Instructional Design

Podcasts in eLearning

eLearning and podcasts

Have you ever used radio programs or audio CDs for learning? You cannot deny their popularity in all age groups. There is truly something mesmerizing about hearing a human voice, miles away, yet so clearly through the speakers or headphones. Audio podcasts are like radio programs, and can be used for learning.

In this article, we will discover the best scenarios that call for podcasts and best practices for producing them.

The TEDx podcasts have a million-count audience. This expresses the popularity and ease of access that such podcasts to the general public. Podcasts based on important seminars or long lectures are excellent media to share with your learners. They help create an authentic learning environment – something that is a challenge in the online world. Podcasts often record live lectures, including question and answer sessions that may also be useful to the learner. They offer cost-effective mediums to teach real-world and current topics, right through the experts and celebrities.

If you have access to paid podcasts through your institutions, your learners will enjoy the privilege and will be motivated to listen to the “exclusive” material. A debriefing session can follow in which a discussion to achieve learning objectives can facilitate learning.

The aim of effective eLearning design is to include it in the daily lives of the learners. Smartphones are the first and the last devices consulted for all kinds of productivity tasks. Sending out notifications to listen to a podcasts simplifies and aids the productivity-inclined individual. Podcasts can be heard any time of the day, at the convenience of the learner – at the gym, at the doctor’s office or on the bus.

It’s more economic to have experts talk about heir expertise than write it down in the form of text-based lessons. Podcasts are truly excellent when music and language are involved, but they may be difficult to produce if the subject is visual. The key to producing meaningful podcasts is to create factual and procedural information. So what are the best practices for creating podcasts for eLearning?

Better educational podcasts can be developed by keeping the following in mind when integrating into eLearning courses:

  • Rehearse and rehearse again before recording. Edit out mistakes and long pauses and sound of breaths. Include some written information or tips to put together longer segments together.
  • Repeat material that is important more than once or twice to make it memorable. Provide learning mnemonics and emphasize key points. Add URLs, names and other details on a web location that learners can find on their own later.
  • Keep your wording simple, coherent and easy to follow. Think about your learners listening to the podcast while driving! Limit each segment to 10 minutes and do not require anything to be jotted down.
  • Make the introduction and the conclusion brief. This is especially important for learners who listen to podcast series back to back.
  • Try to use familiar vocabulary. Any new terminology needs to be explained before using.
    Select music according to your audiences.
  • Make voices clear and pleasant by investing in a good microphone. Use audio editing software that automatically equalizes and normalizes voices. Speak in an upbeat and emotional voice. Try imagining audience while you speak.

Podcasting is still a hot trend, in general and in eLearning. But not all situations lend themselves to effective podcast use. Determine the best scenario for podcasting depending on the need for visual or descriptive content. Once you have the right equipment, podcasts are great time savers for you and your learners.

Since podcasts are easier and cheaper to develop, most people get carried away when recording. Remember, educational podcasts are very different from entertaining ones. By keeping these best strategies in mind you are on your way to producing great podcast content.


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