dding a podcast to your repertoire of training material has a great number of benefits. Audio and podcasting is a beautifully unique medium that has exploded in popularity over the last decade for good reason.
So, if you’re looking to branch out, here are four educational podcasts to inspire you. We’ve shared a variety in no particular order to show that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Every example has its own advantages to be inspired by.
What it is: Freakonomics Radio has been running for an incredible ten years and is rapidly approaching 500 episodes. A spinoff from the 2005 book Freakonomics by journalist Stephen Dubner and economist Stephen Levitt, it airs weekly to share “the hidden side of everything”. Episodes are typically hosted by Stephen Dubner who combines interviews with several individuals to present a cohesive and nuanced snapshot of fascinating topics.
What we love about it: Dubner does a fantastic job at asking not just the basic questions, but also the challenging and unexpected questions, and is rewarded with brilliant insights from his interviewees. Dubner is also a master of knowing where to step in to explain or progress the narrative and where to let the interview breathe and allow his guests to talk.
What it is: One of the best and longest-running podcasts in the L&D industry. Hosted by AITD Learning Professional of the Year Michelle Ocker, the fortnightly episodes typically focus on a successful, real-world L&D project. Learning Uncut currently boasts over 50’000 listeners per episode.
What we love about it: Due to hit 100 episodes in 2021, Learning Uncut has achieved remarkable consistency even as the show has evolved. Ocker does a great job of balancing a professional approach with an authentic tone by avoiding heavy post-production ensuring that clients are involved in interviews.
The Tip Off
What it is: An award-winning podcast by British investigative journalist Maeve McClenaghan who interviews other investigative journalists sharing the behind-the-scenes stories and work that has gone into some of the biggest scoops in recent media history. Releasing in seasonal batches, The Tip Off may just restore your faith in the media.
What we love about it: While episodes are constructed from interviews, McClenaghan prioritises storytelling, gripping listeners with the often daring and dangerous work undertaken by journalists to expose wrongdoing. As a member of the community/industry she is interviewing she is also able to bring additional insight and authenticity to the stories.
The Happiness Lab
What it is: The pursuit of happiness is as old as man, but as Dr Laurie Santos reveals in this podcast, the things we assume will make us happy (more money, a better job, or Instagram-worthy vacations) rarely do. Bringing her expertise as a professor of psychology at Yale University, Santos uses each episode to show the many misconceptions we have about happiness and what might actually make us happy instead. Santos’ podcast burst onto the scene in mid 2019 and proved an instant hit, quickly racking up episodes and listeners.
What we love about it: Despite having plenty of authority to speak on each topic, Santos frames each episode around an interview in order to ground concepts in real stories and transformations. She also doesn’t take her star power for granted: in her carefully planned first episode, she takes the time to tell her own story of how the podcast came to be and her vision for it, effectively hooking new listeners and establishing her credentials.
BONUS One to Watch: Learning to Thrive
What it is: An Aussie original by our friends at Change Republic, Learning to Thrive is another podcast in the digital learning industry. Host Emily Walker brings her considerable experience as a learning designer to interview with a range of industry experts.
What we love about it: Walker beautifully unites joyfulness with a professional approach. She is warm yet probing in her interviews, successfully drawing out stories and ideas about learning and development in progressive companies. Her strength is in asking questions that allow her guests to share their experience before offering concise summaries of key points.