Why should L&D (Learning & Development) focus on podcasts? Are videos not enough?
The L&D industry is getting revolutionized now. Employees are getting incentivized in every way to receive training with pleasure.
Podcasts are prerecorded audios, and many people find them a better way to increase their knowledge base without straining their eyes. Moreover, many important guests can become a part of such a podcast, and apart from listening to the host, you can also get their opinions on a topic.
Podcasts can be a useful resource for a company when its employees are coming back from work because instead of listening to a music channel in the car, they can listen to a podcast. Bluetooth enabled headphones have been invented, and you can easily listen to podcasts while driving the car.
But all knowledge cannot be delivered when it is a podcast because the listener might have questions they cannot ask. They must email the L&D personnel to ask such questions. But there is also an advantage that such podcasts are prerecorded because they can be recorded multiple times before perfection is attained. Hence, there is no irrelevant content in such podcasts because the host knows that anything, not fitting in won’t interest the audience.
Podcasts have become a true need of the learners because the pandemic still exists. So, it is the best way to train remote employees who cannot be called to the office. They can understand the company rules through a podcast and later post their queries to HR (Human Resources). These are the reasons why podcasts are getting popular:
- Increase in podcast users
- Better retention of podcasts
There is also a surge in the number of podcast users. US citizens have been taking a keen interest in learning through podcasts. The estimated growth of podcast listeners will be up to 125 million by 2022. The remote employees find podcasts an excellent way to assimilate knowledge when doing the mandatory household chores.
Also, more and more employees are shifting to work from the home method, they have become so attuned to it during the pandemic.
Due to the pandemic, workers are still working from home because of the Omicron variant. There is a nationwide rise in Omicron cases in the US. At the end of April, these cases had increased in all of the US, barring three states. Apart from the pandemic, remote work is still happening because people feel inclined for it now apart from their relocation to another area. Hence, it is not possible to work from the office. The pandemic in 2020 has awakened people to the benefits of working from home. So, the remote work option is here to stay.
Moreover, podcasts are ideal for connecting with remote employees who feel annoyed because they never interact with their fellow workers. They might need a personal touch in communication included in a podcast, especially when they are addressed by the HR or the company leaders about their key goals.
Podcasts are getting popular because they do not contain any graphic content and are easier to retain.
Podcasts can also engage the employees much more than documentation. They might not have the patience to go through PDF manuals and emails, but a podcast is not boring for them. It has been revealed that documentation has lesser engagement rates, but podcasts have 60% engagement. It has been proved that podcasts have better comprehension rates than written text. People understand 38% of the material in podcasts, rather than only 7% in written text.
So, the L&D department must know that podcasts are result-oriented to deliver urgent information like compliance changes.
How should the podcasts be created?
A Podcast’s success depends on the host’s hard work.
Selecting the right speakers: The podcasts can include many insights when the industry leaders are called. In training audio, people want to hear the reasonable opinions of those not at the C-suite level positions. Podcasts can feature anyone, be it frontline workers who understand the problems of a common employee. The success of a podcast depends on a host’s expertise in the matter so that he can ask very expansive questions from the leaders. He can make sure listeners hear the answers to the most relatable problems in their work domain.
Before recording a podcast, it’s also crucial to see that the guests called to contribute must be the most relevant experts on the subject. The guests must be recognized in their field, like writing a PhD dissertation. So, such guests might take some time to fix their time for the podcast, but booking them is essential for its success. The L&D professional must ensure that such guests are approached well to get their confirmation.
Every podcast episode must have a theme introduced at the beginning, so the listeners know what’s in store for them.
The podcasts meant for employees are excellent for training them because they contain information about relevant changes in the company and political and economic conditions affecting the business. They can also contain inspiring messages during critical times.
Podcasts should be downloadable so that the employees can access them outside the office too. There should be a library of podcasts in which the users can search through keywords. The users must also get regular updates when a new podcast series episode is launched.
Are podcasts the perfect way of training? Depends on the situation
There are also limitations on whether podcasts are suitable for all forms of information. It must contain a story for a podcast to be interesting. All subjects don’t lend themselves to a storytelling format, except historical knowledge. For example, a podcast is insufficient when explaining human anatomy to a medical intern because graphics like video and images are required.
Hence, eLearning forms a better option in this case. Podcasts have the highest accessibility out of all the eLearning formats because you can’t watch a video while jogging, but this is not so with a podcast. So, an L&D professional must have experience in developing podcasts. However, podcasts do not have interactivities, so how much information the user has retained after listening to them cannot be tested.