Podcasts Shown to be Potentially More Effective than Classroom Lectures

Many of us mobile learning enthusiasts are very excited about the technology associated with m-Learning. But we are often asked about the effectiveness of mobile learning vs. classroom learning or traditional e-learning models. Mobile learning has been shown through several studies to be as effective, or more effective than other modes of training and sometimes less effective depending on how it’s used and what it’s used for. Well, this study from the State University of New York at Fredonia (my undergraduate Alma Mater) provides some evidence for the effectiveness for at least one form of m-Learning – podcasts.

“The results showed that the podcast viewers did considerably better than those who attended the lecture in person. The podcast group averaged nine points (out of 100) higher on the test than those in the live audience. Moreover, those who took notes during the podcast scored even higher, averaging 15 points higher than their live-lecture counterparts.” – http://ww2.fredonia.edu/news/BrowseallNews/tabid/1101/ctl/ArticleView/mid/1878/articleId/1449/Study-tests-effectiveness-of-podcasts-vs-lectures.aspx

In this case, the increased effectiveness could be attributed to recorded audio in general and not mobile learning specifically. But I think that conclusion would fail to recognize that the prevalence of podcasts has been brought about by the pervasiveness of mobile technology. Podcasts would never have been podcasts without the pod. And student’s comfort with a piece of technology enables them to focus on the content represented in that podcast,  allowing them to increase their performance. Again it comes back to the way that mobile learning conforms to the learner and not the other way around.

Of course, nothing beats being in the presence of a great lecturer. But there are probably many mediocre or poor lecturers for every great one. Perhaps, students can get the best of both worlds by going to class, then listening to a recap and taking notes.

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1 comment so far

  1. Podcasts « Media Blackboard on

    […] podcasts seem to have become a darling of the VLE, being seen (or heard) in some circles as more effective than in-class lectures (Perhaps at University level, but doubtful at secondary). Nevertheless, I remember at a recent […]


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