iTunes can Replace Professors

Dr Shock
February 10, 2009

lecture

Undergraduate general psychology students listening to podcasts from a lecture of their professor who took notes while listening to the podcast scored significantly higher than the students attending the in-class lecture condition on the exam on lecture content.

Ten years ago I would have given about 7 days of lectures to hordes of medical students, 2 to 3 hundred in each lecture each 3 months. Interaction hardly possible. Nowadays these lectures are mostly presentations of patient problems and life patients demonstrations. In a whole year the number of lectures for medical students can be counted on the fingers of two hands.

The results of this study are in no way an indication that audio copies of lectures could or should replace actual professors, or even regular class attendance. The advantage the students in our study received was only when the student took notes as they would do during a lecture, and when they listened to the lecture more than once. In essence, the same things a student does during the actual lecture, they would need to do to show a benefit of the podcast.

The authors are very cautious with their conclusions. In the results section an initial t-test revealed that the students in the podcast condition scored significantly higher on the exam in session two than the students in the in-class lecture. Only with further analysis it was discovered that those who took notes during the podcast were responsible for this significant difference. The others did not differ significantly with the in class lectures.

This cautiousness is probably due to the critique by their fellow professors on campus: …. generated much debate among our colleagues on campus was that in this study the podcast condition was not used to enhance a college lecture (perhaps giving students who attended the actual lecture a chance to listen to it again), but rather was in place of attending the lecture.

Another evident advantage of the podcast compared to the in-class lecture was that they were able to listen to the lecture several times, the in-class lecture group only had their notes.

Overall of the 66 students that completed the experiment, 57 of them owned mp3 players (86%). Twenty-eight out of the 57 also had video capabilities on their players (49%). While 57 of the participants had mp3 players, only 3 students in the study had ever listened to podcasts before (5%), and none of the students had ever listened to a podcast of a classroom lecture. The average amount of time the students who had mp3 players spent listening to them each day was 1.67 h (SD = 1.20 h). The most common answer to the question of time spent listening was 1 h per day.

In the podcast condition the ProfCast software to record the lecture had the addition of chapter markers into the podcast. With each PowerPoint slide a chapter marker was created, this feature was very appreciated by the students and at least 88% of the students in the ProfCast condition preferred the podcasts.

How was this study done?

In the lecture condition, participants listened to a 25-min lecture given in person by a professor using PowerPoint slides. Copies of the slides were given to aid note-taking. In the podcast condition, participants received a podcast of the same lecture along with the PowerPoint handouts. Participants in both conditions were instructed to keep a running log of study time and activities used in preparing for an exam. One week from the initial session students returned to take an exam on lecture content.

It is only needed to study the kind of material, the complexity of the lectures that might benefit the most from ProfCasts. Replication in larger groups and different studies are very welcome.

What do you think can professors be replaced by podcasts?

ResearchBlogging.org
Dani McKinney, Jennifer L. Dyck, Elise S. Luber (2009). iTunes University and the classroom: Can podcasts replace Professors? Computers & Education, 52 (3), 617-623 DOI: 10.1016/j.compedu.2008.11.004

 

4 Responses to “iTunes can Replace Professors”

  1. The cautiousness of our conclusions was actually not due to any critique of colleagues on our campus. The cautiousness is completely supported by the findings themselves. The data show that only when the podcast gets the same attention as a normal in class-lecture session is there any benefit from having it. The literature in the field on podcast usage was lacking a key element that needed to be explored before students assumed having a podcast was enough–the literature we reviewed found very limited use of any kind of testing or exam over the material covered in the podcast. In addition, almost all of the literature we reviewed included podcasts as something that was IN ADDITION to attending the classroom session.

    Our question was how podcasts might be used to help a student find out information about a lecture they may have missed. It is actually fairly common for students to miss at least one lecture during a semester. We know that students who get notes of a class session from a friend do more poorly than those students who attended the actual lecture. How might these students fair if given an audio copy of the lecture accompanied by the powerpoint slides?

    The findings indicate that passively listening to the lecture does not help much. The advantage only comes when the student took notes while listening….and the biggest difference was when the students listened more than once as well as taking notes—basically, when the students worked HARDER than even those who came to class and took notes. So, far from being able to replace the lecture session, the students who showed the advantage were the ones who took the opportunity to encode the material more than one time, and both visually and auditorially.

    I appreciate the thoroughness of your review of our article—the last week since it has came out, I have been wondering if anyone would take the time to carefully review the ENTIRE paper, and all of our findings. Thank you for doing just that.

