I spend a lot of time driving. Each week, I travel miles up and down the country for client meetings, speaking opportunities or visiting our head office in Devon. Having access to podcasts really has transformed the way that I travel, and it’s thanks to all of this ‘downtime’ that I can proudly say – I love podcasts.
And, I’m not alone. According to Ofcom’s recent study, the number podcast listeners has doubled over the last 5 years, with nearly 6 million weekly listeners in the UK alone.
So, what is it about podcasts that has captured the attention of millions?
The intimate effect of podcasts has a big part to play. Like radio, listeners can be drawn into podcasts because of the relationship they build with the host - it really can feel like they’re speaking directly to you. But it’s the ‘on demand’ nature of podcasts that make them really special – and 70% of podcast listeners agree that it’s the availability at the point of need and the option of instant streaming that has really hooked them in.
Combine this with the fact that listening to podcasts is an engaging secondary activity you can partake in whilst doing something else (e.g. cooking, driving, walking) and you really do have the perfect way for listeners with an on-the-go busy lifestyle to engage with new and interesting content.
So, to sum it up, podcasts are a great way for listeners to tune into engaging content and learn something new while carrying on with their busy on-the-go lifestyle.
Now switch the word ‘listeners’ for ‘learners’ and we have something really appealing to learning professionals who are looking for new ways to reach their busy people with their digital learning offering.
From experience, adding podcasts to your blended learning mix can help you to engage your learners and support the transfer of learning to the workplace. Here’s a few of the ways leveraging the podcast love could really kick off your learning solutions:
Earlier, we touched on consumers valuing the ‘on demand’ nature of podcasts, and that they can be consumed while busy doing other things. This is really valuable for your learners who travel for work, have long commutes or spend a lot of time doing manual tasks. Podcasts could be seamlessly integrated into their everyday routine, helping your people to learn unobtrusively, while being more entertained during a potentially mundane activity. Podcasts really can help to create agile learning for your people.
A big chunk of the UK is already tuning into podcasts, and the fastest growing demographic are young people aged 15-24, with 1 in 5 listening to podcasts each week. Generation Z and a lot of millennials will already be used to consuming content through the medium of podcasts, so it makes sense for L&D to capitalise on this. By offering your people learning content in a format they are already frequently engaging with, it’s more likely to seamlessly integrate into their everyday lives. It’s also the perfect antidote to the age-old problem that your learners are ‘too busy to learn’.
Aids learning retention
Podcasts are a great tool L&D can use to drip feed learning after an initial programme has taken place. Reinforcing learning with follow-up bite-sized content such as podcasts can really help your learners to retain knowledge and transfer the learning to the workplace. Podcasts can also help you to transform heavily written text in articles, guides or even eLearning to a more digestible alternative for your learners.
These are just a few of my favourite ways that L&D could leverage podcasts as part of their digital learning offering. They really are a great way for learners to tune into engaging content and reinforce their learning, while carrying on with their busy on-the-go lifestyle.
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Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.