Making It Easy


Bright ideas that never were realized; stunning inventions that never left the drawing table, there are numerous ingenious projects that did not make it (1). Take the portable record player, the iron that could be tilted a little so it slides easily around shirt buttons, or even the hovercraft. They were designed and crafted to make life more easy, but never became handy. Fortunately there is no lack of bright ideas considering the popularity of Great Idea TV Shows (2). Unfortunate however is the failed attempt to create a solution to a recognized problem (referring to the examples above): listening to music everywhere, ironing soleplates that really are fit for ironing a shirt; and using air as a transportation medium. The world of education is no different. Numerous bright ideas (3) but hardly implemented successfully (and this is not because of sturdy management and strict school regulations). What to think of: making classroom walls of glass to create sense of openness; use of smartphones in the classroom as a learning device; or don’t require students to come to school. These examples may be a little too far off. But there are more appealing ideas that still, may be unexpectedly, are not working as they should. Luckily we have research that can prove their wrongdoing.

A study on use of podcasts in teaching has investigated the outcome effects on student learning. Podcasts are a popular device grabbed by educationalist to promote the digital world into the classroom. Podcasts are lecture video recordings to be studied afterwards by students to rehearse and go over the content of the lesson in their own way. Great idea. However, according to the study, it did not work, at least as far as the exams results are concerned. Pity for the idea.

Why is that? The idea was that the pace of the lesson is may be too fast and one-off for (some) students to get the gist. So when given a chance to reiteration it would make it easier for students to learn. Interesting detail is that female and Asian students made use of podcasts more often. There are many reasons why the idea did not work. For instance: it takes time to go over the lesson video recording again, better study instead. Or reviewing what has been taught does not necessarily help to understand better; questioning would be better. More importantly: offering lesson content easier does not necessary mean it is assimilated intelligently.

Adrienne E. Williams, Nancy M. Aguilar-Roca, Diane K. O’Dowd (2016) Lecture capture podcasts: differential student use and performance in a large introductory course . Education Tech Research Dev (2016) 64:1–12 By Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2015
DOI 10.1007/s11423-015-9406-5




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