Podcasting for reflective learning

Anguelina, a PhD student from the University of Ultrecht, Netherlands visited BDRA last week. Her research is on podcasting to support students’ reflections. Her research was conducted with a group of students studying a psychology course. The students were divided into two control groups. Students in one control group were provided with a podcast a day before their face-to-face lecture. In the podcast, the professor asked a couple of academic questions for students to think about before coming to the face-to-face lecture. Students in another control group were not given access to the podcasts.

Students who listened to the podcasts were evaluated through whether the questions asked in a podcast before a lecture stimulated them to re-consider what they had known. In the end of a lecture, the students were tested with the same academic questions asked in the podcast and examined by whether their answers to those questions were any deeper or richer than the answers given by the students who did not have access to the podcast.

Anguelina’s research reminded me of another two studies of using podcasting to promote students’ reflective learning. Mark J.W. Lee, an early and active podcasting practitioner in Australia investigated the potential of podcasting for delivering students’ oral presentations and of blogging for facilitating peer and self-evaluation for assessment purposes. Students were asked to record their presentations in MP3 format for podcasting, then used a collaborative blog to critically reflect on their work and on feedback from classmates.

Dick Ng’ ambi wrote a chapter on podcasting for reflective learning in the book ‘Podcasting for learning in Universities’. In this chapter, he introduced podcasting for mediating reflective practice into a South African on-campus postgraduate course in Information Technology. Students were asked to make presentations in a group. Their oral presentations, questions asked by peers, and their responses to the questions were recorded and made available as podcasts. Students were then asked to listen to the podcasts and individually reflect on questions asked by peers, and wrote reflective essays for assessment purposes.

Mark’s and Dick’s studies showed how podcasting can enable reflection to take place by giving students the opportunity to come back to their original presentations, allowing them time and space to think over questions asked by peers. It also showed how students can learn from peers by taking in their insightful ideas and the way how peers handled the questions.

The difference in the three approaches is, Anguelina’s study used lecturer-created podcasts, whereas Mark and Dick evaluated student-created podcasts.

Ming Nie,  28 March 2009.

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