Third International Conference on the Teaching of Psychology
Hannah Barton,
Philip Penny,
Mark Riordan,
Institute of Art, Design and Technology,

Presentation (ppt)


This paper introduces a cost effective simple way to combine pedagogical and technological innovations to enable students to fully engage with the core readings in a third year social psychology module. This module, which emphasizes group dynamics and teamwork, is currently being taught in the Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dublin, Ireland. The ubiquity of MP3 players among students is exploited in a pilot study to access the learning content of student-constructed summaries of key readings while on the go.

This innovative method of teaching social psychology uses collaborative student groups and podcasts which are created by the students themselves. This active learning experience divides students into small, continuing, cohesive groups of between 5 and 7 students who design their own supplemental summaries from the readings during the class. These summaries enable the students to be the architects of their own knowledge of the course material. These student-developed summaries are then made by each student group into short 10-minute audio podcasts, which are readily accessible to the whole class and to anyone with a MP3 player through the VLE Blackboard. These are then used for revision purposes for a MCQ assessment. Student reactions and responses to the group task including number of downloads and a reflective critique of the process was evaluated using a qualitative questionnaire.

The benefits of enabling students to be the creators of their own knowledge compared to the traditional lecture format includes increased cooperation among group members while creating the summaries, allowed students to manage their own learning and catered for the diverse learning styles of the students by allowing the material to be available in a multi sensory format. Students reported better understanding and retention of the course material. Higher motivation in coming to class was also reported, as there was a “fun” element to the creation of the podcasts. Student perceptions also focused on the increased feelings of self-efficacy and confidence of the students when completing the MCQ.

Initial conclusions are that all students but especially those with dyslexia benefited from the mobile learning experience. The creative way of developing the summary podcasts by the students for themselves had other positive effects of making the experience a fun and sociable one, which aided in student motivation and retention. The fact that the summaries of each group could be used and accessed by other groups seemed to add a competitive element to the activity with fewer cases of social loafing being reported. The groups also reported having greater communication and cooperation between group members in terms of peer-to-peer teaching when creating the summaries. This collaborative production of the summaries by the student groups ensured that the course material became meaningful to the students which made it easier to understand and more relevant to them. Empowering the students to create the podcasts added a creative element to the activity, which really engaged the students and it was this novel element that was most favorably rated by the students in the questionnaire.

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