In order to meet the challenges described in the Analysis section, I recommend creating a podcast that will deliver teacher training in short episodes. Volunteers can listen each week while they are on the go.
The Power of Podcasts
All forms of media can be useful for training, but all forms of media have limitations. For example:
- Video is often used for training, but that requires the learner to stare at a screen.
- Reading is effective if the materials are written well, but those require more staring at a screen or carrying books and guides with them.
Podcasts, well-designed and focused, can fit into busy schedules. No screen time is required. Learners can listen anytime and anywhere—while commuting, exercising, grocery shopping, walking the dog, mowing the yard, and cleaning the house.
Podcasts Have No Content Limitations
Podcasts can be about any topic and can be any length.
There are more than a million shows in the Apple Podcasts directory on thousands of different topics, such as business, self-help, science, religion, how-to, audio dramas, and true crime.
Some are five minutes. At least one history podcast is 5+ hours.
Volunteer Teacher Training Podcasts
Here are a few key concepts to keep in mind for training podcasts.
For training podcasts such as the one we are designing, I recommend keeping them between five and fifteen minutes. Shorter episodes will fit more easily into the volunteers’ busy schedules.
Focus on one topic
This is not the news. Pick one thing and spend all your time talking about that one thing. Explain what it is and why it is important for volunteer teachers to apply what they are learning. Give multiple examples of that one thing in action.
Volunteer time is precious. Don’t waste that time with too much chit-chat, talking about the weather, or sports. Stay focused on what the learner needs to learn.
Don’t be boring
Let your personality shine through, but stay on topic. Straying too far can be distracting to your listeners.
Many podcasts are ongoing, and popular ones can last through hundreds of episodes. This type of podcast is different. It is focused on training volunteers in the essential basics of learning principles and how to apply them to their own teaching. A never-ending podcast can feel overwhelming to volunteers. A limited series gives them an achievable goal they can strive for.