Podcast Lectures: Better Than the Real Deal?

Here’s an inter­est­ing fac­toid report­ed by The New Sci­en­tist… A study com­ing out of The State Uni­ver­si­ty of New York “mea­sured the per­for­mance of 64 stu­dents, half of whom watched a lec­ture via pod­cast and the oth­er half who attend­ed the live lec­ture. Stu­dents who used the pod­cast aver­aged a 71 out of 100 on the fol­low-up test where­as those who actu­al­ly went to the lec­ture aver­aged a 62.”  What explains the dif­fer­ence? Accord­ing to the head researcher, Dani McK­in­ney, it comes down to this: “If the [stu­dents] lis­tened to the pod­cast just one time, they did­n’t do any bet­ter than the peo­ple who came to the lec­ture. How­ev­er, the peo­ple who treat­ed it like a live lec­ture, and took notes or replayed cer­tain sec­tions… they did sig­nif­i­cant­ly bet­ter.” Or, to put things a lit­tle dif­fer­ent­ly, “It’s no dif­fer­ent than when stu­dents used to tape record lec­tures.… If some­thing was pre­sent­ed too fast for them to take down, they could replay that sec­tion and com­plete their notes.” The bot­tom line: stu­dents who use the right tools to absorb class­room lec­tures end up doing bet­ter. But how much bet­ter? In this case, the stu­dents using pod­casts got a C on the fol­low-up test. The stu­dents who did­n’t got a D. I guess that says some­thing for the pod­cast lec­ture, but don’t bank on them alone.

Thanks to @Cinetuyoymio for the lead here. Always feel free to send us tips at mail@oculture.com, or @openculture on Twit­ter. The more tips you send, the bet­ter Open Cul­ture becomes for all.

You can access the afore­men­tioned study for a fee here: iTunes Uni­ver­si­ty and the class­room: Can pod­casts replace Pro­fes­sors? 

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  • Carol A says:

    As some­one who is now study­ing I can say from my own expe­ri­ence that the best way is to attend the lec­ture, then lis­ten to the pod­cast a week or so lat­er. It real­ly seems to “rein­force” the live expe­ri­ence of the lec­ture. Also, some­times it is too easy to get so bogged down with note­tak­ing that things get missed.

  • Our firm uses pod­casts for all of our ongo­ing edu­ca­tion needs. Our busi­ness, as well as many oth­er busi­ness­es, are required to stay up to date with advances in prod­ucts, stan­dards, or laws and regulations.The best part about pod­casts, is the abil­i­ty to stop the lec­ture mid­stream so that we can dis­cuss parts of the lec­ture, and to con­cen­trate bet­ter on the top­ic.

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