Effective College Teaching Methods


There are many ways to teach college students. Some of the teaching methods cannot be used in certain types of classes, though. For example, if a student cannot physically attend classes but is prepared to study online, the only method to teach him is via a computer. However, in a regular classroom, the instructor usually has an arsenal of effective teaching methods to choose from.

Lecture Instructions

  • Lecture instructions are one of the most popular and effective teaching methods. Lectures are used when certain material needs to be explained to a large number of students. The drawback of this method, however, is that the teaching is not individualized, as opposed to seminars. You can increase the amount of feedback from students if you will assign a part of the lecture to answering questions.

Active Teaching

  • Active teaching can be defined as a teaching method that allows students to learn through problem-solving exercises, simulations, informal small groups and role playing. The most popular form of active learning is seminar learning. The primary advantage of active teaching is individualized approach and close interaction between the instructor and the students.

Cooperative Tasks

  • When the instructor uses cooperative tasks, she sets free the teamwork spirit of the students. Cooperative tasks are, essentially, group assignments. They help students study through cooperation between each other, learning not only the course material, but also the principles of working together and using the knowledge and experience of each member of the team to achieve common goals.

Case Method

  • The case method, pioneered at the Harvard Business School, provides students a chance to apply the knowledge they have gained in the classroom to real-life situations. Although they are not able to see the consequences of their decisions, because the problems students need to solve are taken from real life, students gain practical experience while still studying full-time.

Distance Learning

  • If the instructor and the students are geographically located in different places, the only available option is distance learning. Teachers send the course material and instructions to the students via secured computer systems. The students need to study the material and must do the necessary assignment, sending it back to the instructor within the given time frame. Because of the improvements in Internet technologies in the 2000s, distance learning has risen in popularity and become a mainstream teaching method.

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