Podcasts or the radio of the internet, have gained increasing popularity over the past few years. The idea of listening to a topic of your choice and interest on the go has resonated with many people.
Podcasts have gained popularity because they can very easily fit into our daily, fast-paced lives. You can find podcasts of varying lengths and across many topics.
Only fifteen minutes to spare? There’s a podcast for you.
Want to catch up on the news? Want to listen to a story? Do you like cars? Do you prefer politics? Be it anything, there’s a podcast for you.
Additionally, with podcasts comes versatility and accessibility which other mediums of information and entertainment cannot offer. You might not necessarily read a thirty-thousand-word blog, but you can listen to a podcast about the same topic in bits on your daily commute to school or work.
You can listen to podcasts while doing any task, be it cooking, cleaning, driving, commuting, shopping and so on. Even videos do not offer such versatility, where you need to sit down and stop everything to watch the video.
Podcasts have created communities of like-minded individuals and given followers a sense of belonging and a space to interact and share interests. Making podcasts is also relatively easy than making and editing a video, which might take up many days.
By the year 2020, the global podcast industry is expected to reach US$ 20 Billion. Podcasts have become increasingly popular in many countries, Indians too are increasingly becoming active consumers of podcasts.
Digital penetration in India is increasing, around three-hundred million people have smartphones and around six-hundred and twenty-seven million people have access to the internet. This means that there is a lot of potential for podcasts to be consumed, and the number of podcast listeners can easily cross tens of millions in the coming years.
Spotify, one of the leading platforms for podcasts, had already gathered two million users in India in the first quarter of 2019. Other music streaming services like Apple Music and Amazon Music have also started streaming podcasts, giving access to podcasts to a wider audience. Independent podcasts are also mushrooming in the country.
The Indian Podcast Listener Statistics in 2018 found that among all Indians who listen to podcasts, 77 percent do so on their phones, mostly while commuting.
One of India’s most distinct identity is its diversity and the robust love and pride her people take in their mother tongue. Podcasts, which initially streamed only in English, have now started streaming in various regional languages like Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati. Tamil and many more. This has diversified the reach of podcasts in the diverse nation.
According to a report by Google, Indian regional language internet users are expected to account nearly for 75% of India’s internet user base by 2021. This diversification of podcasts in regional languages has struck an emotional chord with many Indians who grew up listening to radio programs and television programs in their mother tounges.
Furthermore, recent technological advancements like Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) have made podcasts more personalized, offering an array that suits the interests of the consumers.
Technology always has an impact on every sector, and education is no exception. New technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have already made their way into education and are transforming how we impart education.
Artificial Intelligence has helped us make education an immersive experience and help students understand and learn like never before. AI-powered tools are making education and learning more personalized to suit the student’s abilities and come up technique’s best suited for the student.
AI tools are also helping teachers by taking up administrative tasks like conducting exams, grading assignments and quizzes and so on. This has helped teachers dedicate more time to students.
How universities are using Podcasts to enhance student learning?
Podcasts have made their way into the education sector. There are many podcasts dedicated to various subjects and topics for students to listen to and learn from. Podcasting gives teachers and professors the ability to share their lectures with students seamlessly and make them available 24/7.
Podcasts can easily be used in educational institutions to impart education in a new interactive way to improve the teaching and learning methods. Many educational institutions have started their own podcasts for the benefit of students.
New interesting podcasts about education and new education technologies are coming up. There are many opportunities to listen to those podcasts and enhance your knowledge by listening to experts in the education field.
Vanderbilt University in Nashville, United States of America, has started its own podcast leading lines. Launched in 2016, leading lines talks about education technology and its importance in enhancing student learning.
Stanford University has launched its podcast, the Stanford Innovation Lab. Professor Tina Seelig from the university talks about the creative processes behind engineering. She also offers tips to other professors on how they can promote creative and innovative thinking.
TOPcast or Teaching Online Podcast, a podcast by the University of Central Florida is hosted by the vice provost Tom Cavanagh and executive director for the Center of Distributed Learning Kelvin Thompson. The podcast includes interviews with industry experts on various topics. Its mainly focuses on issues in the online education system.
How Podcasts can be used in Education Industry?