  2. Dani McKinney on February 19th, 2009 at 7:08 am
  3. Taking notes while listening to the podcast benefits learning but the same goes for taking notes during class. Students differ In how they work, is it in class or is it while listening to the podcast. This is probably due to interest, motivation and probably more factors. Do these two methods differ in these factors, in other words does listening to a podcast make the students use more note taking, is that a specific additive effect of podcasts? I don’t think so but than I might be wrong. Put it in another way, did the students with note taking do better in the exam than those not taking notes and how is that in the podcast group?
    Thanks for your comment and I enjoyed your research very much. When giving lectures I always ask my self does this help them? The main advantage of giving lectures is that you get to know some of the 300 students and they get to know you.
    Kind regards Dr Shock

    P.S Another blog science daily I think it was also discovered your research

  4. Dr Shock on February 19th, 2009 at 9:33 am
  5. I recently started following this blog and enjoy it.
    The study was interesting and appreciate the author’s clarification above.

    I would love to know a couple more things:
    1. What was the level of interactivity in the live class? Did students or the professor ask questions? Was there any discussion? Was this captured in the podcast?
    2. How big was the class size?
    3. Did the professor use an audience response system to gauge student needs, assess comprehension of the material or customize the lecture?
    4. Why choose 25 min as the lecture length?
    5. What was the complexity of the content compared to the average student’s understanding of it?
    6. Why choose a week as a recall period?

    Clearly in the situation described – the students who listened to the podcasts more than once and encoded (transformed) the information by taking notes did better. If the class was a highly interactive one with a lot of “active learning” I think this would be a very provocative study. If it was not, then maybe we need a study that compares one such “ideal” class with a podcast?

    Education in general is moving away for passive lectures to large groups – because most educators would believe that active learning in small groups which allow for some transformation of the knowledge into non-textual formats works best.

    What one would love to see tested is a pedagogic model that incorporates podcasts into interactive small group learning. There have been studies where asking learners to create podcasts and share them with each other have worked http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/120083673/abstract

    Also would love to see if this makes a dent in outcomes other than knowledge scores…….

  6. Neil on March 29th, 2009 at 9:59 pm
  7. [...] Based on the research article “iTunes University and the Classroom: Can Podcasts Replace Professors?” [...]

  8. Ms. Adverthinker » A Boon for Technology, a Curse for Class Attendance on April 19th, 2009 at 12:44 am
  1. The cautiousness of our conclusions was actually not due to any critique of colleagues on our campus. The cautiousness is completely supported by the findings themselves. The data show that only when the podcast gets the same attention as a normal in class-lecture session is there any benefit from having it. The literature in the field on podcast usage was lacking a key element that needed to be explored before students assumed having a podcast was enough–the literature we reviewed found very limited use of any kind of testing or exam over the material covered in the podcast. In addition, almost all of the literature we reviewed included podcasts as something that was IN ADDITION to attending the classroom session.

    Our question was how podcasts might be used to help a student find out information about a lecture they may have missed. It is actually fairly common for students to miss at least one lecture during a semester. We know that students who get notes of a class session from a friend do more poorly than those students who attended the actual lecture. How might these students fair if given an audio copy of the lecture accompanied by the powerpoint slides?

    The findings indicate that passively listening to the lecture does not help much. The advantage only comes when the student took notes while listening….and the biggest difference was when the students listened more than once as well as taking notes—basically, when the students worked HARDER than even those who came to class and took notes. So, far from being able to replace the lecture session, the students who showed the advantage were the ones who took the opportunity to encode the material more than one time, and both visually and auditorially.

    I appreciate the thoroughness of your review of our article—the last week since it has came out, I have been wondering if anyone would take the time to carefully review the ENTIRE paper, and all of our findings. Thank you for doing just that.

  2. Dani McKinney on February 19th, 2009 at 7:08 am
  3. Taking notes while listening to the podcast benefits learning but the same goes for taking notes during class. Students differ In how they work, is it in class or is it while listening to the podcast. This is probably due to interest, motivation and probably more factors. Do these two methods differ in these factors, in other words does listening to a podcast make the students use more note taking, is that a specific additive effect of podcasts? I don’t think so but than I might be wrong. Put it in another way, did the students with note taking do better in the exam than those not taking notes and how is that in the podcast group?
    Thanks for your comment and I enjoyed your research very much. When giving lectures I always ask my self does this help them? The main advantage of giving lectures is that you get to know some of the 300 students and they get to know you.
    Kind regards Dr Shock

    P.S Another blog science daily I think it was also discovered your research

  4. Dr Shock on February 19th, 2009 at 9:33 am
  5. I recently started following this blog and enjoy it.
    The study was interesting and appreciate the author’s clarification above.

