May 25, 2010

A Short Bibliography on Mobile Learning and Podcasting

The concept of Mobile Learning is new enough that its definitions are still contested. Should it be defined by the pedagogy it affords, by the technology it deploys, the social discourse it enables? We might be able to describe some of its characteristics - that it provides learning opportunities independently of time and place. We could also perhaps gain a sense of "mLearning" by analyzing a list of some of the tools of which it makes use: iPods, ebooks, smart phones, GPS handhelds, PDAs, etc. But at this stage in its evolution, it would be difficult to encapsulate what seems to literally be a moving target. We thought it might be useful, though, to provide Transform readers with a starting point into the new research on podcasting as a manifestation of the greater inquiry into mobile learning.


McKinney, D., Dyck, J. L., & Luber, E. S. (in press). "iTunes University and the classroom: Can podcasts replace professors?" Computers and Education.

In this quasi-experimental design study of an introductory psychology course, the students who were given access to a podcast of a recorded lecture, but did not attend the lecture itself, scored significantly higher on exams than those who had attended lecture but had only PowerPoint notes of the same lecture. The authors are quick to say that this study in no way indicates the value of replacing live instruction with recorded lectures. They were interested in supplemental instruction, and particularly the conditions when a student might miss an occasional lecture and had access to either another student's notes or the actual recorded lecture. They assert that "the advantage the students in our study received was only when the student took notes as they would do during a lecture, and when they listened to the lecture more than once." This study was limited by many factors, including a novelty effect and the disciplinary-specific nature of the content, but it provides us with an early study of the value of podcasting in a higher education setting.


Lee, M. J. W., McLoughlin, C., & Chan A. (2008). Talk the talk: Learner-generated podcasts as catalysts for knowledge creation. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(3), 501-521.

As the title suggests, Lee et al. examine the educational value of learner-generated podcasts in graduate and undergraduate courses in Australia. The authors wanted to explore the potential for mobile learning that went beyond recorded lectures. Focus groups and content analysis were used to measure results. Using a knowledge-building framework devised by Scardamalia, the authors examined principles such as "improvable ideas," "epistemic agency," and "constructive uses of authoritative sources," etc. Through an analysis of the student scriptwriting, production, and editing, the authors found "a high proportion of the student-producers' discourse contained evidence of knowledge-building principles." They conclude: "While the products of their activity (podcast scripts and recordings) were indicators of success for the student producers, the actual dialogic and social processes that resulted in knowledge creation were the focus of the research inquiry. The authors believe that without the articulation of common goals and the commitment to producing tangible objects of shared activity, the student-producers may not have been as actively engaged in these collaborative processes."


Evans, C. (2008). The effectiveness of m-learning in the form of podcast revision lectures in higher education. Computers & Education, 50, 491-498.

This British study examined instructor-generated podcasts as a review tool after a lecture but before an exam. They found evidence to support three hypotheses. First, they found that students believed that listening and re-listening to the podcasts was a quicker method to review exam material than going over their own class notes. Second, students found the podcasts a more effective studying tool than reviewing the assigned text. Third, students were more receptive to a review podcast than to a review lecture. A fourth hypothesis - that students found it easier to relate to a lecturer in a podcast than one giving a live review lecture - was rejected. Taken collectively, the authors conclude that students believe that review podcasts enhance their learning process. These findings are consistent with earlier findings. One interesting research possibility that has emerged from this study is the chance that podcasts might be particularly efficacious for ESL and international students who might have difficulty comprehending a lecture with just a single exposure; the ability to replay a lecture or a review lecture might help these students even more than native language students.

Posted by baepl001 at May 25, 2010 10:23 PM