By Rob Hollamby, Editorial Assistant
As a student, it’s easy to see or hear the term ‘lecture guide’ and dismiss it without much thought. After all, you’re not giving the lectures – why would you need a guide on how to teach them?
It’s true that ABE’s lecture guides are used by your tutors as a teaching aid. The lecture guide for each unit shows where the examiner places the focus in each learning outcome, and so lets your tutor know which areas of a unit to place emphasis on when teaching. In turn, this will help you, the student, to pass your exams. But in this sense, lecture guides can be just as useful as a study aid as a teaching aid. Attending lectures is important for stimulating your mind and encouraging debate, allowing you to develop original thought on a subject, but reading a lecture guide outside of lecture time will provide you with a concrete example of the detail that you need to be concentrating on in each unit.
No doubt you will have looked at the syllabus for each unit you’re studying, in order to get an idea of what the learning outcomes for each unit are, how these outcomes will be assessed, and what sort of information you’ll need to cover when learning the unit. The lecture guides go hand in hand with the syllabuses for each unit, expanding on the indicative content to give a more fully-developed idea of what the examiners are looking for when they mark your exams.
Let’s use Introduction to Business as an example. Looking at the syllabus, you can see that by the end of studying Learning Outcome 1, you will be able to ‘understand the objectives of a business, what resources they need and to whom they are accountable.’ Assessment Criterion 1.1 lets you know the first step you need to take to demonstrate that understanding, that you need to be able to ‘define and show an understanding of the important business terms related to corporate objectives.’ In turn, Indicative Content 1.1.1 is even more specific, stating some of those terms as ‘corporate aims’, ‘corporate objectives’ and ‘corporate strategy’.
This is as far as the syllabus goes, since by definition it aims only to provide a summary of a unit’s content. A lecture guide, however, goes even further; the Introduction to Business lecture guide then details what is meant by the above terms, advising that you ‘distinguish between aims (long term intentions often expressed in qualitative terms, e.g. to become the world’s largest airline); objectives (medium to long term goals expressed in quantitative, terms e.g. increase sales in Asia by 10% in the next four years) and strategy (the plan for achieving the objectives including the resources required).’ From the lecture guide, you’ll know where to focus further reading on the subject, for example in ABE’s Study Manuals or a text from one of our recommended reading lists. Look out for blog posts on these in the near future!
So don’t be fooled into thinking that ABE lecture guides are only for lecturers – they’re for students, too! Lecture guides for each unit are available for students to download from the Members Area of the ABE website, which you can log into by clicking here.