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Interactive radio for education

21 April 2009

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EDC's new publication Tuned In to Student Success: Assessing the Impact of Interactive Radio Instruction for the Hardest to Reach highlights the use of interactive radio in improving educational quality in conventional classrooms and promoting active learning among non-school goers.

Tuned In to Student Success: Assessing the Impact of Interactive Radio Instruction for the Hardest to reach

Authors: Jennifer Ho and Hetal Thukral

Publisher: Education Development Center (EDC), February 2009

Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) is an instructional tool designed to deliver active learning by radio. It delivers daily 30-minute radio broadcasts that promote active learning and are designed to improve educational quality and teaching practices in schools and to deliver a complete basic education to learners not in school.

Cover page of EDC report on IRI
Image credits: EDC / Cover page of the report

Data gathered between 1975 and 2000 demonstrated that Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) had improved learning outcomes in conventional classrooms by between 10% and 20% when compared with control classrooms not using IRI.

IRI is an effective delivery mechanism for in-service professional development, as teachers are able to actively employ improved instructional techniques in the classroom while undergoing radio-based training. Teachers not only demonstrated a better understanding of pedagogical concepts emphasised by broadcasts, but more frequently utilised active learning and student-centered techniques in lessons independent of radio guidance.

The manual looks into the aspects of learning outcomes by subject, on the impact of IRI on pre-primary and early childhood learning outcomes, radio-based in-service professional development for primary school teachers.

The document has been broadly organised in the following sections:

- Student learning outcomes by subject area

- Student learning outcomes in early childhood education

- Teacher professional development observation outcomes

- Student learning outcomes with marginalised populations

Citing examples from various countries the manual highlights the impact of IRI on the learning outcomes of four key marginalised groups: girls, orphans and vulnerable children, learners in fragile states, and those in rural areas.

A review of the learning outcomes of various countries brought to light some of the successful, and not-so-successful, IRI experiences. Key findings of the research revealed that without adequate information on student attendance, quality of teacher training and consistency of teacher attendance, it was impossible to draw definitive conclusions regarding the marginal impact of IRI on student learning.

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