Audio content is underserved in L&D, but it doesn’t have to be! Assemble You’s Richard Ward joined us this week to discuss how you can capture what people love about podcasting in your audio content without breaking the bank.
From internal podcasts to creating your own fireside-chat style listens, we spoke about how, why, and when to use audio effectively.
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0:00 Introduction to the show
1:31 Is audio content underserved in corporate learning?
7:42 What makes podcasts such a useful learning tool?
11:54 Does podcasting better connect us to our audience?
17:31 Internal podcasts.
25:05 Mini pods, storytelling and using existing podcasts better.
33:45 The challenges and future of audio content
40:59 Audience question: Mindset and audio-first content.
44:35 Can AI help create new audio content?
46:27 Audience experiences with audio content.
51:27 Audience question: How to structure audio content?
6 lessons on using podcasts and audio in L&D
“We just did a survey ourselves and found that 86%+ of professionals don’t have access to audio from their L&D department currently but 92% would like to and see it as an effective medium to learn.” – Richard Ward, Co-Founder, Assemble You.
1. Audio content is great for intimacy and sensitive topics
Speaking about Spotify research on Gen Z consumption of audio content, Richard explained that:
“The reasons cited were the privacy and intimacy of the experience… with sensitive topics, if you’re there in an office, on your screen and it’s something like microaggressions or bullying…
“Something that maybe you don’t want people to see that you need to upskill yourself on, the privacy of walking through the office with your headphones on gives you the ability to consume that content in a different way.” – Richard Ward.
2. As well as communicating with authenticity!
Nelson gave a great example of Gimlet Media podcast called Start Up, they would record meetings with investors and internal conversations and it felt like you were there experiencing the process of building a startup:
“You were almost absorbing what was going on. And the fact that you can create that at a fraction of the cost of what a video reproduction would have been to re-create that same intimate feeling was quite incredible.” – Nelson Sivalingam.
3. Create your own Netflix or Spotify style ‘Originals’
“It’s something we’d recommend, having seen it done really well, to create the equivalent of how we have Netflix or Spotify Originals, but to have your own organisation’s originals that are only available on your learning platform… you’ve got exclusive content I can only find in that place.”
Fireside chats or a recording of a live meeting, something original and authentic that taps into those angles of intimacy or authenticity.
That’s also why internal podcasts are so useful, they give us access to people we don’t always have access to and in a format that allows them to express themselves truly.
4. Where do you start with audio content? (Problem solving and format tips)
“Audio is one of those tools in your toolkit, so look at whether audio is a better format for delivering a message! It goes back to something we’ve spoken about a lot on this show – being outcome-focused.
“What is the right tool for delivering that outcome?… rather than starting with a solution. And be free with the format, it could be short snippets or more long-form content depending on what you’re trying to achieve.” – Nelson Sivalingam.
Richard gave us a great outside-the-box tip on where to start:
Think about whether it’s a discussion or delivery of materials. Two or three people discussing something in long-form or a single-voice and delivery of more structured content.
5. Storytelling and succinct content delivery is crucial
“Let’s offer the corporate learner audio, which we know is popular, in a more concise format. Some people call them mini pods, 10-15 minutes long… you want to strip everything out as much as possible.
“If you’re on a commute, you haven’t got time to write it all down. So there’s a tethering process in that sense, you’ve got to keep a nice consistent story structure… Maybe give people three or so key facts, those elements to make sure it’s concise, factual and actionable.” – Richard Ward.
If you have too much in a too-short piece of content, you lose those moments to reflect and process what you’re hearing. That’s why you need to tell those stories succinctly and think about the problem you’re solving.
6. Audio content works for certain topics, like every other learning format.
Assemble you focus on power or soft skills, because audio content lends itself to those. Something technical like coding or an Excel course doesn’t – so it’s about considering the topics.
Screen-based learning has its place and we’re not trying to replace it! Audio content is a complement to it and something to be used in a considerate way, when it makes sense.
“There’s not a single format that’s right for every type of learning or challenge we’re trying to solve… and there are certain types of learning, topics and skills audio is better suited for. The tech is still early, but I think we’ll start to see change.” – Nelson Sivalingam.