Up-to-date content Subscribers have access to podcasts as soon as they are made available. For example, students can subscribe to a podcast and have the content delivered automatically to their media player, thereby allowing time and place shifted access to the content.
Multiple intelligences and learning styles In 1983 Howard Gardner developed the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, which basically categorizes the way people learn into eight categories: musical, rhythmic, spatial, mathematical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and natural. This theory has been used as the foundation in the design behind instructional and curricular content. This theory provides instructors with specific indicators and their corresponding strategies to best serve students who show one or more of the intelligences.
Along with the theory of multiple intelligences go the learning styles; learning styles refer to the ways people learn, which then are categorized in three areas: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Visual learners are the type of learners, which need to see the teacher's body language and facial expression to fully understand the information that is conveyed. These types of learners learn best from visual displays including: diagrams, illustrated textbooks, overhead transparencies, videos, flipcharts and handouts. Auditory learners learn best through verbal lectures, discussions, talking things through and listening to what others have to say. Written information may have little meaning until it is heard. Auditory learners often benefit from reading text aloud, listening to audio books, listening to music and using a tape recorder to record narrations or lectures. Tactile or kinesthetic learners are persons which, learn best through a hands-on approach, moving, doing and touching. These learners are very active in exploring the physical world around them.
Podcasts are attractive to learners because of the fact that they can learn at their own pace, they can listen to the audio or video object as many times as they want to, they can rely on time shifting to attend classes as well as to learn. With all this said, podcasting technology is of particular use to auditory and visual learners. It serves auditory learners who have shown musical and verbal intelligence, thus allowing them to retain up to 90% of the information received.
In a similar vein, it is believed that podcasts can influence the level of interaction within a class. In an online course, podcasts can trigger discussion around the audio or video object, or it could be that searching skills can be developed or enhanced.
Anytime, anywhere delivery of instructional content The main attribute of podcasting relates to the independence the learner might have as a result of a course enhanced with audio or video files that can make the learning experience a portable one.
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