Why Go To Class At All? Lecture Podcast Listeners Outperform Class AttendeesFeb 20th, 2009 | By Elisabeth Lewin | Category: Audio Podcasting, Educational Podcasts, Featured Story
An article in this week’s New Scientist detailed a recent psychological study from the State University of New York – Fredonia. The study, “Can Podcasts Replace Professors?,” conducted by psychologist Dani McKinney, indicates that students who listen to class lectures in podcast form score better when tested on the lecture material than students who heard the lectures in person.
To examine the effect of podcast-listening on test scores, McKinney enlisted 64 students. Half of them heard a basic introductory Psych 101 visual perception lecture in the classroom, and took home a printout of the lecture slides.Â The other half of the group were given the lecture in “enhanced” podcast form: they heard the same lecture, with the slides synchronized to the classroom talk.
Average scores of podcast listeners were not stellar – they averaged a “C” grade (71 %). But this bested the “D” average (61%) score of students who only heard the test material in the lecture hall.
It is worth note that the test score advantage disappeared among podcast listeners who did not take notes while they listened. Those podcast users who did take notes averaged even higher scores (77%).
McKinney thinks these technologies can “buttress” traditional lectures, particularly for young adults who have been surrounded by Internet technologies their whole lives. It may be that students who can access the lectures as podcasts can replay detailed or difficult parts of the class material. And classroom time may be better spent in dialogue among students and instructors, if crucial lecture material is available online for later reference.
McKinney hopes to extend this kind of study with a semester-long look at podcast use and test scores.
photo via Carleton.edu