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.
Appendix 1: Participants
|Other languages spoken||Yes||7||29.2%|
|Concurrent language study||Yes||2||8.2%|
|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%|
|Year level of Italian subject||First year||4||16.7%|
|Year of completion of the subject||2018||13||54.2%|
|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-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
What new skills did you learn or develop? – (qualitative comments)
What did you like the most about the podcast project? – (qualitative comments)
Did you encounter any problems when carrying out the tasks? – (qualitative comments)
Can you think of any benefits that the project had for you? – (open-ended question)
Can you think of any negative aspects of this project? Do you have any suggestions regarding how it can be improved? – (open-ended question)
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)
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)
What was your experience of the podcast project?
What did you like/did you not like about the activity?
Did you encounter any problems when working on the script/recording the podcast?
Did the podcast project help you develop any skills?
Can you think of any benefit that the project had for you?
Can you think of any negative aspects of this project? Do you have any suggestions regarding how it can be improved?
Think about the experience of listening to the podcasts made by other groups after the recordings. Did you like it? Why? Why not?
Do you have any additional comments that you would like to make about any aspect of the project?
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