How Podcasts Can Make Your Students Better Researchers
Who said that radio is dead? Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular throughout the world. In the US, for example, the consumption of podcasts rose by 23% between 2015 and 2016, while in 2017 it was found that around 67 million citizens listened to podcasts every month. Podcasts are available on all kinds of topics, and many of them will be relevant to the courses that you are teaching. Here’s why podcasts can make your students better researchers.
First of all, podcasts provide a new way of engaging with research. While all good researchers need to have high quality active reading and note taking skills, it is crucial to be able to develop other research skills at the same time. Active, attentive listening is one of these skills, and it can be honed by listening carefully to relevant podcasts.
Furthermore, too much focus on one type of research (for example, reading articles and taking notes on them) can lead to a kind of fatigue whereby the researcher’s attention span begins to waver. As a result, they will imbibe less information and research less effectively. Varying the research method – for instance, spending an hour or two reading a book and then switching to a podcast – can help to keep the mind fresh. As a result, students will research more attentively and effectively, maximizing the amount of information that they take in.
Podcasts are also a great way for researchers to get up to date with the latest international research, free of charge. Though they may not be able to jet all over the world in order to attend lectures from top speakers in their field, they certainly can switch on a podcast of that lecture and get all of the same information. Podcasts are thus a great tool for the democratization of learning, and for opening out education and research beyond the usual geographically defined cliques.
Podcasts also enable students to research at times when other types of research are not feasible. For example, when they are on the bus or sitting on a plane, students cannot always effectively read a book or engage with archival material but they can educate themselves by listening to a podcast. With a few podcasts stored on their phone and ready to go, students can turn that ‘dead’ time as they wait for a bus or sit having lunch alone in a cafe into active research time.