Current practice in universities foregrounds the traditional lecture, tutorial, examination approach to teaching. The nature of currently-accepted practice in course design and administration is considered through an examination of the influence on universities of historical views about knowledge. These findings are contrasted with current research about learning and learning environments, and the dissonances explored in terms of the concepts of theory-in-use and espoused theory. Recommendations are then made about appropriate ways to design educationally-sound learning environments in higher education. Finally, this paper questions why lectures are largely viewed as the core of the learning process, and why university teaching and learning practices continue to be resistant to, and often inconsistent with, fundamental principles of learning developed through sustained scholarly enquiry.