The environment influences learning performance

Mar 24, 2015 • Konrad Förstner

During my studies of biochemistry I had a lecture series with more than 100 other students. At the beginning of each class the professor let a sheet circulating and everybody had to sign to prove his/her presence. At some point of each lecture the professor took the list, read the names and asked the called person to raise hands. This was a very uncommon for us (in Germany). Usually we could freely choose which lecture to attend and which to skip. Commonly it was our responsibility to get the required information and pass the test in the end. The lack of trust of this professor had a negative impact on everybody and just lead to the fact that many unmotivated people had to stay in the lecture. It even resulted in the running gag that each time somebody added the name “Hand Maulwurf” (Hans Mole) to the list and everybody was laughing when the professor was calling that name.

The improvement is rather simple. Such a list is not really helpful to motivate young adults to attend a lecture. Simply stopping to use the list would definitely reduced the amount of participants but increased the percentage of people really motivated to listen to the lecture. I have to admit that the number of participants would be rather low as the lectures were a very bad.