Podcasts for feed forward

Using podcasts for feedback has been discussed a lot recently. Findings indicate the benefits of being able to deliver clearer and more detailed information, and make feedback feel more personalised, interactive and connected through voice. Another type of podcast – podcasts providing feed forward information – is understudied. In DUCKLING, Psychology has produced dissertation podcasts providing instructions in guiding students through the dissertation process and assignment podcasts explaining module assignment, both types of podcasts are to provide feed forward information.

I talked to a small number of Psychology students and they reflected on what was considered beneficial to their learning by using feed forward podcasts.

1.       Thinking ahead

Feed forward podcasts are particularly useful for students to plan and think ahead. As one student said about assignment podcasts,

“I think it was easier because you have it before you start doing anything [rather than leaving it to] the most panicking stage…”

The dissertation podcasts have a similar impact. Students can listen to it and start developing ideas even though they haven’t started their dissertation process. This is particularly beneficial to distance students as they can think ahead in an organised way, as one student pointed out,

 “I haven’t started developing ideas, and [I’m] hoping to start in the next few weeks, and that’s why I listen to the podcasts… A has broken down the different types of dissertation. I find that very useful. It’s kind of giving you an idea what kind of areas you can look at. It’s kind of making you think in an organised way. It’s just starting to think how I’m gonna approach it and where I should start thinking about this.”

2.       Reassuring

Students also find feed forward podcasts reassuring. As they pointed out in the interviews, ‘They set you at the right direction’, ‘They reconfirmed a lot of what I had read already’, ‘They reassured that I was on the right lines’, and ‘I feel comfortable that I’m on the right track’.

I’ve only spoken to a few students so far; the research is still in its early days. One of my colleagues, Roger Dence, provided similar types of podcasts explaining module assignments to his distance students studying for an MBA. He has already collected some evidence from students. It would be very interesting if we can compare and contrast our findings from different studies.

 

Ming Nie              20 August 2009

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