Research Output

Learning in lectures: Do ‘interactive windows’ help?

  Many educational development resources recommend
making conventional lectures more interactive. However, there is little
firm evidence supporting either the acceptability (to students) or
efficacy of doing so. This research examined the use of short ‘interactive windows’ (discussions and problem-solving exercises) in firstyear evolution lectures delivered to between 73 and 126 students over five years. Semi-structured evaluations of the teaching, involving more than 500 responses, identified the interactive nature of the lectures as the single most popular feature of the sessions. The division of the year class into two separate groups allowed the opportunistic testing of how interactive windows influenced learning about discrete problems within each lecture. Two short problem-solving or discussion sessions were devised for each lecture; one of these sessions was taught interactively to the first student group, the second was taught interactively to the second group. Comparing test scores achieved in questions addressing these paired problems showed strong evidence for a generally weak, positive influence of the interactive windows on recall and learning.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    31 March 2005

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    SAGE Publications

  • DOI:


  • Cross Ref:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    LB2300 Higher Education

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    378 Higher education


Huxham, M. (2005). Learning in lectures: Do ‘interactive windows’ help?. Active learning in higher education, 6(1), 17-31.



Education; Evaluation; Interaction

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