Podcasts are beneficial to language education in supplementing limited class hours and providing students with enjoyable opportunities to immerse themselves in the target language. This is especially true of the tertiary level EFL/ESL education in Japan, where students are not given enough learning hours to improve their communicative skills in English. The Institute for Foreign Language Research and Education has developed and delivered original audio EFL/ESL podcasting programs called “Hiroshima University's English Podcast" on the web and iTunes since 2008.
In this paper, a classroom practice is reported in which “Hiroshima University's English Podcast" was used for blended learning, combining in-class activities with self-study outside the class utilizing WBT. This practice was conducted for six weeks in two classes. Outside the class, students were requested to listen to the podcast episodes and work on the dictation on a “KED System" and WebCT. Video clips made from the audio episodes were put onto the KED System via YouTube. These clips provide visual information, like image and text, that facilitates listening comprehension. With the KED System, students can improve their listening skills through repeated dictation practice, after which they receive prompt feedback that allows the students to check their answers as often as they want. Part of the class hours were given to listening comprehension and summary activities based on the episodes they listened to on WBT. To assess the effectiveness of this practice, the results are analyzed and discussed based on students' questionnaire feedback on this learning experience.