Dr Rachel Bromnick – School of Psychology – Associate Professor – Staff Profile
Psychology undergraduates have a vast array of career pathways open to them and can feel overwhelmed by all the different options. Thus, it is important to find effective ways to support these students with their career development learning. There is however, much debate and no consensus, about where to deliver such input, what or who should deliver it and when such initiatives should be introduced into the student journey.
Existing provision often results in a disappointingly low uptake and can be unpopular with students. This project attempted to seek a solution that put the where, what and when directly into the hands of the individual student, in order to enhance engagement and informed career decision making.
This initiative took an innovative approach to developing employability, through the creation and use of a resource of podcasts for psychology students. The pilot phase of the project involved the creation of ten bespoke employability podcasts in a series called ‘Talking Jobs’. The recordings aimed to be educational, yet delivered in an informal and fun way, to dispel the potential dissonance-based avoidance processes that can arise from this emotionally loaded issue. Students were both the co-creators, evaluators and the intended audience. All recordings are easily accessed on a popular on-line platform (YouTube). Having the recordings on YouTube has meant they can be promoted not only to current students but also to prospective students, who often have questions about careers, as well as with our alumni.
Funding was obtained from LINCOLN HIGHER EDUCATION RESEARCH AWARDS (LHERA) to support the development of the project. The podcasts were embedded into the School of Psychology to complement rather than replace existing provision.
Outcomes and benefits
A group of 25 psychology students acted as alpha testers for the pilot series of recordings. They rated the podcasts highly and commented on the convenience of the resource
“This mode of delivery is very accessible at any time of day as well as being easy to come back to time and time again.”
They found the format engaging “The delivery of the podcasts is very relaxed compared to if the same information being expressed in a lecture hall” and they acknowledged that acknowledged that the resource could potentially suit students with dyslexia, as well as those who were commuters or carers.
“I like that’s its audio so some people who have dyslexia may find that way of taking in info much better than having to read through it all”
On the downside, although the recordings were relatively short (the pilot episodes ranged from 10.23 minutes to 21.45 minutes), YouTube analytics indicated that many listeners switch off before the end.
A further series of 15 podcasts were recorded in light of student feedback and engagement patterns. Recordings were suspended during the pandemic, but a third series is now being planned.
This project has been successful in creating and evaluating a new educational, sustainable resource.
The example podcasts can be accessed here – Talking Jobs | Dr Rachel Bromnick – YouTube