Corporate Training & e-Learning Blog

Monday

Podcast Training - Huh?

Since the blog just above this one introduces podcasting, I thought I should talk to you about how podcasts can be used for online learning! The term "podcasting" is a portmanteau of the words iPod and broadcasting. Although an iPod is currently the playback device of choice for many early adopters of podcasting (and young people who have iPods), a portable music player is not required to take advantage of this method of content distribution. Podcasts are simply MP3 files that can be listened to from any digital audio player or computer. Check Wikipedia's (an awesome, free online encyclopedia!) definition of podcasting.

So instead of having to read new content on a computer screen, you can listen to the audio content on a portable device like an iPod as well as your computer. Steve Sloan of Edupodder.com has this to say: "[Podcasting] has been described as being like underground radio. Except this broadcasting technology is becoming available to everyday users. It does for time-based content, like audio and potentially video, what the web did for text publishing. It is the audio version of a blog!"

How then is podcasting - or how can it be - tied to online learning? Nobody yet knows; it's still in its infancy. However, we already know that podcasting is full of elearning possibilities. It seems that subscribing to audio feeds could have tons of elearning applications. Check out some of the interesting examples in this blog. Also, see what Edugagdet is saying, Edupodder.com, and the Edupodder Weblog!

Some examples of corporate training uses of podcasts include:
- Deliver missed lectures/training sessions
- Present a recorded interview as a case study
- Deliver "take-them-with-you" audio files, provided to training attendees on CD or via email

Feel like trying podcasting yourself but don't know where to begin? Are you interested in a super easy way to try, create and distribute podcasts? Here's a description of a new product called Odeo (pronounced like rodeo). Steve Sloan of Edupodder feels "This is huge for education!" Also, here is a direct link to the Odeo product blog. Finally, here is a February 2005 New York Times article about Odeo. I have to admit that I have not yet tried Odeo myself, but it sure does look simple!

In a couple of years we should see more convergence between PDA users (yes, I have a Blackberry) wanting MP3 features (that would be cool), and that's when podcasting will become more realistic for corporate training. Since iPods are used mostly by young people (each of our three sons has one, but my husband and I do not), adult listeners can burn podcasts to CDs for listening on the road. Or borrow their children's iPods (hah!).

What intrigues me the most about the inevitable merging together of podcasting and elearning is the portability angle. Most any web-based learning management system has some built-in way to handle audio files to be listened to on your PC. It's the idea of letting an online learner escape from sitting at a desk or dragging around a laptop that makes my wheels turn... We live in very exciting times!

8 Comments:

  • i like your explanation on pocasting, i was searching the web last week for an explanation, and you have given me the answer!

    Although pocasting would be great, i think using Mp3 files, such as an ipod and Mp3, would really distract some learners. I for one, a uni student, would not want to use my ipod as a learning tool...
    the saying "never mix business with pleasure" .... is my theory!

    By Anonymous Simone, at 6:02 AM EDT  

  • sorry, i gave you the wrong web address. this is the correct one

    By Anonymous simone, at 6:14 AM EDT  

  • Hi Kathleen,

    As it seems I am the second person that has hit your post on podcasting. And it just so happens that Simone (the blogger that made her comment previously) is from the same uni doing the same course. I think the whole introduction of podcasting is a great idea..it would especially be helpful and useful for those learners who are rather than the ordinary read/write learner approach that most teachers and or organisations take. Although most currrently the update in multimedia has enabled e-learning technologies to elevate to the next level.

    By Anonymous Linda, at 3:36 PM EDT  

  • We have a mobile workforce and it can be tricky to get them to sit down and dedicate several hours to training when they are behind on paper work, have calls to make, etc. Podcasting might be able to help us get our current infomation out to the masses a little easier.

    By Anonymous Paul D., at 4:01 PM EST  

  • I recently discovered Podcasting myself and how it can apply to training Network Marketing associates, not to mention prospects. As they see what kind of added support they get from Podcasts, it makes taking the leap of faith a lot less intimidating.

    By Blogger Warren Contreras, at 7:02 PM EST  

  • Hi Jenna,

    I'm just getting started subscribing to podcasts and I am excited by what I hope to learn, but I disagree about the extent of the benefits of podcasting on corporate training. Corporate trainings usually have a fixed agenda. No new information is usually given over long periods of time. It would be better just to have a link on the corporate training website that says "order a copy of these lectures on CD." The podcasts of today that set out to teach a fixed subject will become the audio library of tomorrow that doesn't require podcast technology. On the positive side, all the excitement over podcasting is generating a lot of good content that probably wouldn't have been generated otherwise.

    I think the true power of podcasting is as a communication devise. In the corporate setting, I would want to see podcasts by upper management and business drivers pushing their vision down on employees through regular podcasts. Using podcasting to transmit case-studies throughout the organization also would build up the organizations self-awareness and transmit best-practices. When products or services get updated, I think this would be a great tool to push new information into the minds of people who need to know the latest technical updates such as the sales staff or help desk. It may also be a great way for the organizational peons(such as myself) to push ideas and information up to the busy executives. Think of it like "The CEO's answering machine" where they can stay in touch with the people that put them there.

    As an engineer, I would define podcasting as distributing audio information over a period of time. Other uses of the "distributed over time" aspect could be to syncronize the pace of learning when collaboration is required between: other students, the teacher, other study mediums such as homework or tests, etc.

    Thanks for the interesting article. It would be very interesting if podcasting did make its way into corporate america, and I definitely think that post-adoption, it would also be a great way to spoon-feed the organization relevant training lectures.

    By Anonymous Jon Parish, at 2:40 PM EDT  

  • Like your post and I think Charlene Li (Forrester analyst) would agree with you. However, podcasting doesn't work for eLearning when there are slides involved. Reduces mobility, which is a great advantage of podcasts. We just did an ITIL certification series on TalkBMC, and that has been quite successful. It was our first attempt at applying podcasting to eLearning.

    By Blogger Ynema Mangum, at 10:19 AM EDT  

  • Like your post and I think Charlene Li (Forrester analyst) would agree with you. However, podcasting doesn't work for eLearning when there are slides involved. Reduces mobility, which is a great advantage of podcasts. We just did an ITIL certification series on TalkBMC, and that has been quite successful. It was our first attempt at applying podcasting to eLearning.

    By Blogger Ynema Mangum, at 10:19 AM EDT  

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