Listen up! Student-produced Podcasts are an Authentic Way to Assess Learning, and We Can Help!

Assigning podcasts as group projects can encourage collaborative discourse and reinforce the sociocognitive benefits of knowledge construction.
by LSA Learning & Teaching Technology Consultants

If you are considering an alternative assessment to the research paper or essay, assigning a student-produced podcast could be an excellent alternative. Both assignments require planning, research, and either writing the paper or the podcast script. The writing process requires students to create and articulate an argument, organize their ideas, and present and cite quality evidence. But one of the best aspects of creating a podcast is that students can share their own voice and personality and speak in a conversational way to an authentic audience of their peers. They develop verbal presentation skills as they work to sound engaging, tell succinct stories, and choose their words carefully. Podcasts also require editing and revising just like writing a paper. 

In addition to these benefits, assigning podcasts as group projects can encourage collaborative discourse and reinforce the sociocognitive benefits of knowledge construction (Lee, McLoughlin, & Chan, 2008). A 2022 study of undergraduate biological science students found that students working in pairs found the podcast assignment “fun, engaging, and refreshing.” Many cited a sense of pride in their achievements. For example, one student commented,  ‘Creating the podcast was so fun as we got to work with people we never would have otherwise, it felt so much more satisfying and I was really proud of what we produced’. Others commented on enhanced confidence following the task, for example, ‘It definitely allowed more creativity to complete, was much more enjoyable than writing an essay, and built my confidence in communicating effectively’, and ‘[podcasting] still requires high levels of competency and belief in oneself which I think this assignment helped me Improve’ (Wakefield, Pike & Amici-Dargan, 2022).

Before getting started, we encourage LSA instructors new to podcasting assignments to contact LSA Learning & Teaching for a consultation about the instructional design process, including available technologies and training. We can discuss assignment and rubric criteria, the components of a workflow document, and how to support students throughout the entire process. We want to minimize students' time on the technical aspects so they can focus on the learning outcomes.

Figure 1: Sample Podcast Workflow for Students

Below are three steps to help you get started.

  • Instructors should first consider the framework for designing podcast assignments, including assignment criteria, assessment/rubrics, general parameters, and sensible expectations. 
  • Second, instructors should specify the specific audience for the assignment. It is important for students to understand whether they are creating content for their peers, a general audience, or a group of professionals. Instructors must also determine where students will publish their podcasts and how the audience will access the podcasts and provide feedback. Podcasts can be posted in Canvas Discussions for peer-to-peer interaction or on another website such as Google Sites or Wordpress for an outside audience.
  • Third, instructors should design a step-by-step workflow with linked resources to guide students through the entire process. The workflow should be based on the assumption that the learner has never created a podcast, used editing software, or worked with audio files before. (However, students who are advanced users might establish their own workflow and select tools they are familiar with.) See figure 1 to view a sample podcast workflow.

Research suggests that podcasting has many transformative benefits to student learning if the assignment is well-designed and includes a clear workflow and technology support.

If you are interested in learning how to integrate a podcast assignment into your course, including designing the assignment and rubric and learning about the editing software available in LSA, schedule a consultation with the LSA Learning and Teaching Consultants, or send a request to



Lee, M., McLoughlin, C., & Chan, A. (2008). Talk the talk: Learner-generated podcasts as catalysts for knowledge creation. British Journal of Educational Technology. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing.

Wakefield, A., Pike, R., & Amici-Dargan, S. (2022). Learner-generated podcasts: an authentic and enjoyable assessment for students working in pairs. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education.

Release Date: 11/16/2023
Category: Learning & Teaching Consulting; Teaching Tips
Tags: Technology Services
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