Age Matters: Student Experiences with Audio Learning Guides in University-based Continuing Education

Lorraine Mercer, Birgit Pianosi


The primary objective of this research was to explore the experiences of undergraduate distance education students using sample audio versions (provided on compact disc) of the learning guides for their courses. The results of this study indicated that students responded positively to the opportunity to have word-for-word audio versions of their printed learning guides. Students found the audio guides functioned as a way to review course content. After careful review of the comments, the researchers found students want access to additional learning tools that elaborate on the written course content and connect them to traditional classroom lectures and discussions. Additional statistical analysis of the data collected in this study demonstrated a difference between traditional-age students (up to 25 years) and mature-age students (older than 25 years) in their response to the audio versions of the learning guides. More of the mature-age students found the audio version of their study guide to be helpful to their learning. The implications for the findings are numerous, including the need to review existing distance course offerings and incorporate additional audio and visual learning tools for undergraduate university students who are studying through distance education.

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