    I would love to know a couple more things:
    1. What was the level of interactivity in the live class? Did students or the professor ask questions? Was there any discussion? Was this captured in the podcast?
    2. How big was the class size?
    3. Did the professor use an audience response system to gauge student needs, assess comprehension of the material or customize the lecture?
    4. Why choose 25 min as the lecture length?
    5. What was the complexity of the content compared to the average student’s understanding of it?
    6. Why choose a week as a recall period?

    Clearly in the situation described – the students who listened to the podcasts more than once and encoded (transformed) the information by taking notes did better. If the class was a highly interactive one with a lot of “active learning” I think this would be a very provocative study. If it was not, then maybe we need a study that compares one such “ideal” class with a podcast?

    Education in general is moving away for passive lectures to large groups – because most educators would believe that active learning in small groups which allow for some transformation of the knowledge into non-textual formats works best.

    What one would love to see tested is a pedagogic model that incorporates podcasts into interactive small group learning. There have been studies where asking learners to create podcasts and share them with each other have worked http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/120083673/abstract

    Also would love to see if this makes a dent in outcomes other than knowledge scores…….

  6. Neil on March 29th, 2009 at 9:59 pm
  7. [...] Based on the research article “iTunes University and the Classroom: Can Podcasts Replace Professors?” [...]

  8. Ms. Adverthinker » A Boon for Technology, a Curse for Class Attendance on April 19th, 2009 at 12:44 am
  1. The cautiousness of our conclusions was actually not due to any critique of colleagues on our campus. The cautiousness is completely supported by the findings themselves. The data show that only when the podcast gets the same attention as a normal in class-lecture session is there any benefit from having it. The literature in the field on podcast usage was lacking a key element that needed to be explored before students assumed having a podcast was enough–the literature we reviewed found very limited use of any kind of testing or exam over the material covered in the podcast. In addition, almost all of the literature we reviewed included podcasts as something that was IN ADDITION to attending the classroom session.

    Our question was how podcasts might be used to help a student find out information about a lecture they may have missed. It is actually fairly common for students to miss at least one lecture during a semester. We know that students who get notes of a class session from a friend do more poorly than those students who attended the actual lecture. How might these students fair if given an audio copy of the lecture accompanied by the powerpoint slides?

    The findings indicate that passively listening to the lecture does not help much. The advantage only comes when the student took notes while listening….and the biggest difference was when the students listened more than once as well as taking notes—basically, when the students worked HARDER than even those who came to class and took notes. So, far from being able to replace the lecture session, the students who showed the advantage were the ones who took the opportunity to encode the material more than one time, and both visually and auditorially.

    I appreciate the thoroughness of your review of our article—the last week since it has came out, I have been wondering if anyone would take the time to carefully review the ENTIRE paper, and all of our findings. Thank you for doing just that.

  2. Dani McKinney on February 19th, 2009 at 7:08 am
  3. Taking notes while listening to the podcast benefits learning but the same goes for taking notes during class. Students differ In how they work, is it in class or is it while listening to the podcast. This is probably due to interest, motivation and probably more factors. Do these two methods differ in these factors, in other words does listening to a podcast make the students use more note taking, is that a specific additive effect of podcasts? I don’t think so but than I might be wrong. Put it in another way, did the students with note taking do better in the exam than those not taking notes and how is that in the podcast group?
    Thanks for your comment and I enjoyed your research very much. When giving lectures I always ask my self does this help them? The main advantage of giving lectures is that you get to know some of the 300 students and they get to know you.
    Kind regards Dr Shock

    P.S Another blog science daily I think it was also discovered your research

  4. Dr Shock on February 19th, 2009 at 9:33 am
  5. I recently started following this blog and enjoy it.
    The study was interesting and appreciate the author’s clarification above.

    I would love to know a couple more things:
    1. What was the level of interactivity in the live class? Did students or the professor ask questions? Was there any discussion? Was this captured in the podcast?
    2. How big was the class size?
    3. Did the professor use an audience response system to gauge student needs, assess comprehension of the material or customize the lecture?
    4. Why choose 25 min as the lecture length?
    5. What was the complexity of the content compared to the average student’s understanding of it?
    6. Why choose a week as a recall period?

    Clearly in the situation described – the students who listened to the podcasts more than once and encoded (transformed) the information by taking notes did better. If the class was a highly interactive one with a lot of “active learning” I think this would be a very provocative study. If it was not, then maybe we need a study that compares one such “ideal” class with a podcast?

