Podcasts for Learning

Podcasts are a big deal for people who want to expand their educational horizons. Why are podcasts being used for lectures? Why do people who are looking to learn things like music theory for beginners going to the internet in order to try and learn it without having to spend too much on the process.

Critics of the phenomena state that it encourages students to skip classes (“I can listen to the lectures on my own time”), that it causes professors to become lazy (“recording podcasts means they don’t actually have to be in the lecture hall”), and that it takes up precious time that may have been used for further preparation or supplemental instruction . When the practice is fully and critically analyzed, the pros far outweigh the cons.

First, it allows for simple accessibility. Many Americans have access to the internet, even if it is through public means such as the public library, and podcasts are an easy way to disseminate information to lots of people.

Second, it allows for review and reinforcement for students. If there was a day where the topic was particularly confusing to a student, that student would be able to access the lecture so that they would be able to listen to it again, and attempt to comprehend what they had not the first time.

Third, and probably most importantly, it assists with distance education. This is probably the most obvious usage of this technology. Often times, online classes use message boards, class notes, and Power Point to disseminate information to students who may be all over the country. This provides a distinct disadvantage to those who learn better by listening than reading. By offering the option to podcast lectures, it allows those students to learn on the same plane as those who were learning in a satisfactory manner with the notes.