Podcasts and Training

Podcasts are a viable option when sharing information.  They are useful to distribute recordings intended for educational or entertainment purposes since the content of a podcast fits the need of the intended audience.  A benefit of publicly publishing podcasts is that those who are interested in the same topic can find them and receive the same information (Evans, 2008).  Podcasts can replace face-to-face lectures as a method of disseminating information to learners.  Using this method, learners can access the material in the location of their choice and using the device of the choice (Parson, Reddy, Wood, & Senior, 2009; Brookes, 2010; Evans, 2008).  This makes education much more flexible than it is in a face-to-face environment.  Looking at some of the available literature surrounding educational podcasts, I see that there is information on both sides of the argument on using podcasts for educational purposes.  While I have limited experience with podcasts, I can see their value as an educational tool.  Having the ability to listen to a lecture when and where works best for the learner is a worthwhile feature of this technology.  Also, having the information available outside of the formal lecture time allows learners to go back and review it should something be unclear at a later time, allowing the learner more control of his/her learning.

How does this fit with training staff?  That is what I am planning to explore for the duration of this course.  I volunteer at a seasonal not-for-profit living historical museum.  Each season begins with training for all staff (paid) and volunteers.  This training happens in a face-to-face setting and consists of only a lecture style of delivery.  This style of training goes against the interactive nature of the museum, given that one of the primary goals to interact with the guests.  I would like to start to explore the idea of building a blended training program for the museum, incorporating both interactive and individual components.  Here are some questions that I plan to explore:

  • How can podcasts benefit training?
  • What needs to differ between training for volunteers and paid staff, if anything?
  • What is the best content for podcast training?

As part of this research, I welcome comments and questions from you.


Brookes, M. (2010). An evaluation of the impact of formative feedback podcasts on the student learning experience. Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism Education (Oxford Brookes University), 9(1), 53–64. https://doi-org.libresources2.sait.ab.ca/10.3794/johlste.91.238

Evans, C. (2008) The effectiveness of m-learning in the form of podcast revision lectures in higher education.  Computers & Education, 50,491–498. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2007.09.016

Parson, V., Reddy, P., Wood, J., & Senior, C. (2009) Educating an iPod generation: undergraduate attitudes, experiences and understanding of vodcast and podcast use, Learning, Media and Technology, 34:3, 215-228, DOI: 10.1080/17439880903141497

6 thoughts on “Podcasts and Training

  1. Kathy it’s good to see podcasting studied within a specific setting, as you’re doing, i.e. the context of a historical museum and with volunteers and paid staff. If you find this gets to be too much, you might just focus on one or the other for this study. Apart from that, with your concern about the lecture approach currently used in the face-to-face setting, you might want to think about not just content but also how it could facilitate interactions among learners as well as with the physical setting itself, thereby taking advantage of the mobile nature of podcasts.

    1. Thank you for your feedback. I will review my topic while working on my first assignment and make adjustments.


  2. Hi Kathy

    Thanks for sharing your topic with us. A couple of years ago, I was asked to work with our Human Services department and conduct lunch and learns. I used podcasts for this purpose and it was very successful. For a period of four months, we met weekly and reviewed topics that related to mental health, family, wellness, and children. We listened to the podcasts and then it was opened up for discussion. In my experience, attendees learned more from each other than they did from the podcast, however, the podcast created the opportunity for open discussion and learning. As a facilitator/instructor is important to try to be innovative in your approach (Brookes, 2010) in order to keep participants engaged in the learning. It’s all about them and what’s in it for them.

    When you think about training volunteers or paid staff the two questions are what information do you want to share with them and why is this information important and relevant. If you are trying to conduct an orientation for new employees/volunteers, my experience with this suggests that you probably want to share the same information with both groups. I can see that short podcasts would work well in this environment where you do not require the participants to visualize information. As you begin to think about how to create the orientation and the information that needs to be reviewed, another suggestion may be to incorporate podcasts as an introduction to the organization. This could be sent to participants (via email if they cannot log into a specific location) before the training and then the information could be used as a springboard for additional discussions.

    This is a very interesting topic with opportunities to incorporate it to share all different types of information with new or returning volunteers/paid staff. (What about an overview of the museum, the culture, values, mission, or you could also use podcasts for general health and safety information.) The options are endless.


    Brookes, M. (2010). An evaluation of the impact of formative feedback podcasts on the student learning experience. Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism Education (Oxford Brookes University), 9(1), 53–64. https://doi-org.libresources2.sait.ab.ca/10.3794/johlste.91.238

  3. Hi Kathy,
    What an interesting and fun topic, I am really intrigued by your findings. I must be honest; I have not listened to one podcast (bar things for school) and it is an area I am always recommended to look/research/enjoy. I like the idea that someone can pause the pod cast and go back to listen again, this offers flexibility and options. This would be great for people who are visually impaired to still attend regular classes with their peers.

    I like the idea of offering a blended option for training purposes, what about offering a debrief session at the end of the training? Have you thought about having a language option so you can record once, but have the benefit of playing the podcast in different languages? Would there be a test at the end to ensure people have listened and not just heard the podcast?

    Good luck on your super interesting topic.

  4. Hi Kathy,

    I love podcasts! You’ve asked some great and intriguing questions especially around its use as an educational tool for training. I think podcasts have been a great entertainment option for me when I commute to and from work, or doing more mundane tasks, like washing dishes. Personally, I often found myself spending time researching and trying to further understand the topic that was just discussed. I found the flexibility of podcasts and the ability to cover a variety of topics is quite diverse.

    I think it’s a interesting that you’re exploring the idea of building a blended training program at the museum. Using podcasts and embedding them using your proposed approach will seem to provide a more enriching training experience for the volunteers. I’m interested to see where your research can take you and what measures you can take to enhance the training experience for your volunteers!

    Thank you for sharing,

  5. Hi Kathy,
    Such an interesting topic. Honestly, I have never been one for Podcasts. They have always seemed like too high of an effort undertaking for my general learning. I had previously mentally relegated their usefulness to individuals who have long commutes or those that had hours to sit and listen, of course, this was my on faulted perception. I had never considered using a podcast to replace a lecture, and it is so obvious that I am embarrassed to have discounted this medium.
    I love your idea of transforming the training at your museum and integrating a podcast into a blended approach to be more in alignment with the museum’s mandates.
    It looks like you have explored some interesting topics surrounding podcasts.
    Thank you for your perspective.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *