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Methods of delivery

Presentations and lectures

A lecture is delivered to a large number of learners by a teacher (usually in person, but can be by broadcast, video or film). A conventional lecture would be 50–55 minutes of uninterrupted discourse from the teacher with no discussion, the only learner activity being listening and note-taking. Lectures will not necessarily include visual aids. Presentations follow a similar pattern but are more likely to happen outside formal education for example in the workplace. Presentations might be shorter and would definitely include visual aids — possibly of a high-tech nature.

There are many advantages to using presentations and lectures as a delivery method for training. Although the disadvantages are fewer, it is important to acknowledge them and to take measures to minimise them as they are significant and can undermine the learning experience.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Up-to-date info can be given quickly and simultaneously
  • Learners quickly get overview of subject
  • Learners can be stimulated by good lecturer
  • Familiar form of delivery
  • Cost-effective
  • Easy logistics
  • Lends itself to use of acknowledged expert in the field
  • Content can be controlled
  • Pace of delivery can be controlled
  • Doesn’t allow for different learning abilities or speeds
  • Passive
  • Time and location controlled by the teacher
  • Is often perceived as “boring” by learners

There has been a lot of research carried out on learning experiences which sheds light on the appropriateness and value of presentations and lectures as a delivery technique. When preparing your presentation it is good to bear in mind the following:

Tips for delivering effective presentations and lectures

There are some people who are natural speakers. They can speak without preparation, without notes, without visual aids and put together a presentation on their chosen or accepted subject that will impress, inform and captivate their audience. In so doing they might violate all the tips and guidance offered in this section but they will nevertheless be gifted trainers. Most of us need to develop and practice our speaking and presentation skills and following the guidance below will assist in preparing and delivering an effective and professional presentation or lecture. Some of the tips will also be relevant to other kinds of delivery methods.


Find out about your participants’ existing knowledge

This is also a good way to “warm up” the class.

Organise your information well

Relate to learners


Body language



General tips

At the end

Visual aids

The most common technique for making lectures and presentations more interesting and effective is the use of visual aids. Lecturing can be a boring and therefore ineffectual way of delivering learning. Visual aids are used in presentations and lectures to illustrate the subject, they can help to break up the monotony, providing a visual stimulant to reinforce what the learners are listening to. The most common forms of visual aids are:

More detail on developing effective visual aids is given in the Teaching aids section.

How are presenters and lecturers assessed by the audience?

Making presentations and delivering lectures can be a very daunting experience, particularly as most of us have been on the receiving end of speeches in the past. It can be helpful to remember how we might be judged or received by our audience. There are three main areas on which a speaker’s competence may be judged:

  1. Knowledge: technical competence and practical experience
  2. Design and delivery: the “performance”, including: voice control; eye contact; body language; audio-visual use and support; facilitating discussion; making learning fun
  3. Enthusiasm: interest in the subject; listening skills; ability to answer questions

How to make lectures and presentations more interactive

Lectures can be the best way to get a lot of factual information over to a large group of people. However, they do not have to involve lengthy periods of monologue from the speaker as there are ways of breaking up the delivery to add variety and interest. Here are some suggestions:

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Last updated: 20 December 2005