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Can Podcasting Play a Role in e-Learning? Part 1

The Action Research Series 01

Can Podcasting Play a Role in e-Learning? Part 1

by Tom 81115

Recently I conducted a small action research project to understand more about the potential of podcasting in distance higher education where students have only off-campus e-Learning classes. I define e-Learning as “online access to learning resources, anywhere and anytime” (Holmes & Gardner, 2006). A survey was used to investigate the following two research questions:

What are the characteristics of student created educationally beneficial podcasts?

Could podcasting be one component in a course to reduce feelings of isolation in e-Learning?

This reflective blog will focus only on the characteristics of student created podcasts that were deemed educationally beneficial.

Eleven participants who had previously studied or are studying an online higher education course completed the online survey giving both qualitative and quantitative feedback. Whilst this action research study lacks academic rigour and a large respondent sample size, it can give us a small indication which can guide further research in this area.

Participants were asked to evaluate statements on a 4 point likert scale (strongly agree to strongly disagree). These statements sought insights on effective podcasting techniques (the process) and podcasts (the product).

All respondents unanimously agreed that effective podcasts should be based on good planning, organisation and structure and be clearly and professionally presented. An overwhelming majority felt podcasts should be free of technical distortions. 72% of participants felt effective podcasts might include creativity and spontaneity. A small majority of participants also agreed that effective podcasts may result in a more personal connection with the content and podcasts stimulate better learning when creating them.

The group was generally divided on a number of issues. When asked if effective podcasts might lead to more personal interaction with classmates or peers and if they might result in less misinterpretations than text based asynchronous communications, 55% disagreed. Other studies had reported that students found less misinterpretations from instructor delivered podcasts as they could hear the intonation, emphasis etc… (Lee & Chan, 2007). The same percentage of the group also disagreed to the statement that effective podcasts help students feel part of the course learning community. I was quite surprised by this as several studies recommended podcasting as one tool in a plan to promote inclusivity in a distance learning community (Lee & Chan, 2007; McInnerney & Roberts, 2004).

Podcasting has been slowly emerging as an educational beneficial digital tool. There is a future for podcasting in higher education e-Learning as respondents did see value in it. Generally this value was based on academic conventions as all thought podcasts should be planned well and ideas organised and structured.

Can I see one less written essay in the future? Perhaps.

My gratitude to those eleven who took my survey. Thank you.

Blogged Originally: October 8, 2011 at http://www.digitalemerge.net/#/podcasting-in-e-learning-1/4556276440

Last Updated: October 11, 2011

Lee, M. J. W., & Chan, A. (2007). Reducing the effects of isolation and promoting inclusivity for distance learners through podcasting. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 8(1), 85-104.

Sense of Community. Educational Technology & Society, 7(3), 73-81.

McInnerney, J. M., & Roberts, T. S. (2004). Online Learning: Social Interaction and the Creation of a

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