7 Essentials for Instructors for Engaging Presentations

September 12, 2019 Elizabeth F. Barkley

In an interactive lecture, an engaging presentation is a core component within a carefully constructed process designed to ensure learners are active participants in their learning.

During the presentation, the instructor has the opportunity to share with students a wealth of knowledge honed over time. The knowledge may be explicit when it is possible to articulate and codify, or it may be tacit when it is more difficult to verbalize. Effective college teachers share their knowledge with students in ways that make students want to learn it.

When teachers share knowledge in a “telling” situation (rather than having students access information on their own), good professors strive for engaging presentations. What counts as engaging probably varies by the learner. However, we propose that in general, engaging presentations are those in which the teacher does the following:

• Sparks the learner’s curiosity and then maintains interest throughout

• Speaks with enthusiasm and expertise

• Respects the learners

• Uses language economically and effectively

• Shares content in a manner that is well-organized and unfolds logically

• Proceeds at a comfortable pace

• Concludes in a way that leaves listeners satisfied that their time listening was well spent.

Educational research provides useful information about what constitutes an effective lecture presentation, such that the presentation itself is related to improvements in student learning.


Excerpted and adapted from Interactive Lecturing: A Handbook for College Faculty by Elizabeth F. Barkley, Claire H. Major. Copyright ©, 2018, Wiley. All rights reserved.

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