How iTunes University May be Better Than the Real Thing
Some new research is showing how always available, multi-media lectures may be more effective than the old fashioned live kind. New Scientist reports on a study conducted by the State University of New York in Freedonia which shows that being able to review a lecture multiple times leads to improved grades.
Those results are not particularly news at all. Of course having access to a lecture, and studying and taking notes on it will help a student retain information better (the other group only experienced the live lecture once, in real time). What this experiment does do, is give strength to the argument for recording and sharing lectures in online in forums such as iTunes University. Score one for online learning.
New Scientist gives the details:
Students who downloaded the podcast averaged a C (71 out of 100) on the test – substantially better than those who attended the lecture, who on average mustered only a D (62).
But that difference vanished among students who watched the podcast but did not take notes.Students who listened to the podcast one or more times and took notes had an average score of 77, McKinney says.
Motivation might have been an issue, as the experiment did not count for class credit, though the highest scorer in each group earned a $15 iTunes gift certificate.
McKinney want to now test how podcasts affect learning across an entire semester, rather than from just a single lecture. Students might find them more useful early on in a class, when the material is still new, she says.
Though her team’s paper is subtitled “Can podcasts replace Professors,” McKinney thinks these technologies can buttress traditional lectures, particularly for a generation that has grown up with the Internet.