by Brian Bergen-Aurand
One way to continue to hone our online teaching skills while in the car or around the house (especially during inclement wintry days) is through listening to a digital learning podcast or two. Many instructional design workshops emphasize the value of using tools and alternative materials in online and onground courses to provide varied and multiple interactions for students. But where can you begin exploring online tools? And where can you turn to start to think about not only adopting existing tools but also creating some of your own?
Digital learning podcasts are a great place to start. Not only will exploring these resources give you new ideas about improving online design and delivery, encouraging diversity and difference, increasing accessibility, and addressing barriers to regular and substantive interactions (RSI), but it might also inspire you to start recording a podcast or screen cast of your own for your students. (More on that topic in the future.)
With hundreds of digital learning and education podcasts to choose from, I’m recommending a few places to begin:
The Learning Coach: Helping You Design Smarter Learning Experiences is perhaps the most recommended general interest digital learning podcast available. In each episode host Connie Malamed and guests discuss ways to improve online and mobile experiences. Coming from a cognitive psychology perspective, they cover research and teaching, trends and countertrends, and ask questions about the best ways to implement theories into practice. Recent episodes have explored chatbots, virtual training, microlearning, developing creativity, and cognitive load.
The Good Practice podcast is another popular recommendation that focuses on learning, work, and performance, with more of an emphasis on returning, adult, and work-force learners. Each week the Good Practice team (sometimes with guests) discusses training techniques and technologies, the world of work and human resources, professional conferences, and research findings. Recent episodes have focused on evidence-informed design, lifelong learning, the impacts of organizational culture on professional development, and work-life balance.
When it comes to covering issues of diversity and difference in digital learning, Teaching Matters (from National Public Radio) is one of the best podcasts available. (There are far too few discussions of these topics available and no podcasts focusing on them in depth, but more conversations do seem to be appearing on an irregular basis.) Teaching Matters explores “the unique needs of students,” and the last five episodes have considered the teacher as the student, AR/VR production, augmented reality, the Digital Pioneers Academy, and strategies for creating an inclusive educational environment.
Instructional Designers in Offices Drinking Coffee (#IDIODC) is hosted by Brent Schlenker and Chris Van Wingerden and offers a live, candid conversation about instructional design. This podcast is the talk radio program of design and development—sometimes with guests—and features news and updates from the field, conversations about technology, and thoughts on the future of the field. Most recently, the hosts have discussed “the one change you should make this year,” data on designers and users, mobile content and interaction, instructor-led training (ILT), and digital learning and the lizard brain.
Northwestern University’s Digital Learning Podcast (NUDLP) appears monthly and features in-depth discussions of particular, nuanced, or quirky topics in a more focused manner. The podcasts most often focus on interviews with researchers describing how their projects have led to changes or calls for changes in the way to think and do online education. Recent episodes have explored experiential learning, undergraduate research, smellovision, voice recording and singing apps, and new spaces for publishing journalism.
2 Essential Episodes
If you can’t commit to a whole podcast series, or you’re not sure where to dive in, maybe start with these two essential episodes. First, try the Northwestern University Digital Learning Podcast on Bias, Race, and Technology featuring an interview with Dr. Ruha Benjamin (author of Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code). Second, enjoy the MIT Comparative Media Studies podcast Designing for a Neurodiverse World—a roundtable on the ways in which we can help our digital learning resources, workplaces, situations, and technologies better reflect the worlds we experience.
Podcasts are not the only digital tools going, and they may not be for everyone, so in the future we’ll also be exploring other tools to learn from and integrate into your online and hybrid classrooms, such as online docs, web publishing, screen casts, videos, online presentations, games and scenarios, and much more. (And, if you want to take on podcasting yourself or as a project for your students, see the NPR series Student Podcast Challenge for tips on getting started as a podcast producer.)
For More Lists of Top Podcasts in Digital Learning and Education Technology:
- Listen and Learn: A Guide to Digital Learning Podcasts. Insider Higher Ed, March 2018.
- The Best eLearning Podcasts for Your Commute. Capterra, February 2018.
- Education Tech Podcasts. PlayerFM, January 2020.
- Student Podcast Challenge. NPR. January 2020.
Brian Bergen-Aurand is a Certified Instructional Designer in eLearning and Faculty in Arts & Humanities. He specializes in questions of Quality Standards (QOI, QM, SBCTC Guidelines), analytical design, and peer course review.
Last Updated November 10, 2020