How a podcast is getting students streaming back

Kylie Ridder and Dr Kimberley Beasley smiling at camera in podcast studio

When two education lecturers saw that students weren’t watching their lectures, they knew something had to change. So, they switched the format – and students came flooding back.

“Many of our students are working while studying, a lot are parents, and all are time poor,” Kylie Ridder, Early Childhood Lecturer at the School of Education said.

“So, when we noticed students weren’t accessing the online lectures, we reflected on their circumstances and explored what might work for them and how we could support their learning.”

The solution was to deliver part of their course in a format that worked for their students’ lives, and so the Exploring the Early Years with Kylie and Kim podcast was born.

“They can listen on their commute or when they’re running errands. It’s about supporting them to achieve and being responsive to what they need.”

They can listen on their commute or when they’re running errands. It’s about supporting them to achieve and being responsive to what they need.”
Kylie Ridder, Early Childhood Lecturer 

The podcast, hosted by Ms Ridder and fellow Early Childhood Lecturer Dr Kimberley Beasley, is a relaxed, professional conversation about the unit’s weekly topic.

It provides real-world context to the course material through discussions about what’s happening in the profession today.

“We hoped that it would support the students to feel like part of the conversation and feel more connected to us – and that’s exactly the feedback we’ve received,” Dr Beasley said.

“We share stories from our own practices and challenge each other on issues, which also conveys to students the importance of critical thinking and questioning.”

Their early childhood podcast also brings a new level of academic rigour to the medium. Each episode comes with detailed notes so that students can go back and check details and references.

Interestingly, the teaching innovation has also drawn in people who didn’t previously listen to podcasts.

One student commented that they’ve never liked podcasts, but listening to two passionate people talk about a university subject has been such an interesting and accessible way to learn.

Another student, Kara Pursell, says she was able to retain more as she was focused on what was being said.

“Having lectures in a podcast format has helped me as it means that I can just listen and I can be multi-tasking, or on the go, rather than me having to sit down and watch the slides for a lecture,” Pursell said

“I also feel as though there is less pressure on it, and it feels more like a conversation – I love to listen to Kylie and Kim talk about what they are passionate about.”

Callan Fazio echoed that sentiment, saying it felt more personal and that he took more away from the format than he would lectures.

“I feel as though my retention was better because sitting at a desk and in classroom settings, I feel it’s a bit harder for me to concentrate,” he said.

In this format I was able to listen and complete it in a different setting that was better suited for me to get the most out of it.”
Callan Fazio, student

While it has been really well received, the format and content aren’t static. Ms Ridder and Dr Beasley continue to evolve it to meet student needs.

“We know that not all students learn the same way so each year we reflect on feedback and adjust our content and delivery, like introducing a guest speaker this year,” Dr Beasley said.

“We also had feedback that while some students enjoyed being able to learn in a flexible environment through the podcast, they find visuals really important, so we started recording a few podcasts on video.

“Our goal is to include as many students as possible in the learning experience.”

Posted on:

28 May 2024

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