Is Podcasting a good microlearning solution? Yes, it is! Podcasts are the future as their popularity is continuing to rise, and people love them!
But how do we use podcasts for effective microlearning? How can we leverage their power?
The Story of the Podcast
A podcast might bring to mind yesteryear’s radio, but it has truly ushered in the second golden age of audio. Podcasts became increasingly popular after 2014 with ever-evolving laptops, mobile phones, apps, and many other technologies.
People of all ages around the world are now completely hooked on to the Internet. Their information seeking habits and preferences have risen exponentially, making podcasts a popular choice.
Benefits of Podcasting
Today, people are very busy and constantly on the move, trying to juggle too many things in very little time! Everyone wants information, but don’t always have time to search for it. Grabbing a book or watching a video is no longer interesting.
Podcasts in a microlearning format fit into this sweet spot. It’s available on- demand, and is super convenient.
We can listen to podcasts on the move, thanks to our smartphones and good Internet connectivity. They can even be downloaded, made available 24/7, and may be used for a wide variety of things ranging from education to entertainment.
Podcasts give their listeners a high level of intimacy and social connect as listeners tend to feel very connected with their podcast hosts and fellow listeners. It’s a proven fact that podcast listeners have high levels of social engagement. This makes the entire podcast listening experience very enriching, engaging, and productive.
Why Podcasts Work
Podcasts have something for everyone. They work simply because listening is less of a task than reading! Getting a person’s attention through their ears is easier than getting it through their eyes.
Listening stimulates multiple parts of the brain, bringing up varied emotions, be it an adrenaline rush, a boost in endorphins, or satisfying one’s passion to learn.
That’s why a podcast gets inside your head like nothing else!
The voice of the podcast host also plays a key role here. Good content coupled with clear and engaging narrative is music to the ears. A voice with a compelling story, diction, and style can unleash the power of imagination in the listener’s brain.
Podcast Formats for Microlearning
All podcast formats require a certain level of creativity! You can even go for a hybrid format within one microlearning podcast. Choose the one(s) that meet your learning needs, and suit your learner profile.
12 Tips to Create a Flawless Microlearning Podcast
- Plan your podcast with the help of a microlearning map, or base it on the ADDIE model of learning. Invest time and effort in pre-production, production, and post-production activities.
- Choose a very quiet and comfortable place without any distractions, to record your podcast. This will save you from chopping-off interruptions during editing.
- Use high-quality equipment (microphone, headset, etc.). If your host moves a lot while speaking, use a headset with built-in mic that stays with the speaker and helps keep the volume constant.
- Keep a glass of water (at room temperature) handy for the speaker to sip to prevent the mouth from drying. Avoid cold drinks or hot beverages. Eating while recording is a big no-no!
- Know when and how to mute the microphone, especially while sipping water or during cross-talks. Avoid gulping (while drinking) and lip-smacking sounds.
- Keep phones on mute and away to prevent distractions in the recording bay. Sensitive microphones tend to pick the sound of even a vibrating phone.
- The podcast host must always introduce him/herself briefly (20-30 seconds) to the listeners. This applies even to a microlearning podcast.
- Begin the podcast with a bang (great content) to hook your listeners.
- The podcast host must address listeners as you, keeping it personal to engage the learners. Avoid speaking in a boring monotone.
- A useful trick is to have someone sit across from the host. If that’s not possible, have a photo of someone near the host to feel like she/he is talking to someone. This helps the voice and tone become more natural.
- Choose your host(s) carefully. An addictive delivery by the host(s) leaves the learner addicted to your podcast. If the host is not making the cut, give constructive feedback to get the best out of them!
- Do add music and sounds that are pleasing and go with the flow of your script.
The podcasting format depends on your learning objectives. A pre-production, production and post- production rigor must be applied for all.
The 6 podcast formats you can use to deliver microlearning include:
- Non-fiction storytelling podcasts: Storytelling podcasts may involve one or more hosts, and are highly immersive and engaging. With good research, the right kind of subject matter, and engaging scripting, they can bring stories to life.
- Interview podcasts: Here a host interviews the guest bringing out unique insights in an interesting way. A range of opinions and views can be presented. This format of podcast sounds very interesting, engaging, and natural, but requires high quality research to design and deliver.
- Conversational podcasts: Much like a traditional radio show, this is a relaxed format where the host talks to a co-host to provide insights. There are entertaining conversations about specific themes or topics. Good chemistry between the two hosts is critical to its success.
- Educational podcasts: These podcasts explore a topic or niche area with authority. There needs to be precise and clear explanation of concepts, processes, with the host skilfully making up for the lack of visuals (video).
- Solo podcasts: In this type of podcasts, the host works according to their own schedule, carrying out the entire conversation with authority. The host needs to be a real guru or subject matter expert to pull off the solo act effectively.
- Theatre podcasts: This involves creating a fictional theatrical world to entertain and engage your listeners. You need good content/script and appropriate voice actors just like a theatrical performance. It demands a high level of creativity and experience.
To conclude, your short and sweet microlearning podcasts must be planned and recorded with a production mindset. A podcast with a clear message, a clever format, and an appealing voice works wonders in nailing down your learning objectives!