We are not wired to sit down and watch [instructional videos] instead of all the other things we do at home. When you encounter a youtube video (on something that you're interested in!) that's over 6-7 minutes long, do you watch it? I usually don't, too long, maybe later, maybe never.What the "Learning Cultures" people have right, I think, is that learning is (often) a highly social activity.
People just aren't wired to do the passive lecture thing at home.
And really, a lecture (in person) is NOT passive, even if the lecturer doesn't ask for feedback once. I've been to a lot of CLEs where you have your choice, live or taped. Live, you have to pay attention--everyone else is. Taped, you get up, go to the bathroom, check your mail, pull out a magazine...
What they have wrong is that the "social" part of the activity isn't sitting in a small group of novices trying to figure out what it is you're supposed to be learning.
The 'social' part of learning is about imitation: you do what the other people around you are doing, and learn what they are learning.
I think Albert Bandura was the person who pointed out that stimulus-response theory had its limitations.
To wit: If a baby antelope has to learn about lions through direct, stimulus-response contact with a lion, there won't be many baby antelopes.
Baby antelopes learn about lions by watching how their parents act around lions. They imitate.
Same deal with CLEs on tape versus live. If you're sitting in a room with a lot of other people who are paying attention, you pay attention, too.
With whole-class, teacher-led instruction, you have 20 peers or more to imitate and learn from.
With small group self-teaching, you have 4 other people who are just as confused as you are. In fact, confusion is a "Learning Cultures" selling point: "[unison reading] is an exciting opportunity for [students] because they get to bring their confusions to the table." [video]
If the Big Idea behind unison reading is that students 'get to bring their confusions to the table,' what are students in unison reading groups going to be imitating?
They're going to be imitating other students' confusions, not other students' learning.