Twenty-first century students are expected to utilise emerging technologies such as lecture podcasts as learning tools. This research explored the uptake of podcasts by undergraduate students enrolled in two very different cognitively challenging subjects in the second year of the nursing programme and in the first year of a business programme. Regardless of the semester, the different content being studied and the statistically significant demographic differences between the nursing and business cohorts, striking behavioural similarities emerged. Students from both cohorts in each semester under investigation spent similar amounts of time studying regardless of gender, age, Internet access and time spent on paid work. The patterns of podcast usage by responding nursing and business students were not significantly different. Non-listeners in both cohorts did not differ significantly from podcast users (listeners) either demographically or with regard to personal access to computers, the Internet and MP3/4 players. Non-listeners utilised lecture notes, text resources and the learning management system in a similar way to listeners. The only significant difference was the longer hours spent in paid work by non-listeners.
These findings reinforce the emerging concept that podcasts are not embraced by everyone. Despite the flexibility and mobile learning opportunities afforded by podcasts, significant numbers of students prefer to learn in face-to-face environments and by reading and/or listening in set study environments.