The Eight-Minute Lecture Keeps Students Engaged

Numerous studies have shown students retain little of our lectures. Research suggests the “average attention span,” is around 8 to 10 minutes (SBRI, 2015). You can increase student engagement and learning by using the eight-minute lecture interwoven with active strategies.

  • Set student expectations early; explain how your class works, along with the rationale. Most students expect to listen and take notes; they are less accustomed to an active learning environment that involves short lectures with quick multiple-choice clicker quizzes, small group discussions, and report backs, and/or problem sets.
  • Redesign lectures; review your lectures to identify natural breaks. Where can you pause without losing meaning? How can you use students’ knowledge from previous learning as a scaffold? Where can you substitute images, videos, or interactive activities? Cull through the content and eliminate two-thirds of your lecture material.

Adapted from Illysa Izenberg
Statistics Brain Research Institute.”Attention Span Statistics.” April 2, 2015. Retrieved