Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton June 9, 2022

Podcasting as project-based learning and its effect on the acquisition of linguistic and non-linguistic skills

  • Riccardo Amorati EMAIL logo , Elisabetta Ferrari and John Hajek


This study explores the effectiveness of podcasting as an approach to project-based and experiential learning implemented in an intermediate Italian studies unit at an Australian university. In the project, students are asked to write and record a podcast script on a topic related to their experience as university students or to events concerning Italian culture or the Italian community in Australia. The podcasts are then used in class as learning material and some are also made available to an Australian Italian language radio service. The findings of our mixed-method study on students’ evaluation of the project show that the activity is effective in helping students develop, reflect on and gain more confidence in their L2 skills (particularly pronunciation), and it also fosters the acquisition of non-linguistic skills, such as time management, problem solving, interpersonal abilities and autonomy. The results offer some important insights for future implementations of the project and further confirm the benefits of project-based experiential learning, and of podcasting specifically, as a learning tool in language teaching.

Corresponding author: Riccardo Amorati, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, E-mail:

Appendix 1: Participants

Questionnaire respondents

Demographic variables Answers Freq. %
Gender Male 5 20.8%
Female 18 75%
Other 1 4.2%
Age 18–25 21 87.5%
Over 25 3 12.5%
L1 L1 English 19 79.2%
Other L1 5 20.8%
Other languages spoken Yes 7 29.2%
No 17 70.8%
Concurrent language study Yes 2 8.2%
No 22 91.8%
Student classification Domestic 20 83.3%
International 4 16.7%
Degree Bachelor of Arts 10 41.8%
Bachelor of Science 7 29.2%
Bachelor of Biomedicine 1 4.2%
Bachelor of Commerce 1 4.2%
Bachelor of Design 1 4.2%
Bachelor of Music 2 8.3%
Other 2 8.3%
Year level of Italian subject First year 4 16.7%
Second year 20 83.4%
Year of completion of the subject 2018 13 54.2%
2019 11 45.8%
Total 24 100%

Interview participants

Interviewee Gender Degree Year of enrolment Status
INT-1 Female Arts 2018 Graduate Diploma in Languages
INT-2 Female Science 2018 Diploma in Languages
INT-3 Female Commerce 2018 Diploma in Languages
INT-4 Female Biomedicine 2019 Minor
INT-5 Male Arts 2019 Major
INT-6 Female Science (Psychology) 2019 Breadth (non-Arts enrolment)
INT-7 Female Arts 2018 Diploma in Languages

Appendix 2: Survey questions that elicited qualitative data and interview guidelines

Selected survey questions

  1. What new skills did you learn or develop? – (qualitative comments)

  2. What did you like the most about the podcast project? – (qualitative comments)

  3. Did you encounter any problems when carrying out the tasks? – (qualitative comments)

  4. Can you think of any benefits that the project had for you? – (open-ended question)

  5. Can you think of any negative aspects of this project? Do you have any suggestions regarding how it can be improved? – (open-ended question)

  6. Think about the experience of listening to the podcasts made by other groups after the recordings. Did you like it? How did it make you feel? – (open-ended question)

  7. Do you have any additional comments that you would like to make about any aspect of the project? – (open-ended question)

Interview guidelines (selected questions)

  1. What was your experience of the podcast project?

  2. What did you like/did you not like about the activity?

  3. Did you encounter any problems when working on the script/recording the podcast?

  4. Did the podcast project help you develop any skills?

  5. Can you think of any benefit that the project had for you?

  6. Can you think of any negative aspects of this project? Do you have any suggestions regarding how it can be improved?

  7. Think about the experience of listening to the podcasts made by other groups after the recordings. Did you like it? Why? Why not?

  8. Do you have any additional comments that you would like to make about any aspect of the project?


Abdulrahman, Tryanti, Nonny Basalama & Mohammad Rizky Widodo. 2018. The impact of podcasts on EFL students’ listening comprehension. International Journal of Language Education 2(2). 23–33. in Google Scholar

ABS. 2017. Data analysis of the 2016 census. Online database. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics. (accessed 4 May 2021).Search in Google Scholar

Beebe, Steven A. & John T. Masterson. 2003. Communicating in small groups. Boston: Pearson Education Inc.Search in Google Scholar

Bouvet, Eric, Daniela Cosmini-Rose, Maria Palaktsoglou & Vanzo Lynn. 2017. “Doing good” in Italian through student community engagement: Positive psychology approaches to the teaching and learning of Italian in Australia. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics 40(2). 159–175. in Google Scholar

Buck Institute of Education. 2021. What is PBL? (accessed 4 May 2021).Search in Google Scholar

Burke, Alison. 2011. Group work: How to use groups effectively. Journal of Effective Teaching 11(2). 87–95.Search in Google Scholar

Chafe, Wallace & Jane Danielewicz. 1987. Properties of spoken and written language. In Rosalind Horowitz & Jay Samuels (eds.), Comprehending oral and written language, 83–113. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.10.1163/9789004653436_007Search in Google Scholar

Cook, Guy. 2015. Birds out of dinosaurs: The death and life of applied linguistics. Applied Linguistics 36(4). 425–433. in Google Scholar

Dörnyei, Zoltán. 2001. Motivational strategies in the language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511667343Search in Google Scholar

Dörnyei, Zoltán & Ema Ushioda. 2011. Teaching and researching motivation. Harlow: Longman/Pearson.Search in Google Scholar

