Skip Class, Do Better

iTunes University and the classroom: Can podcasts replace Professors?

iTunes University, a website with downloadable educational podcasts, can provide students the opportunity to obtain professors’ lectures when students are unable to attend class. To determine the effectiveness of audio lectures in higher education, undergraduate general psychology students participated in one of two conditions. 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. Results indicated that students in the podcast condition who took notes while listening to the podcast scored significantly higher than the lecture condition. The impact of mobile learning on classroom performance is discussed.

If you don’t have access to Computers & Education Volume 52, Issue 3, April 2009, Pages 617-623, see the writeups in New Scientist and the New York Times.

Obviously we need replication studies. But it begs the question – if this finding were to be relatively stable, would higher education pay attention, or ignore its own research?

2 thoughts on “Skip Class, Do Better”

  1. I just got home and was listening to Sugata Mitra on the train (vidcast, blame on me 😉

    Now I find this post of yours.

    It’s not that higher education should be listening: is that reality is shouting out loud.

    I agree we’d need more research about it, but…

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