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5 Ways Podcasts Can Answer Your Online Training Woes

Do you think videos are the only way to overcome written words and engage learners in an immersive web? Well, not anymore! In an ever-changing digital era where time is the new currency, you must be perpetually under the pressure to take advantage of every single second for training in your organization. As a result, it’s the evolution of podcasts in online training and the rise of spoken voice which has taken the center stage in eLearning to address training woes. Though podcasts in eLearning can be audio- or video-based, we’ll restrict ourselves to discussing audio podcasts in this post.

Why Choose Podcasts for Online Training?

It was Apple who first added podcasts to iTunes in 2005. However, it is of late that the world has been witnessing the innovative use of voice and podcasts. I am sure you would agree when I say the adult learning community tends to put strong focus on innovation – how we can hold learners’ attention and “wow” them with in online training. While technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are much-talked about trends, these technologies come with considerable expenditure or else the necessary resources for development are not readily available.

Well, if this applies to your organization as well, then let me introduce you to podcasts: a hassle-free digital learning asset you can probably get started with today! Here are some from the slew of benefits podcasts have to offer for your online training framework.

  • Inexpensive: Need not rely on the budget game since all you need is a microphone and easily-available audio-editing software that can even be accessed for free.
  • Easy to Produce: Developing a podcast doesn’t require a high degree of skill or specialization since the content is the hero here. Not to forget, the development time is much lesser than other online learning assets such as videos.
  • Easy to Disseminate: Podcasts are light in size and hence easy to distribute. Your learners can access them on literally any device, be it desktops, tablets, smartphones or even iPods for that matter.

Now the question is, how you can utilize this effective digital learning asset for eLearning in your organization. Here are 5 ways how podcasts can answer your online training woes!

5 Ways Podcasts Can be Used in Online Training 

1. Use it as a Worthy Alternative to Video

While there is no denying that video podcasts and videos in online training are one of the most effective ways of learning, they have their flip side as well. What can impact you most? Higher training budget and longer development time.

Using videos in your online training can be expensive since you need to shell additional budget on scripting, editing, and the creation of videos. You might require experienced videographers in case you want high-end versions such as 3D videos which come with a considerable price tag. However, all that is required for a podcast is a microphone, a pair of headset, and audio-editing software which are cost-effective as opposed to video-editors.

Much like how videos are favored for demonstrations, podcasts offer a variety of options for content presentation.

  • Training sessions or lectures by instructors, subject matter experts, and senior official can be recorded and disseminated or can be edited and repurposed as short-modules for easy consumption. These podcasts can be later put to use for refreshing knowledge or even given to learners who did not attend the same.
  • Podcasts can be created to introduce learners to new concepts or explain procedures. These need not be long, lest learners lose interest. One podcast can explain one concept and include examples to make it more intriguing.
  • Classroom Q&A or FAQ sessions can be recorded to provide responses to questions that your learners had or maybe the ones you anticipate. These podcasts can be really effective as just-in-time eLearning resources.
  • Additionally, podcasts in online training can be leveraged for new-hire training as part of the orientation program as well as for up-skilling.

2. Leverage Before, During, and After eLearning

Podcasts being a versatile digital learning medium can be put to use for a complete learning experience, be it before, during, or after eLearning.

Before: Much like how you use video teasers before the actual eLearning course, podcasts can also be used to invoke curiosity and motivate learners for the forthcoming course. You can even pose questions at different points in the podcast and interact with learners at a cognitive level. This allows learners to check their existing knowledge and analyze where they need to focus on. 

During: Have you heard of spaced learning and repetition in online training? Well, according to the principle of spaced learning, information can be easily learned if it is in short-nuggets and repeated many times. This reduces the loss of knowledge as well as enhances retention. Also, it is imperative to present the information using different methods for throughout. This is where podcasts fit in the frame.

Podcasts can be used like any other method to introduce, explain, or even summarize the learning for quick takeaways. Needless to say, podcasts present an alternative to large portions of written content. Additionally, you can even embed podcasts as additional learning resources for those who want to gain in-depth knowledge about a specific topic. Why not be a little creative and move over from PDFs and documents to using podcasts?

After: Podcasts also serve as effective refreshers once the training is long done. Podcasts can be made available for accessing whenever you think learners need to. Also, you can utilize podcasts to keep your employees updated about the recent market and industry trends.

3. Create an Immersive eLearning Experience with Narrative Podcasts

In case you think conversational podcasts are not as effective in holding learners’ attention, consider using narrative podcast for online training. As the name suggests, narrative podcasts are story-driven audio recordings that lead to a more engaging learning experience. How are they different?

  • Unlike conventional podcasts which might be recordings of lectures, Q&A sessions etc., (where one person or a group is conversing), narrative podcasts intertwine a number of recordings, interviews, or sounds to offer a more complete and immersive listening experience.
  • Narrative podcasts rely more on production effects such as sound, use of music, and storytelling techniques such as scene setting, characters, cliffhangers. Podcasts can even be made episodic. Episodes built on one another give listeners a reason to keep downloading the content or streaming.
  • You can even devise narrative podcasts to be fictional (perceived situation) or non-fictional (real-life situation). However, at their core, both enable learners to learn by presenting concepts as an immersive eLearning experience – allowing learners to get involved in what they are listening.

4. Foster Anytime, Anywhere Learning

Podcasts facilitate learning beyond the confines of desktop-and-classroom, enabling learning anytime, anywhere. Hence, leveraging this digital learning asset is a win-win-situation for both learners and your organization.

  • The unique strength of podcasts is their asynchronous portability and hands-free nature. Learners can download them for accessing later while commuting to work, even without an Internet connection.
  • While your learners might be hesitant to download a video, they will be willing to download a podcast since it takes lesser space on their devices.

5. Encourage Social and Collaborative Learning with User-generated Podcasts

Organizations have started to realize the growing importance of social and collaborative learning in online training, considering the ROI for social learning hitches at an impressive 75:1 over web-based learning. To put it simply, social learning is learning from others. How are podcasts competent in such a situation?

  • You can encourage learners to record their own experiences and share them with others, thus enlarging the knowledge circle. Learners can record using their smartphones and these podcasts can be hosted on your LMS for future reference.
  • Doing so, you can even track and analyze whether learners are participating actively, which podcasts are being listened to most, and more. This allows you to gage learning effectiveness and consequently upgrade your eLearning content to cater to the learning needs.
  • Also, using podcasts suits the learning methods preferred by Millennials. Since Millennials are born at the dawn of the digital era, they prefer learning assets which provide them the convenience of learning on-the-go such as on their smartphones. Podcasts are small in size and easy to download. Learners can even listen to them offline or online.

Using podcasts in online training is still in the nascent stage. Also, not all situations lend themselves to the effective use of this digital learning asset. Determine the best scenario for podcasting depending on the requirement of descriptive as well as visual content. Ensure the sound quality is optimal, interruptions are minimal, and content is properly structured before getting the final output.

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