Individual Learning Plan

A shared interest in accessibility led my group to select podcasts as our learning technology as they are widely available, often free to listeners, and can be either streamed from or downloaded to most devices (e.g., laptop, tablet, smartphone); the only technology requirements are that listeners/learners must have access to a device and access to the internet, even if that access is periodic.  We further narrowed our selection to audio podcasts as they can be consumed in a wider variety of settings (e.g. on a run, through a car stereo while on a drive) and do not require the devoted attention that vodcasts can; the visuals in a vodcast can be integral to the full understanding of the content.

As the group was interested in beginning our critical inquiries with an academic podcast, we opted for a reputable publisher: University of Oxford.  We then selected a podcast and episode (i.e. learning event) based on group interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI), ultimately landing on the episode “Is AI good for our health?” on the podcast Futuremakers. The podcast explores the social and ethical impacts of the use of AI in healthcare, including implications for the public at large.

Specific Critical Issue & Rationale

The critical issue I have chosen is how podcasts affect student learning when assigned as a ‘primer’ for lectures (i.e. primer podcasts).   I chose this issue because I found early readings on this topic interesting and thought it would be a nice extension of my team’s exploration of academic podcasting.  I also see the opportunity to create a more interesting and effective learning experience in classrooms by using this simple, broadly available technology; benefiting all students, even those without the luxury of home internet access and computers.


To date, I have found few peer-reviewed secondary sources on the use of primer podcasts.  One such study, by Popova, Kirschner, and Joiner (2013), investigated the effect of primer podcasts designed with advance organizers and higher order questions on stimulating learning in the eyes of students.  However, as the authors engaged in “a full-cycle epistemic activity” (Popova, Kirschner, and Joiner, 2013 p. 331), coupling primer podcasts, review activity, and feedback, the contribution of the primer activities to learning stimulation cannot be isolated.  I will need to delve deeper and use creative search terms in order to get more targeted research on this topic.

In addition to pointed research, I intend to read more broadly on the use of podcasts in blended learning applications to gain a deeper understanding of the role podcasting can play in effective design, and how to avoid any pitfalls associated with its use.  To do this, I will continue to search the resources available through the Royal Roads University (RRU), use relevant sources from previous MALAT courses (specifically LRNT524), and read relevant chapters in open source textbooks on blended learning and design approach.  To date I have found several general eLearning and podcast-specific sources I expect will be of use.  For example, one article, titled The Impact of Podcasts in Education (Goldman, 2018), offers much to consider, including the risk that teachers and students will misuse podcasts, relying on them too heavily as a substitute for in-person lectures and other learning resources.  Another article involving a meta-analyses of eLearning research (Thalheimer, 2018) found that all learning effectiveness is dependent upon learning design: “What matters, in terms of learning effectiveness is NOT the learning modality…; it’s the learning methods that matter, including such factors as realistic practice, spaced repetitions, real-world contexts, and feedback. (p. 25)” This finding is of particular interest as podcasts are one avenue to support these factors in a blended environment.

Hopefully additional research will offer insight into the advantages and disadvantages of using podcasts as primers or learning tools more generally, as well as provide supporting evidence for their use or avoidance.  This approach will empower me to examine this issue with consideration to the use of technology, assumptions about technology, design approach, critique, and learning theories.

Critical Inquiry Research Log

In order to organize my thoughts as I conduct this research, I am keeping a reflective critical inquiry research log that I write in at least once per week. I will track the evolution of my ideas, any insights I have along the way, and any resulting changes in my thinking or direction.



Bauder, D., & Ender, K. (2016). Using Multimedia Solutions for Accessing the Curriculum Through a UDL Lens. 1134–1139.

Berlanger, Y. (2005) Duke university iPod first year experience final evaluation

Brookes, M. (2010). An evaluation of the impact of formative feedback podcasts on the student learning experience. Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism Education (Oxford Brookes University), 9(1), 53–64.

Chester, A., Buntine, A., Hammond, K., & Atkinson, L. (2011). Podcasting in Education: Student Attitudes, Behaviour and Self-Efficacy. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 14(2), 236–247.

Edirisingha, P., & Salmon, G. (2007). Pedagogical models for podcasts in higher education. figshare. Conference contribution.

Fang, W. (2019, December 24). Why Do People Listen to Podcasts in 2020? Retrieved from

Goldman, T. (2018). The impact of podcasts in education.  Santa Clara University. Advanced Writing: Pop Culture Intersections, 29. Available at:

Hew, K. F. (2009). Use of audio podcast in K-12 and higher education: A review of research topics and methodologies. Educational Technology Research and Development, 57(3), 333-357.

McLoughlin, C., & Lee, M. (2007). Listen and learn: A systematic review of the evidence that podcasting supports learning in higher education. In C. Montgomerie & J. Seale (Eds.), Proceedings of World Use of audio podcast in K-12 and higher education 355 123 Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2007 (pp. 1669–1677). Chesapeake, VA: AACE

Meyer, A., Rose, D.H., & Gordon, D. (2014). Universal design for learning: Theory and Practice. Wakefield, MA: CAST Professional Publishing.

Parson, V., Reddy, P., Wood, J., & Senior, C. (2009) Educating an iPod generation: undergraduate attitudes, experiences and understanding of vodcast and podcast use, Learning, Media and Technology, 34:3, 215-228, DOI: 10.1080/17439880903141497

Popova, A., Kirschner, P. A., & Joiner, R. (2014). Effects of primer podcasts on stimulating learning from lectures: how do students engage? British Journal of Educational Technology, 45(2), 330–339.

Pratt, S. (2019, January 30). 13 Predictions for Podcasting in 2019. Retrieved from

Thalheimer, W. (2017). Does elearning work? What the scientific research says! Available at


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