Sound like a good education?

Will audio podcasts improve your grades or help you learn about the financial crisis?

A recent study from the journal Computers and Education (DOI: 10.1016/j.compedu.2008.11.004) compared student performance with and without the supplement of an audio podcast of the lecture, concluding that:

Results indicated that students in the podcast condition who took notes while listening to the podcast scored significantly higher than the lecture condition.

While some of the reaction in the blogosphere has focussed on the death of the lecture or a move to an iPod based University – the reality is that this study seems to back-up what I have gleaned from talking to learning technologist colleagues of mine – that blended learning (technology as a part, not the whole of the process) is best for the broadest array of students and for improving learning outcomes.

The Oxbridge universities certainly seem to be sparring in audio form with the University of Oxford recently celebrating their 500,000th audio download via iTunes and the University of Cambridge producing an interesting take on the global financial crisis.

It explores the credit crunch from an interdisciplinary perspective – how the crude use of historical analogies can cloud our understanding of the credit crunch, how hormones can affect the decision-makers who control the global financial system and how the breakdown in trust is threatening the world’s financial stability.


But you don’t have to go to university to get up to speed on the financial crisis – Open Culture have brought together a nice list of blogs and podcasts on the crisis, which I would supplement with the VOX Talks series and Global Crisis Debate from VoxEU.

Intute: Social Sciences features more podcasts of interest to academics, as well as an archive of podcast related blog posts.