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  • Writer's pictureArturo Leal

You can learn from a podcast.

Podcasts have been around for seventeen years and have become a big part of mass communication. It has become an accessible platform for people to express their thoughts and opinions to a community. Podcasts can also be used as a learning tool. In 2018 a group of researchers did a study on the use of podcasts as a tool to learn a second language.

They had the participants listen to podcasts in a language they were trying to learn. The podcasts varied in length, how many times the participants listened to each podcast, and some of the participants were given listening aids like transcripts of the podcasts and notes. The study used a repeated measure experimental design which is where they have all the participants in the study take each test with each variation of podcast listening. This is a great way to avoid changing the results with people who might pick up the language easier or are bad at taking tests. It helps remove some of the human elements in the test.

This method is a quantitative approach using the data taken from the tests to show how well they learned and how repetition has impacted their results. After taking their test the researchers sat down and interviewed the participants that did the best and the worst on their tests so they can get qualitative data to better understand why they performed the way they did. Having both qualitative and quantitative data complement each other very well because you get insight from the participants of how they think and feel with the numbers to back up your findings.

The study found that the listening aids helped the participants remember more and lowered the number of times they had to listen to the podcast. People remember more information when the episodes are roughly ten minutes because they don’t feel overwhelmed and don’t have the opportunity to lose interest. Their test results showed the shorter episodes had better results, but the posttest interview explained why.

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