Innovative use of vodcast (Video-Podcast) to enrich learning experience in structures laboratory
Mann, P., Wong, D. T. W. and Park, K. S. (2009) Innovative use of vodcast (Video-Podcast) to enrich learning experience in structures laboratory. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on e-Learning, 2009, Toronto. Academic Publishing, Reading. ISBN 9781906638382 (CD-ROM)
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Students may have difficulty in understanding some of the complex concepts which they have been taught in the general areas of science and engineering. Whilst practical work such as a laboratory based examination of the performance of structures has an important role in knowledge construction this does have some limitations. Blended learning supports different learning styles, hence further benefits knowledge building. This research involves an empirical study of how vodcasts (video-podcasts) can be used to enrich learning experience in the structural properties of materials laboratory of an undergraduate course. Students were given the opportunity of downloading and viewing the vodcasts on the theory before and after the experimental work. It is the choice of the students when (before or after, before and after) and how many times they would like to view the vodcasts. In blended learning, the combination of face-to-face teaching, vodcasts, printed materials, practical experiments, writing reports and instructors’ feedbacks benefits different learning styles of the learners. For the preparation of the practical, the students were informed about the availability of the vodcasts prior to the practical session. After the practical work, students submitted an individual laboratory report for the assessment of the structures laboratory. The data collection consisted of a questionnaire completed by the students, follow-up semi-structured interviews and the practical reports submitted by them for assessment. The results from the questionnaire were analysed quantitatively, whilst the data from the assessment reports were analysed qualitatively. The analysis shows that most of the students who have not fully grasped the theory after the practical, managed to gain the required knowledge by viewing the vodcasts. According to their feedbacks, the students felt that they have control over how to use the material and to view it as many times as they wish. Some students who have understood the theory may choose to view it once or not at all. Their understanding was demonstrated by their explanations in their reports, and was illustrated by the approach they took to explicate the results of their experimental work. The research findings are valuable to instructors who design, develop and deliver different types of blended learning, and are beneficial to learners who try different blended approaches. Recommendations were made on the role of the innovative application of vodcasts in the knowledge construction for structures laboratory and to guide future work in this area of research.