The effect of podcast tasks on students' engagement and performance in a beginning level Japanese language course

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Masafumi Takeda (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Meagan Karvonen

Abstract: As the growing popularity of podcasting and its application in education become more apparent, there have been a number of studies on the academic use of podcasts. A podcast is a digital file that can be delivered automatically to a device such as a portable media player or a computer via the Internet. However, the majority of research studied the use of instructor-generated podcasts for reviewing materials and supplemental materials. Little research has focused on learner-generated podcasts as a learning tool. Only a few studies investigated how podcast production could contribute to students learning, and these previous studies were not theory-based. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of podcast tasks (PTs) on students’ engagement and performance in a beginning level Japanese course. This study utilized student production of a series of PTs of vocabulary and grammar, as a treatment, and assigned three groups: Early Semester (ES), Late Semester (LS), and Entire Semester (ENT). ES worked on the PTs during the first half of the semester. LS worked on the PTs during the last half of the semester. ENT worked on the PTs for an entire semester. The study investigated differences in students’ engagement and performance based on treatment conditions. Student engagement was defined as motivation and self-regulation in this study. A student engagement survey, adapted items from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ), was used to collect data. The students’ performance was assessed by two sets of pre-tests and post-tests for their literacy skills including the comprehension of written Japanese grammar and vocabulary. The study also examined differences in students’ engagement and performance in a high achieving (HA) group and a low achieving (LA) group determined by their Grade Point Average (GPA). Though more than 60% of participants expressed that they enjoyed working on podcasts and would not mind using them as a learning tool, working on PTs did not make a statistically significant difference on students’ engagement or performance. LS had the highest mean motivation and selfregulation score, but that score was probably due to the effect of outliers in this small group. ENT scored the lowest on both the motivation and the self-regulation scales. The result of the Japanese language tests indicated that all groups made statistically significant gains on both post-tests, but the gains on the first test were statistically significantly higher than the gains on the second test. There was no statistical difference among the three groups in their gains. Among HA and LA, the sample cell size was too small to determine if there was any statistically significant difference although HA outperformed LA. Recommendations for future research include replication of the study with a much larger sample size, use of video podcast (vodcast) as a task instead of enhanced podcast and multiple administrations of a students’ engagement survey instead of one time at the end. Recommendations for future practice include application of learner digital media production into students’ learning process and environment.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Japanese, Podcast
Japanese language -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- North Carolina -- Computer-assisted instruction -- Case studies
Podcasts -- North Carolina -- Case studies
Educational technology -- North Carolina -- Case studies
Student-centered learning -- North Carolina -- Case studies

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