Just like there are countless ways of learning – There are many different types and styles of podcasts to choose from. And more get produced every single day. Marrying the two is both easy and difficult at the same time.
Podcasts are not only a great way to approach traditional learning but are an engaging way to pick up new skills and uncover new topics of interest.
Of course, there are times when a podcast doesn’t quite cut it. For example, when you require more of a visual understanding of certain subjects or when you need to be able to picture something in order to bring it to life. This is one reason why many podcasts support websites and social media channels. Listeners can use these visuals to aid them while listening.
Despite this, when it comes to contextual learning and developing an understanding of how different learning topics are integrated into the real world, podcasts are great.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of learning through podcasts;
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How is Learning Through Podcasts a good thing?
One of the immediate benefits of podcast learning is accessibility and portability. Podcasts can be listened to on-demand, on the go and when out and about. Allowing the user to immerse themselves in constant learning as they go about their everyday lives.
With podcasts now available through so many apps on smartphones such as iTunes being one, it has never been easier to access this changing world of learning opportunities. From learning a new language to finding out more about theories, phenomenon’s, and historical events, there is something for everyone.
Another great benefit of podcasts is that when it comes to learning, especially now rather than ever before, is the vast array of content producers and podcasters out there.
Podcasts are becoming an industry-standard just on their own. Many companies who focus on building up their social media following have even started to place podcast recording studios into their place of work. This is a serious industry to be involved with and has huge potential for growth.
Podcasts allow the presenter to add their own spin on popular topics and content ideas. What this means is that as a listener, you can choose who you want to listen to. This is personalised learning at its best.
From the long-winded explanations to the bitesize chunks of contextual understanding. The accessibility for new content producers and podcasters means that as listeners, we now have more choices than ever before. We can decide how we want to learn and who we want to learn from and with.
We can also learn from anywhere with an internet connection. Some exotic countries to work from include Mexico and Portugal. On the way to your dream destination, you can even learn from the economy class on the plane.
Some other benefits of podcast learning:
- The ability to pause, rewind, and play back content at different speeds.
- Learn at your own pace. Whether that means listening to a series of episodes in bulk or spreading learning across a series of sessions.
- You can listen to them over and over again until you fully understand the concept.
- Podcasts often input learning and education into real world scenarios. This provides more of a contextual understanding as presented by different people from different walks of life.
- Podcasts often create a sense of community. People are able to subscribe, and get more heavily involved in the decisions that the presenter makes about future content and future presentation methods.
- They’re (almost always) free!
The Challenges Presented with Learning Through Podcasts
As is always the case, with every productive effort, there comes a challenge. Podcasts are no different. The primary challenge that learners stumble upon when they learn through podcasts is that while the audio is portable and convenient, it does not allow the full immersion in a topic that traditional learning provides.
Sometimes you need that piece of paper or screen in front of you to fully absorb what you are learning, especially if the subject matter is complicated. I always use moleskin.
By merely stimulating the ears and teaching through audio, the lack of visual presentation can make podcasts difficult to relate to and engage with. Particularly for those who are visual learners.
As such, podcasts are often explored as a supplementary method of learning. Or as one tool which works alongside a series of supplementary resources to provide more of an overview for all learners.
Some people face language barriers with podcasts. The speaker may present in a different language or with an accent that you find difficult to understand, this immediately creates challenging obstacles to your learning. This is a rare occasion and it usually happens when the topic is so niche, no one else talks about it.
In the future, I’m sure there will be software available that automatically translates audio at the touch of a button just like google translate. But only time will tell.
Creativity allows us to advance as humans, so podcasts can only be a good thing, especially when learning is concerned.
Are podcasts a good way to learn?
Podcasts offer a creative way of immersing ourselves in certain topics. Primarily through the audio presentation. However, many podcasts offer and advertise supplementary resources such as worksheets and manuals. Taking notes while listening is also a great idea.
Accessibility and portability are just some of the benefits of listening to podcasts while giving the listener a wide variety of choices in both learning topics and presenter styles.
This means that podcasts are succeeding in making a huge array of topics more interesting and engaging to learn about. And that can only be seen as a positive.
I for one, like many people, believe that there’s not enough time in the day. Learning sometimes gets pushed back as a lower priority. Podcasts are a solution for this.
Podcasts offer a way for people of all ages to learn on the go and factor learning into their everyday lives. Whether that means listening to podcasts while they cook, clean, or go out for daily exercise.
There is such a wide selection of podcasts available at the touch of a button. The whole world is able to listen. Endless topics and subjects are able to be covered from the traditional to the downright bizarre.
Another alternative to traditional learning is learning face-to-face with an online teacher, classes are generally recorded so the student can replay what they learn.
If you are an educator and want to expand your practice into teaching from the comfort of your own home.