CPD One Interactive Podcast
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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?".
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.
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.
These principles support the project, apart perhaps from the seeming contradiction between principles one and six. This would seem to suggest that learning is disrupted and that the soundtrack to films and television should be taken out. I'm not sure about that.
The audio introduction (opening stinger) was composed, mixed and edited on Garageband. This was suggested to me last semester by David Keane as a remedy for my spending hundreds of dollars on istockaudio.com to add auditory interest to my eLearning projects. I am pleased with the results, as it sounds passably professional to my ears.
The voice over and podcast itself were subject to enhancement by Adobe Audition, and the CPDone logo was modified from an istockphoto image using Photoshop.
There is little question based on the research that the case for using multimedia enhancement in learning is clear. However, as work in the learning field evolves to more deeply include the learners themselves perhaps more important factors come to light. Recently, the work of Clark and Feldon, De Westelinck et al (2005) and Diemann and Keller (2006) suggests that the emotional state of learners, their motivation and needs, in addition to the type of learning task and the level of instructional scaffolding can influence the learning outcomes in a far more substantial way.
Clark, R.E. & Feldon, D.F. (2005). Five Common but Questionable Principles of Multimedia
Learning. In Mayer, R. (Ed.) Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge,
De Westelinck, K, Valcke, M., De Craene, B., & Kirschner, P. (2005). Multimedia learning in
social sciences: limitations of external graphical representations. Computers in Human Behavior.
21 (pp. 555-573).
Deimann, M. & Keller, J. (2006). Volitional Aspects of Multimedia Learning. Journal of
Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia. 15(2)137-158.
Mayer, R. E. (2003). Elements of a Science of e-Learning. Journal of Educational Computing
Research, 29(3), 297-313. McKay, E. (1999). An Investigation of Text-based Instructional Materials
Enhanced with Graphics. Educational Psychology, 19(3), 323-335.
Moreno, R., & Valdez, A. (2005). Cognitive load and learning effects of having students organize
pictures and words in multimedia environments: The role of student interactivity and feedback.
Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(3), 35-45.
Other potential applications
It is possible to greatly enhance the opportunity for genuinely creative eLearning assessment through the use of the Adobe Creative Suite. The Articulate tool is definitely limited in its ability to create bespoke solutions and the manner in which it generates the templates. It may be useful to explore how these and other tools many help create more dynamic, interactive and engaging learning solutions.
1. This project was limited in its scope to being created as an object for assessment, however with more time, resources and focus, it would be possible to integrate the podcast with Articulate Quizmaker. In this way, "chunks" of audio could be separated into 4-5 minute block, thereby giving the listener the opportunity to take in only that information necessary to address a certain quiz question or instructional problem. This would serve to keep the attention and focus clear from the outset, and balance the natural tendency of the mind to wander or check Google News or Facebook whilst the audio plays in the background.
2. From a business perspective, the options are quite inviting. Recently there has been a surge in audio and video based sales tools added to the one page sales letter style that has been the favourite of direct marketing "gurus" across the world for decades. By adding sales information about a product or service in this format, the participant would be able to listen to the author, speaker or vendor explain their offering via the audio, potentially watch the product performing as described on video and when they are ready, simply click the link to pay for the item - all within the one web based interaction.
3. With the availability of more time in development, it may be possible to incorporate many, many more interactive elements to the quiz, including hotspots, cartoon-like animations and dialogue between the characters to enhance the interactivity and immersive learning environment.
4. The level of interactivity could also be enhanced by requiring that the listener take some form of action if it is available to them, in "real time" along with the instructions given on the podcast. For example, they could create a podcast called, "Create Your Own Logo in 22 Minutes", and then provide step by step instructions within the Engage interaction, showing where to find the resources, the inspiration and the tools with which to create your own logo. This is just one example of how useful it is to be able to provide multimedia objects as an enhancement to a podcast or audiobook.
It is also possible to incorporate video sequences and restyle this project as a vodcast, with the accompanying images and text still available to them. Many appropriate videos and flash animations are available for a reasonable price on various sites such as istockphoto.com.
Podcast, podcasting, audio book, audio learning, instructional design, articulate engage, learning, elearning, mlearning