Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Podcasting in Education: Student Attitudes, Behaviour and Self-Efficacy

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Podcasting in Education: Student Attitudes, Behaviour and Self-Efficacy

Article excerpt

Many universities now routinely offer web-based lecture recordings or podcasts. Although recording material for students is not new to education, growing attention has been given to podcasting in the last decade with technological changes that make producing and accessing lecture recordings increasingly easy. The issue occupies a growing slice of the educational literature, with both theoretical and empirical articles on the topic. As Harris and Park (2008) note, educational podcasts can serve a range of purposes from augmenting teaching through to recruiting new students, providing tours of the university, and offering pastoral care. Research has tended to focus on the first of these and within this category studies have examined student behaviour and perceptions of podcasting, the impact of podcasting on student learning, and staff responses. Although these three areas are interrelated, this article focuses on the first: student use and attitudes.

Studies of student use and attitudes towards podcasting began to appear in the literature in 2006 and a picture of student behaviour and satisfaction is beginning to emerge. Generalising from this research, however, needs to be conducted with some caution as studies vary on a range of dimensions including the ways in which podcasts have been incorporated into courses, disciplines examined, size of courses and response rates, the time of semester at which the surveys were conducted, and the methods (paper versus online) of survey administration.

Podcasts have been incorporated into the curriculum in a variety ways to meet a range of learning objectives. The most commonly reported use of podcasts involves recording of face-to-face lectures (e.g., Gosper, McNeill, Woo, Phillips, Preston, & Green, 2007; Lightbody. McCullagh, Hughes, &, Hutchison, 2007; McElroy & Blount, 2006; McKenzie, 2008; Maag, 2006; van Zanten, 2008; Williams & Fardon, 2007). Other researchers have reported using podcasts to record tutorials (Tynan & Colbran, 2006) and deliver short recordings or "episodes" of core (Clark, Taylor, & Westcott, 2007; Laing & Wootton, 2007) or supplementary material (Bell, Cockburn, Wingkvist, & Green, 2007). Podcasts have also been used to provide glossaries of key terms (Lightbody et al., 2007) and as a feedback mechanism for lecturers to communicate with individuals and groups on assessment tasks (Maag, 2006; McGregor, Merchant, & Butler, 2008). A smaller number of studies have examined the use of student-generated podcasts (Petrovic, Kennedy, Chang, & Waycott, 2008).

Irrespective of the form of podcasting, student satisfaction is typically strong and students generally perceive podcasts to have enhanced their learning (Goldberg & McKhann, 2000; Maag, 2006; Soong, Chan, Cheers, & Hu, 2006). For example, in a large Australian study involving four universities, 80% of students indicated that podcasts made it easier for them to learn and two-thirds noted that the recordings helped them achieve better results (Gosper et al., 2007). In smaller studies, podcasts have been rated as an important component of the course (McElroy & Blount, 2006) and as more crucial to the learning experience than attending lectures (McKenzie, 2008). Whether podcasts actually facilitate learning and/or help students achieve better grades is, however, unclear. Assessing the impact of podcasting on learning outcomes is complex given the inherent difficulties in determining the influence of any single variable on the process of learning as well as the logistical and ethical issues involved in experimental research in this area. Nevertheless, quasi-experimental research comparing naturally occurring groups of podcast users and nonusers may yield some useful information.

Research on student use and satisfaction of podcasts has included a range of disciplines, most typically with a focus on the sciences, including health sciences, as well as business. …

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