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September 15, 1989

Learning Theories and Medical Lectures: Add Little to Little and There Will Be a Big Pile-Reply

JAMA. 1989;262(11):1472. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430110062026

In Reply. —  I appreciate the comments of Dr Wallach and Ms Dyer. I do not agree that present medical students are inferior to their predecessors. Those of my acquaintance are enthusiastic, bright, and dedicated to the difficult task of becoming a physician. I agree with Dr Wallach that learning by medical students is of overriding importance. Lectures are a major part of the educational curriculum and, unlike other factors, the style of lecture presentation remains completely under faculty control. The exercise of this control reflects on the medical school faculty and not on the students.Ms Dyer describes yet another style of lecture presentation, although this may be a variation on the diffusionist theme. She also has identified a major issue in curriculum planning: the cumulative effect of lecture style. Otherwise minor characteristics of lecture style can have untoward results when lecture frequency is high. This problem is acknowledged