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July 10, 2007

Learning Outcomes and Information Technology

Yet another study suggesting this time that podcasting in the academy produces no pedagogical or learning outcome advantage.

Paul McCloskey, from Campus Technology reports that "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 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."

In a new article published this month by Educause Review, Case Western Reserve University educational technologists, Dr. Wendy Shapiro, Dr. Mace Mentch, and Michael Kubit share new findings from assessment research conducted here at Case on the use of video-centric course delivery platform developed here at the University known as MediaVision Courseware. According to the authors, since its introduction in the Fall of '03, MediaVision courseware, which provides searchable video over well over 4000 hours of introductory courses at Case Western Reserve University, the platform offering is consistently viewed by students as a significant contributor to learning success. In addition to demonstrable evidence of student motivation, the support of streaming media to assist in different learning styles, and careful analysis of time on task, and summative learning outcomes have contributed to a 98% customer satisfaction with the experience of having their educational experience at Case Western Reserve University augmented by Courseware. The assessment data of faculty engagement is equally impressive with Courseware leading to better teaching evaluations, modifications in time management and approaches to teaching in the classroom, and again summative outcomes for standard, introductory level courses. The technology platform also auto-generates mp3 files. However, according to the authors, students have consistent preferred the video experience over the audio-only delivery platform.

So, what helps to explain the difference between the enhanced rich media experience of a well designed learning platform (MediaVision Courseware) and the audio-only podcast world. I would start by observing that the video-centric experience of Courseware has been designed by Instructional Designers and based on motivation, engagement and collaboration with both faculty and students. Another important element is the commitment to assessment and mid-course correcting of the technology and the design requirements for supportig student success.

While there is no inherent pedagogy associated with any technology (or modality of engagement learners), the digital natives of the current generation of students and their faculty colleagues can leverage technologies like MediaVision Courseware when all parties are focused on supporting student success.

Lev Gonick
July 9, 2007

Posted by lsg8 at July 10, 2007 01:39 PM and tagged

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