Podcasting is one of the most exciting new forms of communicating to an audience to have emerged in recent years. Many types of businesses as well as the government and people in education have started to discover the advantages of delivering their messages to their listeners at a time and in a place that suits them.
Any time of the day or night and, literally, wherever you like – at home, travelling or even whilst on holiday – listening to podcasts is the most current way to keep up with the latest news, your favourite radio program or, more usefully, complete that training course you have been meaning to get around to sometime soon. You can learn at a pace that suits you and can listen to a topic again and again as many times as you wish.
Podcasts are audio (mp3) files made available over the internet but more importantly subscribers to a particular podcast are notified when the latest topic becomes available and it will be automatically downloaded.
Although many people use an iPod to listen to a podcast and the origins of the podcast name is associated with Apple's ubiquitous mp3 player (and, of course, the word broadcasting) you can, in fact, use any mp3 player or, indeed listen to the podcast through a computer or laptop or even your phone.
Of course, with respect to training courses it is perfectly possible for study guides and course manuals to be emailed to those signed up for the course for remote independent study. Or the same information can be made available on the training company's website but podcasts simplify access to learning.
No computer or internet connection is required (once the initial download is done) and additional emails do not clutter up already overloaded inboxes.Instead those people subscribed to a course become part of a community who are automatically notified of each new topic as it becomes available.
In education and training, podcasts are an extremely effective way of demonstrating passion and conviction on a certain subject, because verbal communication can provide emphasis in a way that the written word cannot. It is also easier to reinforce important aspects of a subject through the more informal verbal style of communicating typically used in podcasts compared to other forms of distance learning and e-learning.
So a verbal form of providing a training course can in many ways be more beneficial than written guides and can be especially appealing to some people. Many people actually learn better when they hear a subject than when they read it in a book.
Although the term podcasting comes in part from the word broadcasting, it is technically a form of what is called narrowcasting because the listeners have subscribed to the podcast. The communication is to a small niche community whose requirements are known, rather than to a broad audience such as in the broadcast of a radio program.
So for all those busy professionals whose schedules make it difficult to find time to attend a classroom-based course, podcasts are the route to stimulating new learning and ideas in your chosen field, to enhancing your professional skills and improving your career prospects with professional training qualifications.
They are in inexpensive alternative to traditional training courses and mean that organisations without a large training budget can still motivate and retain staff by giving them the opportunity to develop in their career.
Some of the best podcast training courses use 2 instructors presenting the course to ensure there is a natural flow of dialogue that retains the students' interest. They also provide study guides with each topic containing additional material and exercises to be completed to reinforce the subject being learnt. An online community is almost always established where issues and problems can be discussed with expert course tutors and with other like-minded course participants.
Studying for a business qualification using podcasts is becoming increasingly popular. This attractive, inexpensive alternative to traditional classroom courses is a great use of limited spare time. You can study at your own pace, walking in the countryside or lying on the beach, and it will increase your motivation and improve your career prospects.
Podcast training courses are available for a huge range of subjects from modern languages, Accountancy, Continuing Professional Development for Lawyers, Project Management Courses and a wide range of other business skills courses.
A range of professional qualifications are now available through a series of e-learning courses: courses conducted via the internet with email support from a tutor and with peer support and discussions available through the online course forums. So if you ever wondered how you would find time to fit in that training course, and update your skills and qualifications, or persuade your boss of the need for time off to complete a training course - well, this is the answer.
Professional training courses are vital in all sectors of business if, as a professional, you want to develop your skills and stay abreast of the latest tools and techniques. It is easy to fall behind in the latest methods in your particular field very quickly, particularly if you work in a fast-moving business.
But it has always been difficult to find a window in which to take up to a week out of your schedule to devote to a formal training course. It is even harder to persuade your boss that you should take that week away from the office.
Yet training can help you meet not only your personal objectives but also your business objectives. And whilst it might be easier to attend short one day sessions, if your aim is to gain a nationally recognised qualification this will certainly take substantially longer.
Training courses can instil you with more enthusiasm and motivation, which ultimately has to be good for your employer.
The idea of e-learning could well be the solution for all the time-poor workers out there keen to gain additional qualifications. Not least because in the tough economic climate in which we are all living, recent training qualifications and up-to-date marketable skills will give you an advantage if you find yourself looking for a new job.
So what exactly is e-learning and how does it work? Well, fairly obviously, it is just a form of distance learning (which has been around for many, many years through organisations such as the Open University) for the digital age. E-learning is a course of study conducted almost entirely at your computer. The benefits of using online features are varied and many:
- No waiting for a tutor to mark your work - answers are be supplied straight
- You can be flexible about when and where you study
- Learn at your own pace
- No travel and hotel costs to attend a training centre
Online learning courses use the latest technology and interactive components such as animations and quizzes to supplement the on-line learning experience. However, traditional written materials such as manuals and books are still necessary to complement the student's learning.
Course instructors also understand that it is important not to miss out on the discussions that happen in a traditional classroom setting so there are also online forums and groups where you can communicate with other students taking the same course. There will also be email support from a tutor for those more challenging questions.
E-learning may not be a better solution than instructor-led classroom learning but it is a great alternative for those who simply will never get to the classroom.
E-learning courses are available for a range of professional business subjects from Accountancy, Legal, Tax and Project Management Training Courses. And if you want to study on the move then there are even options to study with podcasts on your mp3 player.
It’s the sad truth but many projects being started right now will fail. The failure rates of projects in all industries are still, unfortunately at levels that are too high. As someone that has been involved with the project management field for over 10 years I can assure you that it’s not the project manager's fault.
So why is there such a high failure rate? I blame some of it on the expectations of clients and stakeholders but those expectations can be managed by a professional project manager with the right training and skills sucg as those advoacted by the Association for Project Management (APM). For some reason many people still expect to start a project with little planning or controls in place and then expect it to be successfully delivered.
The majority of businesses fail because they do not invest in proper training. After employees join their company the first thing their manager tells them is to learn on-the-job.
So the person talks to everyone they can get hold of to try an learn the ropes - and there is some benefit to learning from those who have the experience already; who have been there and done it - but that is no substitue for professional training. Especially in the project management field which is fast becoming a modern day profession as organisations increasingly work in a project focused way.