    Education in general is moving away for passive lectures to large groups – because most educators would believe that active learning in small groups which allow for some transformation of the knowledge into non-textual formats works best.

    What one would love to see tested is a pedagogic model that incorporates podcasts into interactive small group learning. There have been studies where asking learners to create podcasts and share them with each other have worked http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/120083673/abstract

    Also would love to see if this makes a dent in outcomes other than knowledge scores…….

  6. Neil on March 29th, 2009 at 9:59 pm
  7. [...] Based on the research article “iTunes University and the Classroom: Can Podcasts Replace Professors?” [...]

  8. Ms. Adverthinker » A Boon for Technology, a Curse for Class Attendance on April 19th, 2009 at 12:44 am
  1. The cautiousness of our conclusions was actually not due to any critique of colleagues on our campus. The cautiousness is completely supported by the findings themselves. The data show that only when the podcast gets the same attention as a normal in class-lecture session is there any benefit from having it. The literature in the field on podcast usage was lacking a key element that needed to be explored before students assumed having a podcast was enough–the literature we reviewed found very limited use of any kind of testing or exam over the material covered in the podcast. In addition, almost all of the literature we reviewed included podcasts as something that was IN ADDITION to attending the classroom session.

    Our question was how podcasts might be used to help a student find out information about a lecture they may have missed. It is actually fairly common for students to miss at least one lecture during a semester. We know that students who get notes of a class session from a friend do more poorly than those students who attended the actual lecture. How might these students fair if given an audio copy of the lecture accompanied by the powerpoint slides?

    The findings indicate that passively listening to the lecture does not help much. The advantage only comes when the student took notes while listening….and the biggest difference was when the students listened more than once as well as taking notes—basically, when the students worked HARDER than even those who came to class and took notes. So, far from being able to replace the lecture session, the students who showed the advantage were the ones who took the opportunity to encode the material more than one time, and both visually and auditorially.

    I appreciate the thoroughness of your review of our article—the last week since it has came out, I have been wondering if anyone would take the time to carefully review the ENTIRE paper, and all of our findings. Thank you for doing just that.

  2. Dani McKinney on February 19th, 2009 at 7:08 am
  3. Taking notes while listening to the podcast benefits learning but the same goes for taking notes during class. Students differ In how they work, is it in class or is it while listening to the podcast. This is probably due to interest, motivation and probably more factors. Do these two methods differ in these factors, in other words does listening to a podcast make the students use more note taking, is that a specific additive effect of podcasts? I don’t think so but than I might be wrong. Put it in another way, did the students with note taking do better in the exam than those not taking notes and how is that in the podcast group?
    Thanks for your comment and I enjoyed your research very much. When giving lectures I always ask my self does this help them? The main advantage of giving lectures is that you get to know some of the 300 students and they get to know you.
    Kind regards Dr Shock

    P.S Another blog science daily I think it was also discovered your research

  4. Dr Shock on February 19th, 2009 at 9:33 am
  5. I recently started following this blog and enjoy it.
    The study was interesting and appreciate the author’s clarification above.

    I would love to know a couple more things:
    1. What was the level of interactivity in the live class? Did students or the professor ask questions? Was there any discussion? Was this captured in the podcast?
    2. How big was the class size?
    3. Did the professor use an audience response system to gauge student needs, assess comprehension of the material or customize the lecture?
    4. Why choose 25 min as the lecture length?
    5. What was the complexity of the content compared to the average student’s understanding of it?
    6. Why choose a week as a recall period?

    Clearly in the situation described – the students who listened to the podcasts more than once and encoded (transformed) the information by taking notes did better. If the class was a highly interactive one with a lot of “active learning” I think this would be a very provocative study. If it was not, then maybe we need a study that compares one such “ideal” class with a podcast?

    Education in general is moving away for passive lectures to large groups – because most educators would believe that active learning in small groups which allow for some transformation of the knowledge into non-textual formats works best.

    What one would love to see tested is a pedagogic model that incorporates podcasts into interactive small group learning. There have been studies where asking learners to create podcasts and share them with each other have worked http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/120083673/abstract

    Also would love to see if this makes a dent in outcomes other than knowledge scores…….

  6. Neil on March 29th, 2009 at 9:59 pm
  7. [...] Based on the research article “iTunes University and the Classroom: Can Podcasts Replace Professors?” [...]

  8. Ms. Adverthinker » A Boon for Technology, a Curse for Class Attendance on April 19th, 2009 at 12:44 am

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