How to use a podcast in your eLearning strategy

Podcasts are experiencing unprecedented growth as a content medium in 2020 and represent great unexpressed potential for eLearning: in this article we will find how you can use a podcast within your distance learning strategy, to engage your audience and facilitate their learning process. 



The word podcast was born from “pod and “cast, referring to the used technology, broadcasting on a large scale, and the physical support that has been for a decade the exclusive access point to this service, the iPod by Apple Inc.. 

Podcasting became popular at the end of the Nineties in USA, thanks to the spread of fast Internet connection and the first portable mp3 players (like the iPod), that together allowed to listen to audio recordings – of radio shows at the beginning, original content afterwards – available online on demand

In the first two decades of the two-thousands, the podcast spread beyond the USA borders where it was born and out of the radio world, turning from technological phenomenon to a cultural phenomenon, since it allows everyone to democratically build their storytelling and make it accessible to potentially unlimited users



The introduction of podcasts in distance learning is quite recent and comes from the need, felt more and more by instructors, students and training managers, to build self-paced learning content. Podcast becomes, then, a new media for asynchronous training, which allows to take advantage of different modalities and enrich materials and activities, while keeping repeatability and freedom of access typical of self-paced learning.  

Compared to other media used for asynchronous training, such as texts or videos, podcast allows to access training in any circumstances, without the need to be sit in front of the computer or looking at the screen. Within the scope of longlife learning, then, having a tool to learn while doing other activities – like commuting to the office or even cooking dinner – further increases the number of chances for training.



Despite the podcast being a particular tool with its own characteristics, for it to be used in training you need to apply all the rules and tips given for other medias. 

First of all, it is fundamental for it not to be excessively long, but to deploy micro-learning structure to keep learners’ level attention high and allow them to devote their spare time to train. 

In addition, also in podcast it is crucial to put into action variety mechanisms not to bore who listen. This means inserting in the speech simple memory exercises or questions, and changing the tone of voice (or the speaker itself) during the episode. 



Which are the specific goals of having a podcast within your eLearning strategy? Let’s see some of them. 

  • Q&A

One way to deploy podcasts is to use them as a tool to clarify doubts and answer to students’ questions, instead of doing it in writing. This allows to build a more “human” relationship with the teacher, and also reach learners in different moments from the ones traditionally dedicated to training. In addition to that, some episodes can involve students directly, giving them the possibility to answer their peers’ questions and fostering social learning dynamics


If, as we explained in the articles regarding memory, converting information into audio has a specific value for memorisation, it is clear that using podcasts to revise a topic already discussed during lessons can help in the learning process. This way, you can take advantage of resuming the same information in different formats, strengthening neural connections and the ability to store knowledge in long-term memory


Another effective use of podcasts is connected to their own nature, which is particularly suitable for storytelling. Within a larger training strategy, then, this space can be used to share case studies or practical examples in relation to topics discussed in the lessons. This material are not very technical, therefore it is possible to listen to it even while doing something else. On the other side, it has the goal to motivate learners to follow the training process, giving them a real context of reference


Last but not least, a specific use of podcasts within an eLearning strategy can be related to employees’ engagement and in particular the spread of corporate culture. Taking advantage of the media’s informality, it is possible share experiences, interviews and “office stories” useful to engage users and motivate them, making them feel part of a community that share the same values. 


In this article we have tried to explain how and why you should insert podcasts within your eLearning program as a winning strategy. Do you want to know more about distance learning strategies? Listen to Quiddis podcast and read our following articles. 




Podcast Insights, Statistiche e fatti del podcast 2020
Treccani, Che cos’è un podcast?



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