1. Round the clock availability of Podcasts
One of the greatest advantages of podcasts is their round the clock availability. Students can easily access the podcasts at any time that suits them. This means that students can learn on the go and whenever they are comfortable.
Many students have access to a smartphone and an internet connection, and they can download these podcasts on their mobile devices and listen to them on loop or as many time as they want to listen to them.
There are many podcast apps which can be downloaded on mobile devices, enabling students to access a wide array of podcats and find the ones which they like the best. Many music streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music have also started streaming podcasts on their platforms, increasing the number of podcasts students can access very easily.
2. It is easier to listen to podcasts longer than reading for a long time
Because of the kind of content we consume nowadays and the way communication has evolved over the years, the attention span of younger generations has decreased. This means that internet users prefer video or audio content over written content.
Students prefer listening to podcasts in bits and chunks than reading the same information written for more than 20,000 words. Also, students can easily listen to podcasts while doing other everyday tasks, while it takes a lot of patience for them to sit down to study for hours on end and it is easy to get distracted.
One of the longest podcasts is a history podcast and it can easily run for more than three hours. If people can listen to that, then students can easily listen to educational podcasts which usually have a shorter run time.
3. Podcasts can create student communities
Students can create their own podcasts which questions, topic discussions and so on. Students know and understand which methods of learning work best for them and their peers, they can use this knowledge to create podcasts for themselves and create a community of students in which everyone can contribute and help each other.
Professors can record their lectures and upload them as podcasts. Students can download these podcasts and listen to them again and again. This also creates a very valuable learning material for students.
As these recorded lectures are accessible anytime and anywhere, students can access them easily and revise whenever they want to. These podcasts will come in handy before the exams when students have to revise topics. This will reduce the burden and stress that students face before exams as lectures will always be available to them.
Podcasts can also be used by students to understand a concept or topic which they found hard to grasp during lectures. The 24/7 availability of podcasts helps students understand topics at their own pace.
5. Catch up on missed classes
Students who have missed classes can use these podcasts to catch up with their peers and not lag behind. This is really helpful for students who have missed multiple classes due to medical reasons or for other reasons which made them unable to attend classes.
Similarly, teachers can create podcasts of their lectures beforehand if they would be unable to take classes in the coming days. These podcasts can be sent to students, ensuring that the class won’t fall behind schedule.
6. Excellent Learning tool for visually impaired students
Podcasts are an excellent tool for students who are visually impaired. They can easily access podcasts and listen to them whenever they want. Podcasts are a great way to impart education for visually impaired students.
7. Podcasts can create Teacher Communities
There are many podcasts that are run by teachers for teachers. Such podcasts are a place to discuss experiences and situation teachers face in the classrooms. This has helped create a global community of teachers where they can learn from each other’s experiences, share experiences, give advice and offer support to their colleagues worldwide.
These podcasts can also be used to talk about new methods which have been implemented and the teacher’s experience with them. The podcasts can also be used to talk about new technologies and advancements that are coming up in the education sector.
8. Explore new territories
With the wide array of content available across numerous subjects and topics in the form of podcasts, students can delve deeper into subjects and topics they might like and want to pursue further.
Podcasts are a great way to explore new topics and interests whenever they have leisure time or when they are doing daily tasks like commuting, transiting, cooking, cleaning or gyming and exercising.
And the best features of podcasts are that they are very easily accessible and you only have to pay a minimal subscription fee, some podcasts are even free!
We can easily say that in the near future podcasts will become an integral part of our daily lives. Be it listening to your favorite podcast on your way to work, or listening to a podcast about the recent trends in education technology, podcasts will play a more prominent role in entertainment and education alike.
New technologies are helping create more personalized content for consumers, creating a wider audience and the need for more content. With technological advancements and increasing digital penetration and access to the internet, be sure to see a surge of podcasts and an equally strong desire of internet users to consume content, personalized to their likes and interests to a T.
So, watch out!
About the Author
Swapnil has more than 15 years of experience in the Information Technology sector. He has been working on digital platforms in the education sector. Swapnil is an avid reader and writes articles on technology and leading developments in the education and IT sectors. Swapnil has active podcast about Education Technology which has various discussions about trends in education technology adoption.
Swapnil is the founder of Splashgain, an Education Technology company from India working on various innovative EdTech platforms for examinations, proctoring solutions, digital admission process and more.