According to the article, the traditional lecture approach suffers from an input and output problem, where the delivered information comes in quantities too large for the brain to register and process. Problems first arise on the input level as instructors deliver an overload of information in a short period of time, which overwhelms the brain and prevents information from being fully absorbed. On the output level, traditional lecturing does not give the brain enough time to process one piece of information before receiving more. The brain puts a lot of mental work into processing new information, and long lecture periods that review multiple topics prevent the brain from fully integrating new information with existing knowledge.
While note taking may seem to provide a solution to some of the problems presented by traditional lecturing, Wood’s article considers it evidence of the method’s failure. He asserts that instructors need to address input and output issues for effective teaching. As a start, he recommends that teachers break lectures into short chunks that focus on only one topic at a time.
In addition, he advocates for addressing output problems with the use of the “4P” Approach, whose Ps stand for prime, present, pause, and process. According to this structure, teachers first need to prime students by letting them know what they are expected to learn during the lecture and by highlighting key points. Being present focuses on the method of delivery and the act of engaging students in the lesson using props, eye contact, and vocal volume and tone. The final two Ps enforce the need for teachers to pause the lecture to give students time to process and review the new information.