At the very least, many people would assume, that technique would be more effective than hunching over a podium, reading from notes, and barely pausing to look up.

But that may not always be the case, according to a study published last month in the