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Are Podcasts The Most Underrated Format for L&D?


A person wearing headphones while holding a smartphone, listening to a podcast.A person wearing headphones while holding a smartphone, listening to a podcast

Podcasts have been around for a while, but in the last few years, we have seen them grow popular at a massive rate. There are 504.9 million podcast listeners globally and the number is said to increase further. People are tuning in to podcasts more and more because they're easy to access, and you can listen while doing other activities. The data and numbers show that people gravitate toward this medium, and the question is how it can be used for many L&D initiatives. Today, we will discuss how podcasts can be used for corporate training and their added benefits.


What are podcasts? 


A podcast is a digital audio file that can be listened to or downloaded online. The term "podcast" is a combination of the words "iPod" and "broadcast," as it was initially used to describe the process of downloading radio broadcasts from the internet and listening to them on an iPod through a program called ippoder.


Now, podcasts have grown way beyond merely being downloadable radio streams. Each of them is now an audio show and series created by the host, where listeners can download and hear them at any time.


There are podcasts for anything and everything these days, from “Self-Help”, “Thriller Stories”, “True Crime” and even on how to be a Good Gardner.


As podcasts are not regulated, you don’t need a license to broadcast them. Anyone with recording equipment and a head full of ideas can create and stream them for free.


The Rise of Podcasts in L&D


 Podcast logo surrounded by icons representing various topics like business, education, and technology

Learning and Development (L&D) departments across the globe are realizing the immense potential of podcasts. They can be used for initial training, product understanding, and more. 

Now, employees can receive training at a much lower cost than in-person training. L&D leaders should strive to provide workplace learning content through mediums that are easily accessible to everyone. 


Here are some popular L&D podcasts:

The popularity of these shows us two things - There is a growing demand for learning through audio tools like podcasts, and people seem to enjoy and prefer this method of learning.


Why has podcasting become a popular medium for learning?


There are three factors to why podcasts are popular right now.– accessibility, intimacy and convenience.


  1. Accessibility: If you have an internet connection, a smartphone, or a computer, you can access podcasts with little to no effort. Your employee now has fast access to learning content at the tip of their finger and can hear them and learn when their schedule allows.

  2. Intimacy: The conversational format of podcasts helps build a closer connection to the speaker or the organization. This is one of the reasons for higher engagement among learners, as they are more captivated, and their attention is entirely on the speaker. 

  3. Convenience: Podcasts offer a much-needed break from screen time. You don't have to strain your eyes to read and understand; you can rest your eyes and absorb the information. For auditory learners, the podcast format removes unnecessary visual distractions and helps to create a more productive learning experience.  

 

Time-saving benefits of podcasts for L&D


Everyone is looking for ways to maximize productivity and make the most of every moment. It takes great time management skills and tools for us to be productive. For modern life, where we have to constantly be in motion, learning through podcasts offers a wide range of benefits; let's go through them in detail.


Dedicating a chunk of your time to learning takes a lot of work. Our busy schedule rarely allows this. Podcasts help employees learn independently without having time to sit down and learn. Learners can pop in their earbuds and listen while on the go.


Because of easy access, you can create a very flexible learning schedule. It can be a 5-minute session during lunch break to an hour of listening during your workout.


Reduced time in training


In a traditional office setting, employee training can be a time-consuming process. Participants are required to attend presentations or workshops that can take up most of their day. 


Although training events have advantages, organizing and hosting them demands a lot of time and effort. Sometimes, training sessions can last for days, leading to reduced productivity. However, podcasts can be a viable solution to these problems. 

  • They condense the material into easily digestible forms.

  • The audible format makes it accessible anytime, anywhere.

  • Learners can learn at their own pace 


Everyone has their own pace and learning style, and the L&D department should ensure employees have different learning mediums available.


Continuous learning


Consistency is the key to learning, according to top educational researchers. Podcasts make it easy and convenient to learn anytime, anywhere without any friction, which makes continuous learning possible. Even if you only have 10 minutes to spare for learning, it's better than nothing because it keeps the learning cycle going. This is why Podcasts are a great addition to the microlearning arsenal.


Here are a few practices to set up a workplace podcast


Many Fortune 500 companies have started their internal podcasts and found that following these practices upfront will help minimize the risk of failing. 


  • Identify and have clear goals - The L&D team needs to identify and determine which training and materials are best suited for learning via podcasts.

  • Understand the audience - As the podcast will be made for the company employees, understand what they seek from the podcast and implement it according to their expectations.

  • Creating relevant content - No one will engage with the podcast if the quality is not up to the mark. They should feel they are getting benefits from it and that is helping their career. 

  • Creating episodes with top executives -  Hosting interview-style conversations with the founders, CEOs, and other top executives of a company in the podcast can help create more traction. 

Tools involved in creating a simple and minimal podcast 


  • Microphone - Nothing fancy is needed in the beginning, you can find cheap and good ones on Amazon.  

  • Recording and editing software - Audacity is a free and open-source recording and editing software. Adobe Audition is paid but is a more professional recording and editing software with many advanced features. 

  • Hosting platform - Anchor is a free podcast hosting platform that also offers distribution to major podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc. Libsyn is a popular paid hosting service with various pricing tiers based on storage and features.


Conclusion


Person jogging outdoors with earbuds in, listening to a podcast while staying active, highlighting the effectiveness of podcasts for learning while on the move

Podcasts are audio digital files that we can stream online or download. Podcasts have become increasingly popular in recent years, with a growing number of people tuning in to them. When used as a training and learning tool, it brings lots of advantages to both learners and organizations. 


The three primary reasons why podcasts are so popular among learners are accessibility, convenience, and intimacy. The most important reason why organizations should use podcasts in their L&D initiatives is that they save time. They allow flexible and continuous learning. 


To thrive, organizations need to keep up with the latest consumer trends and be willing to adopt new learning formats that go beyond traditional classroom or computer-based methods. Learners should be given a variety of learning mediums and learn them at their own pace.  

 


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