Published on 2012/02/15

Presenting Podcasts

In this series, instructional design guru Connie Malamed discusses a few innovative approaches to taking learning on the web—Screenr, podcasts and wikis. In this second interview in the series of three, we discuss podcasts—a way to deliver mobile, online education to auditory learners.

How would podcasts work in an office training environment?

For any readers who aren’t familiar with podcasts, I should explain that a podcast is a digital media recording, typically hosted by a podcaster. Podcasts are released online periodically. Most podcasts to date are audio, but they can also be video files

Podcasts can be played on a computer or any mobile device that plays .mp3 or .m4a files. Depending on the file format, this means they’re compatible with iPods, mp3 players and smart phones.

Because podcasts are generally in an audio format, the subject you choose to teach through podcasting should not require a visual component. A few examples of topics that could work in an audio-only delivery format are: orientation to an organization, sales skills, public speaking and listening skills.

There are many strategies for fulfilling a training requirement in the workplace. A training department could release a new lesson every week and build on what was previously learned. Ideally, learners would have an opportunity online or in person to discuss the podcast lesson and to ask questions. Podcasts are also ideal for replaying recordings of live presentations.

In terms of informal learning, employees should be supported and encouraged to listen to podcasts of their choosing, for professional development. iTunes is a good place to get started because of their large selection of podcasts.

What are a few major advantages to using podcasts?

The obvious advantage of podcasts is that they are portable and can be accessed on a person’s own schedule. An organization can distribute a podcast that people can listen to in their cars; while walking; doing errands; and at the gym.

Another advantage is that they are easy to produce. Anyone with a microphone and a way to digitize audio can create a podcast. This approach to learning can enable experts throughout your organization to share their skills and knowledge. Podcasts can be uploaded to a company website and easily downloaded.

Finally, the podcast format is familiar to many people. Many people are already listening to audio on their mp3 players and smart phones. Therefore, it’s not a big leap to start listening to a podcast for work.

What it all comes down to, is that podcasts are inexpensive to produce and convenient to access.

Please come back next week to read the last part of the interview, where we discuss wikis

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Readers Comments

Elle Peterson 2012/02/15 at 3:56 pm

Listening to training sessions at my desk or on the train to work….rather than taking 2 days off to sit in a stuffy classroom? Yes please. Right now please.

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