Consensus: Podcasting Has No 'Inherent' Pedagogic Value

A bevy of recent studies on students' experience listening to recorded lectures via podcasts confirms what many lecturers already know: that the pedagogical value of  podcasts depends almost entirely on student motivation and the learning "context" of the application.

In a comprehensive survey of the latest academic studies on the impact of podcasting on learning and teaching, Ashley Deal, a researcher in the  Office of Technology for Education & the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence at Carnegie Mellon University, found that podcasting follows the pattern of many campus technology innovations.

"As with any educational technology, whether and how podcasting impacts the quality of the learning experience and/or educational outcomes depends largely upon how the technology is put to use," Deal wrote.

So, does podcasting enhance education? "The answer to that question depends entirely on the educational context, including goals and appropriate learning activities, and on how the tool is implemented," said Deal.

"Podcasting does not contain any inherent value. It is only valuable
inasmuch as it helps the instructor and students reach their educational goals, by facilitating thoughtful, engaging learning activities that are designed to work in support of those goals."

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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