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Podcasts: supporting digital learning

02 June 2022
Volume 30 · Issue 6


Helen Bedford outlines the value of these accessible learning resources and shares current examples within midwifery, maternity and healthcare

Podcasts have been enjoying a boom in recent years, with one in eight people in the UK listening to podcasts each week (Ofcom, 2019). Simply put, podcasts are internet radio that is available on demand and accessed via podcast players (University of Edinburgh, 2020). On smartphones and other digital devices, the players for podcasts are apps, which can be downloaded or may come pre-installed. Podcast listeners use a range of service providers (for example BBC Sounds, Spotify, YouTube and Apple) (Ofcom, 2020), and listeners can subscribe to podcasts to listen to new episodes as they are released.

Podcasts cover a range of genres, including entertainment, news and current affairs, and a range of factual content such as health and education (Ofcom, 2020). From a radio perspective, Minnell (2020), podcast editor for public service broadcaster the BBC World Service, outlines three types of podcasts. First, ‘true’ podcasts (audio specifically designed for a podcast audience). These typically have an intimate feel and tone, creating immersive audio. Second, podcasts that emerge serendipitously when creating radio programmes and it becomes apparent that they will make good podcasts. Third, podcasts that form a catch-up/download service for radio programmes broadcast on air, which listeners can enjoy at a time convenient to them as downloads. Organisations and individuals outside conventional radio are increasingly creating podcasts as a medium to reach their target audiences, fuelling the recent boom.

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