1.1. Purpose and Context
Video has not killed the radio star. Not a bit. In fact, all we hear is radio ga-ga, radio blah-blah. I guess someone still loves you, Mr. Radio? Far from being the down trodden, long forgotten and ill fated vinyl record of the entertainment medium world, radio is booming and is expected to experience strong growth into 2015, when revenues will hit a mighty US $62.08 billion.
The industry has been experiencing a radical transformation with the advent of digital innovations, portable media devices and high speed broadband, with growth being the norm in most markets, in particular the developing markets of Asia-Pacific, with Latin America poised to score the highest gains.
So what has this got to do with learning? Well, it simply indicates an opportunity for learning professionals and the wider business community to capitalise on this growth by providing high quality audio products that meet the needs of the busy consumer. People spend more time than ever in their cars, more time on buses and trains and more time waiting in queues for their sushi at lunchtime. These moments are ripe for learning through podcasts and audio books, and it is this medium we explore in this project.
This project seeks to offer a bridge between traditional audio podcasting and eLearning through using a simple interactive element created in Articulate Engage. In this case, an additional 500 words of metadata including photos, backgrounds, explanations, definitions and links to websites have been rolled into the package. The questions is, using this application
"Can the podcast become more than a passive learning tool? Can it become a truly interactive and engaging experience?".
1.2. Instructional Problem
With the average American now spending over 18 months of their lives commuting, it's perhaps a good idea to look at ways in which to use this time productively. Mobile devices have come a long way, so it is now possible to be sending emails, viewing reports and responding to phone calls during this time, however as far as learning goes, the podcast or audio medium provides a perfect solution. In particular for those using the motor car who need to use their eyes for something other than video and emails. The point is not to exclude content featuring visual object, but to offer it as an option should the participants wish to avail themselves of it.
This project explores what can be done with rapid eLearning software to hold the attention and capture the imagination of commuters using voice, sound, images, and mouse driven interactive touch points.
2. Theoretical Approach
The project features the Engage software from Articulate. It incorporates:
- slide transitions
- Questions and Answers
- Voice over
This project has been developed in alignment with the research conducted by Richard Mayer (2003) and Roxanne Moreno (2007) whose work has highlighted concepts related to multimedia and learning modalities that point to the following principles:
1. Multimedia Principle: Retention is improved through words and pictures rather than through
words alone. In this case, we have included photos of the participants of the podcast to further connect the listener with the speakers.
2. Spatial Contiguity Principle: Students learn better when corresponding words and pictures
are presented near each other rather than far from each other on the page or screen. The advantage of the Engage software is that it does precisely this and then published to a self contained browser.
3. Temporal Contiguity Principle: Students learn better when corresponding words and
pictures are presented simultaneously rather than successively. Not only are they presented simultaneously, they are able to be accessed throughout the presentation on a volitional basis. So should the participant miss something or forget a name, they can have instant access.
4. Coherence Principle: Students learn better when extraneous words, pictures, and sounds are
excluded rather than included. One of the principles of better eLearning is the maxim "If in doubt, leave it out", or "If it doesn't add anything, take it out".
5. Modality Principle: Students learn better from animation and narration than from animation
and on-screen text. It is possible to animate functions using the Engage software, and this is useful to know.
6. Redundancy Principle: Students learn better when information is not represented in more
than one modality – redundancy interferes with learning. Again, the information presented int he form of text and images in no way duplicates the information presented in the podcast itself. It is there to enhance, engage and direct the listeners in an invitation to connect.
7. Direct Manipulation Principle: As the complexity of the materials increase, the impact of direct manipulation of the learning materials (animation, pacing) on transfer also increases. This principle directly relates to our ability within the software to pace, pause and play the podcast at will, in addition to walking through the questions and answers presented when we feel to.