Ducate, Lara & Lara Lomicka. 2009. Podcasting: An effective tool for honing language students’ pronunciation? Language Learning & Technology 13(3). 66–86.Search in Google Scholar

Edirisingha, Palitha, Chiara Rizzi, Ming Nie & Libbi Rothwell. 2007. Podcasting to provide teaching and learning support for an undergraduate module on English language and communication. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education-TOJDE 8(3). 87–107.Search in Google Scholar

Efstratia, Douladeli. 2014. Experiential education through project-based earning. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 152(7). 1256–1260. in Google Scholar

Ferrari, Elisabetta, Riccardo Amorati & John Hajek. Teaching Italian through podcasting: Pedagogical rationale, implementation and student evaluation of the podcast project ‘Dagli inviati sul campus’, forthcoming.Search in Google Scholar

Gholami, Mojtaba & Mahboubeh Mohammadi. 2015. Podcast-mediated language learning: Levels of podcast integration and developing vocabulary knowledge. In Francesca Helm, Linda Bradley, Marta Guarda & Sylvie Thouësny (eds.), Critical CALL – proceedings of the 2015 EUROCALL conference, Padova, Italy, 210–214. Dublin: Research-Publishing.Net.10.14705/rpnet.2015.000335Search in Google Scholar

Gkonou, Christina, Jean-Marc Dewaele & Mark Daubney. 2017. New insights into language anxiety: Theory, research and educational implications. London: Multilingual Matters.10.21832/9781783097722Search in Google Scholar

Gromik, Nicholas. 2008. EFL learner use of podcasting resources: A pilot study. The JALT CALL Journal 4(2). 47–60.10.29140/jaltcall.v4n2.62Search in Google Scholar

Hasan, Masudul & Tan Bee Hoon. 2013. Podcast applications in language learning: A review of recent studies. English Language Teaching 6(2). 128–135. in Google Scholar

Jackson, Denise. 2015. Employability skill development in work-integrated learning: Barriers and best practice. Studies in Higher Education 40(2). 350–367. in Google Scholar

Kavaliauskienė, Galina & Lilija Anusienė. 2009. English for specific purposes: Podcasts for listening skills. Coactivity: Philology, Educology 17(2). 28–37.10.3846/1822-430X.2009.17.2.28-37Search in Google Scholar

Kolb, David. 1984. Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.Search in Google Scholar

Krauss, Jene & Suzie Boss. 2013. Thinking through projects. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.Search in Google Scholar

Lord, Gillian. 2008. Podcasting communities and second language pronunciation. Foreign Language Annals 41(2). 364–379. in Google Scholar

Mbah, Evelyn, Boniface M. Mbah, Modesta I. Iloene & George O. Iloene. 2013. Podcasts for learning English pronunciation in Igboland: Students’ experiences and expectations. In Linda Bradley & Sylvie Thouësny (eds.), 20 years of EUROCALL: Learning from the past, looking to the future, 183–187. Dublin: Research Publishing Net.10.14705/rpnet.2013.000158Search in Google Scholar

Moss, Donna & Carol Van Duzer. 1998. Project-based learning for adult English language learners. Washington: National Center for ESL Literacy Education.Search in Google Scholar

NamazianDost, Islam, Ghassem Bohloulzadeh & Rezvan Rahmatollahi. 2017. The effects of using podcasts on listening comprehension among Iranian pre-intermediate EFL learners. International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature 6(6). 57–70. in Google Scholar

Noels, Kimberley A., Pon Gordon & Richard Clément. 1996. Language, identity, and adjustment: The role of linguistic self-confidence in the acculturation process. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 15(3). 246–264. in Google Scholar

O’Leary, Zina. 2010. The essential guide to doing your research project. London: Sage.Search in Google Scholar

Parker, Jerry L. 2020. Students’ attitudes toward project-based learning in an intermediate Spanish course. International Journal of Curriculum and Instruction 12(1). 80–97.Search in Google Scholar

Purcell, Edward & Richard Suter. 1980. Predictors of pronunciation accuracy: A re-examination. Language Learning 30(2). 271–287. in Google Scholar

Rose, Heath. 2019. Dismantling the ivory tower in TESOL: A renewed call for teaching-informed research. TESOL Quarterly 53(3). 895–905. in Google Scholar

Samperi Mangan, Jacqueline. 2008. Podcasting and iPod in teaching and learning Italian language, culture and literature: A research study at Université de Montréal. In Emanuele Occhipinti (ed.), New approaches to teaching Italian language and culture: Case studies from an international perspective, 210–224. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.Search in Google Scholar

Schmidt, Johannes. 2008. Podcasting as a learning tool: German language and culture every day. Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German 41(2). 186–194. in Google Scholar

Stoller, Fredericka. 2006. Establishing a theoretical foundation for project-based learning in second and foreign language contexts. In Gulbahar H. Beckett & Paul Chamness Miller (eds.), Project-based second and foreign language education: Past, present, and future, 19–40. Greenwich: Information Age.Search in Google Scholar

Supe, Olga & Aivars Kaupuzs. 2015. The effectiveness of project-based learning in the acquisition of English as a foreign language. Society, Integration, Education. Proceedings of the International Scientific Disciplines 2. 210–218.10.17770/sie2015vol2.458Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2021-05-10
Accepted: 2021-10-01
Published Online: 2022-06-09
Published in Print: 2022-05-25

© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Downloaded on 1.3.2024 from
Scroll to top button