oa Interim : Interdisciplinary Journal - Why podcasting in open higher distance learning?
Throughout history children have been taught by means of stories told by their parents, and for many centuries this was the primary method of transferring knowledge and information. As time progressed, we spent less and less time listening to stories, although to this day storytelling is still being used as an education methodology. People of our modern century are accustomed to receiving information in an audio format. It is natural for us to absorb information through an auditory medium, and since such information transfer takes place on such a personal level, we tend to form a personal relationship with radio presenters. They become like family members who visit every time one turns on the radio. Podcasting has grown over the past year and is seen as a major leap forward in mobile learning, or as we like to call it, "learning-on-the-go". The learner is able to download lectures or information to his or her iPod or any other MP3 player, and no matter where he is or what he is doing, he will be able to gain knowledge. Whether the learner is working out at the gym or driving a car, the lecturer is always there with him, allowing the learner to constantly absorb information as it is presented in an amazingly personal way. When lectures are presented in this way, it of course remains the learner's responsibility to absorb the information made available to him. The whole idea of self-regulated learning comes to the fore and learners actually take responsibility for what they learn and the pace at which they learn. Lecturers are advised to record their lectures and make them available online as an essential tool in the education process. Language lecturers in particular should use pod casting as the main feature of their courses. Providing learners with a podcast of information on the next face-to-face lecture and having them prepare according to what they have been told in the podcast will truly enhance learning in the lecture room and stimulate discussion. The main aim of all lecturers should be to have their learners prepare to such a degree that all face-to-face sessions become discussion sessions. The iPod and podcasting have changed the face of open higher distance education as we know it. All we need to do is jump aboard and make the most of the amazing opportunities this paradigm shift is offering.
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