A Review of Research on Podcasting in the Classroom

Use of Audio Podcast in K-12 and Higher Education: A Review of Research Topics and Methodologies

Hew, K.F. (2009) Use of audio podcast in K-12 and higher education: A review of research topics and methodologies. Educational Technology Research and Development. 333–357 doi: 10.1007/s11423-008-9108-3

Article reviews other articles on the use of audio podcasts as it relates to student usage, outcome of learning, and institutional aspects. The article found that most of the use of podcasts were by instructors to distribute lectures or supplemental material to lectures.

In the classroom, the podcast has four functions

  1. duplicate the lecture
  2. add relevant information to what was covered in class
  3. become a precursor to class, providing new material before the lecture, so it can help students prepare for class
  4. represent student learning through student-generated podcasts

We listen by instinct and audio can help with cognition. Podcasts can be listened to at any time anywhere and for short clips at a time. The theory is that podcasts can be listened to to and students will gain bits of information at a time. However, research shows that most students listen to podcasts on their computer rather on mp3 players and that learners are usually focused on the podcast and are not multitasking while they are listening to classroom podcasts.

Students reported that podcasts do improve learning, allowing learners to review information they missed or did not understand. However, reports which did not use the interview as a means of finding data, found a podcast which is not student generated, improves the student’s satisfaction, but does not improve their learning.

Part of the reason for the popularity of podcasts lectures is that students may listen to the podcast when it is convenient to them.

Podcasts: Students Interview Experts

Interviewing the Experts: Student Produced Podcast

Armstrong, G.R., Tucker, J.M., & Massad, V.J. (2009). Interviewing the experts: student produced podcast. Journal of Information Technology Education: Innovations in Practice, 8.

This paper described a podcast project that required students to work in teams and interview “experts.” Students analyze information and communicate ideas using technology to showcase their work. Working as a group, students, select and research a topic, identify the objectives and brainstorm ideas that support the topic, organize the ideas using concept mapping, set up an interview, prepare a script, and produce the podcast without instructor involvement.

When a group is producing the podcast, they become digital storytellers as they work on literacy and communication skills, planning, organization, critical thinking, and teamwork.

Because knowledge is more important than the technology (the actual podcast), it is the planning stage that is most important because that is where the students use their critical thinking and analytical skills and where they are working as a team.

The learning objectives

  • integrate communication and knowledge
  • use the technology to effectively relay the message
  • critically analyze information and produce relevant content
  • demonstrate literacy skills in the script and research
  • learn the mechanics of technology without help from instructor
  • use creativity

The students found the project to be productive and helped them learn.



Student-Created Podcasting

Second Year Students’ Experiences as Podcasters of Content for First Year Undergraduates

Lee, M. J.W., Chan, A., & McLoughlin, C. (2008). Students as Producers: Second Year Students’ Experiences as Podcasters of Content for First Year Undergraduates. 7th International Conference on Information Technology Based Higher Education and Training.

At Charles Sturt University in Australia, Lee, Chan, and McLoughlin conducted a study where they used second year students to produce podcasts to “teach” first year students. In this particular study, the podcasts were not a reiteration of the lecture but a supplement to the lecture.

By having students from earlier classes teach the new students, the earlier students learn by teaching. Peer tutoring requires students to revisit and use cognitive skills to clarify and explain prior knowledge. Although the mentors are passing their learning on to new students, the outcome is that it is the student-producers gain the most from the experience.

in the design and development of instructional materials, it is the designers who learn the most, since the process of articulating their domain knowledge compels them to reflect on their knowledge in a new and meaningful way.

By producing podcasts, students increase their meta-cognitive skills as well as their cognitive skills. The process of creating podcasts affords the students the ability to revisit the material, reorganize what they have learned, to process the information in a new and meaningful way.

Students volunteers were those who had already successfully completed the class the prior year and were interested in “reinforcing and extending their learning.” The volunteers met and discussed topics, wrote their own scripts, cast roles for the presenters, learned the technology, practiced the script and revised as necessary. They worked with the strengths and weaknesses of the team members.

The results showed that the students found the experience a positive one with the student-producers expressing that the task increased their learning while providing them technical skills.