Maybe they’re on to something here?

Warwick University think that students that listen to lectures on podcast score higher marks in exams than those students who actually attend the lecture.

DundeeChest wonders – what happens if you do both?

Read the News Article Here

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11 Comments on “Maybe they’re on to something here?”

  1. Marge Says:

    “When given a test on the subject a week later, the podcast group scored 71 per cent while the in-class group scored 62 per cent. Within the podcast group, those who took notes and listened to the lecture more than once came away with an average test score of 77 per cent.”

    Without knowledge of what proportion of the podcast group relistened, that’s really meaningless though – if a majority of them relistened and got an average of 77%, then the rest of them that only listened once could have got results similar to the in-class group. Which would lead to the not exactly ground-breaking conclusion “reviewing lecture material is a good idea”.

    There’s also a wee part of me that objects to this being ‘pioneering’ and ‘innovative’ since the Open University have been doing this since the 1970s (albeit on cassettes and tv programmes, but the principle remains the same)!

    • Hello Marge
      You are completely right that the results have all to do with the way the materials are used. Here is a New Scientist article about the study:

      It contains a link to the paper and here is the relevant few paragraphs on results:
      “An initial t-test revealed that the students in the podcast condition scored significantly higher on the exam in session two than the students in the in-class lecture, t(64) = 2.12, p < .05. Students in the podcast condition had an average score of 71.24% (SD = 16.50%), whereas students in the in-class lecture condition had an average score of 62.47% (SD = 17.03%). This result was surprising given the assumption that students who attend class and take notes normally score the best on exams.

      The data from the podcast condition was then sorted into two groups: students who took additional notes on the PowerPoint slide handouts or on additional pages of paper, and students who took no additional notes of any kind. Of the 34 participants in the podcast condition, 22 students had taken additional notes, and 12 students had not. Results of a t-test on this data revealed a significant difference in performance between the two groups, t(32) = 2.59, p .05.

      • Marge Says:

        Thanks for that link – some more interesting stuff in there!

        Of course, part of my problem is flagrant bias; all these things are about how students now are “programmed differently” are probably totally irrelevant to me as a mature student! I’m wondering if I should ask for special allowances to be made for my programmed-in-the-20th-century brain…

        • dundeechest Says:

          The challenge for me is to keep the course accessible to everyone, whether they have 21st, 20th, or 19th century programming.

          What I’m pretty sure about is, we need to move forward, and not go back to the wrote learning style I was exposed to back at medical school.

          Thanks for commenting – you’re clearly programmed 21st century enough to get something out of the blog!

          • Marge Says:

            Eeeh, I were surfing the net when it were all 28K modems…

            And thanks for stepping in at the last minute for this morning’s missing lecture Dr Fardon!

            • dundeechest Says:

              I’ll have you know that I had one of the first 56K Flex modems! But upload was limited to 14K.

              And Mosaic for ‘browsing’.

              Good times.

          • The bottom line is learning is work. Listening to a podcast is no better than just hearing a lecturer face to face, The learning comes from making the notes – associations and connection. There are good things about being face to face… being part of a community, able to directly access the lecturer/expert… and if students were using laptops actively in class during lectures (searching for links- bookmarking them- contributing to a wiki of the lecture notes) then sitting in the lecture may be a much superior experience to listening to the lecture alone.

            Good luck and I’ll look forward to tracking your progress!

            Anne Marie

  2. dundeechest Says:

    I suppose the idea here is that going over the material is only as good as the material you have – so if you go to a lecture and take notes, you can go over your notes, and try to remember what was said; if you have access to the slides, you can over the slides, and try to remember what was said; if you have a podcast of the lecture, you can just listen again to what was said.

    You’re absolutely right about OU – probably the most pioneering higher education institution in the country – the problem is that the rest of us need to catch up. What’s ‘innovative’ is that we no longer have to use cassettes, but we can use podcasts and DVDs, and Adobe Connect, and web streaming blah blah, so make things so much more accessible.

    Personally, I think the most useful resource is an expert – what I always wanted as a student was to have easy access to consultants who could answer my questions and queries without getting in their way, and without embarrassing myself. That’s the idea of this blog. Hopefully it’s starting to work.

    • Joel Schneider Says:

      I agree: my main concern would be if “innovations” replaced experts, which I’m glad to see isn’t happening here. After all, isn’t body language etc. etc. supposed to be quite a major part of communication? If so, then, perhaps subconsciously, a lecturer can convey a lot more than simply the words on the slides. Looking forward to the podcasts!

  3. I dont have a name Says:

    I would quite like to have the lectures podcasted. Dr Cizadlo from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth MN. has been podcasting his Anatomy and Physiology lectures for ages now and they are very helpful.

    His website also has an audio blackboard, so you can see relevant slides or whiteboard drawings that he has made throughout the lecture. ( if anybody is interested)

    So, are we going to see something similar here? Please?

    • dundeechest Says:

      Thanks for the link to the Duluth lectures – I’ll take a look at them later on.

      We would love to podcast/vodcast the lectures, and it’s certainly something I’d like to look into. Unfortunately, we’re a little way from that at the moment. Even having the right lecturer at the right time would help! Essentially, I need to spend the rest of this year making sure that the on-line supporting material is relevant, accurate, and ties in with the lecture course; then look into expanding into Pod/Vod-casts.

      This month has been very hectic for me, trying to keep the blog running, writing the formatives, writing the on-line resources, virtual patients, making videos, etc. I have much more planned, but I just couldn’t fit it all in for this month. I will be updating the blog, and coming up with a repository for the learning tools I’m currently developing. My advice is to keep an eye on the blog via RSS feed, and I’ll let everyone know when there’s new materials up on line!



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