Evidence of improvement in learners’ achievements, retention and progression
Homework assignments for flipped learning consist of either one or more videos, followed by a series of assessment question in the form of freestyle and multiple-choice responses, individually selected by the teacher; multiple-choice questions are marked automatically, allowing learners to self-assess instantly. Free written responses are marked by teachers and feedback given constructively, allowing teachers to mark and respond to learners’ work more efficiently, as well as reflect, track and monitor learners’ progress.
Learners who have used the tool as a flipped learning approach have found it beneficial in aiding their understanding when something new is being introduced or as means of consolidating any previous knowledge.
“GCSE pod gives you an idea of what the lesson is going to be about. This is good because it doesn’t make me look like I’m lost in the class.”
Completion of homework online had increased initially, but as learners progressed through the academic year, the number of completed assignments online decreased.
Some teachers assigned fewer pods as the year progressed; pods were initially used as an effective introductory tool, but it was believed they did not develop the higher order thinking skills necessary to develop learners’ confidence in enhancing their responses. Therefore, this impacted on the number of assignments created on GCSEpod.
For a minority of learners, engagement with GCSEpod, outside of the classroom, significantly improved performance; although not consistently across the case studies or active users. For many learners, their level of engagement with GCSEpod decreased, once they became familiar with the skills and assessment criteria required for GCSE English.
“Once I got an understanding…as an overview, I felt I didn’t really learn much.”
Learners felt the pods were relatively basic and did not develop higher order thinking skills.
Case Study 3 preferred the tutor’s own podcast, as he could engage with the tutor which felt more relatable and ‘adult-like’ in comparison to GCSEpod, which he felt was too monotone and ‘boring’. Furthermore, he felt the tutor’s podcast was much more in depth ‘showing you how to analyse language’ and went beyond the basic level of GCSEpod. He felt the podcast was aimed at a particular set of learners, who were familiar with the tutor’s teaching style.
Although the number of pods streamed and downloaded increased with learners using the GCSEPods to revise for the November exam, learners said they, ‘preferred to be taught in a classroom because they were able to ask questions’, allowing teachers to elaborate and stretch and challenge.
Both case studies 2 and 4 used GCSEpod for 6 weeks leading up the exam, both successfully achieved a grade 4 in the GCSE English November resit. Case study 2 started at Entry Level 3 and continued to progress over a three-year period. The learner passed his exam on his third attempt. Case study 4, had a positive impact on his learning and improved his self-confidence, he was able to gain instant feedback and identify areas of development, allowing him to reflect on his answers without having to wait for tutor feedback. Overall, he felt his skills had developed as he is now able to identify more technical aspects of language to meet the assessment criteria required for GCSE English.
For a minority of learners, GCSEpod allowed learners a greater sense of responsibility for their own learning, allowing them to set individual targets in order to focus on their weakest areas or skills, becoming more autonomous.
However, for learners where podcasts made a positive impact on development and engagement, podcasts are not the only factor having a positive impact on learning; more research is needed to fully explore the impact.