Better Learning with Sites and Sounds

Better Learning with Sites and Sounds (by Andy Guess from InsideHIgherEd)

One qualitative study ... found that students who create and edit documents using Web-based collaboration tools include more complex visual media in their assignments — and come away with a better understanding in the process. Another ongoing experiment finds, with statistical significance, that instructors can be more effective in grading students’ work if they record their comments directly into documents as audio.

Perhaps the first finding in this article sheds some light on the finding from the previous post in which the NSSE found that online learning resulted in "deep" learning. Using "more complex visual media," that is, leads to thinking about what one is learning in ways that offline learning doesn't. And using that media depends, in part, on how easy it is to use them.

The second finding is interesting, too, because it's not the same as giving them an audio file that is separate from the document. According to Ice, one of the researchers in the article, separating the audio file results in little additional learning. I'm guessing that having the audio play as you read focuses the listener more on those areas of writing that need work and why. To use this method, however, requires Adobe Acrobat Pro, about a $200 expenditure. (Students can read and listen with the free Acrobat Reader.) Still, read the Virtual Canuck's experience and enthusiasm for Marking with Voice Tools.