Last week we shared with you an interview with John Colley, the owner of the “The Optimistic Entrepreneur” podcast, in which John told us about the things to know to get started with eLearning podcasting. The interview got many views. We thought it might be a good idea to dive deeper into the topic of eLearning podcasting and invite one more eLearning podcast owner to our blog.
Today’s guest is Tim Green, co-founder of the “Trends & Issues in Instructional Design, Educational Technology, and Learning Sciences” podcast.
We asked Tim about the benefits of having a podcast for business, critical ingredients of a successful podcast, how to make it stand out from the crowd and many other questions you might be curious about.
If you are thinking of starting your own eLearning podcast you will find Tim’s answers very helpful.
Check out the ultimate guide to getting started with eLearning podcasting!
Why don’t we start off by getting to know, Tim, you and how did you get into the eLearning field?
I am currently a professor of educational technology and teacher education at California State University, Fullerton where I co-direct an online MS program in educational technology for educators. I am a K-12 educator by training. After teaching for several years, I went back to school to get my Ph.D. from Indiana University in Instructional Systems Technology. While a grad student, I had the opportunity to take e-learning and then facilitate an e-learning course as a graduate instructor in 1996. When I graduated and became a professor, I was given the opportunity to develop one of the first online courses at my university back in 2000. From this experience, I was asked to be the Director of Distance Education at my university, which I did for 5 years. During this time, I led a team that developed and supported 50+ online courses—both hybrid and completely online. For the past 10 years, I have co-directed the online Master’s program in Educational Technology.
What is a background story behind the “Trends and Issues in Instructional Design, Educational Technology and Learning Sciences” podcast?
My friend and colleague—Dr. Abbie Brown from East Carolina University—and I write an annual chapter on the trends in instructional technology in business, higher education, and K-12 for the Educational Multimedia and Technology Yearbook. Based on this, he started a Flipboard magazine titled Trends and Issues in Instructional Design, Educational Technology and Learning Sciences to help us document the trends we observe during the year. The resource was a tool to help us with the chapter—and to stay current with the trends. He invited me to be a contributor of this Flipboard magazine. After curating this resource for a few months, we discussed how we could expand the reach of the resource and hopefully bring value to others. This lead us to experimenting with podcasting. Our first episode came out in December 2013. We are—as of this interview date—at episode 93 and coming closer to four years of the podcast.
Why would anyone want to do a podcast? For example, a business, what’s the benefit of having a podcast?
Interesting question. There are many reasons. I believe one major reason why people start podcasts is they are passionate about a topic. People want to share what they know with others and get others interested and excited about the topic. A business could benefit from producing a podcast by providing its customers with timely information about their products or services—keeping customers informed, updating customers, and getting potential customers excited about their products or services.
If somebody wanted to do a podcast themselves, what are the basic steps they need to follow to do that? What software and hardware should he use to create a podcast?
Basic steps—I’m not sure I would say there are basic steps. I recently co-authored a book that outlines the process my colleague and I use to produce our podcast. ☺ In general, however, one would need a sustainable topic, develop a format of the podcast that makes sense for the intended audience, develop content, create the content digitally, and then make it available online—then develop more content, create the content digitally, make it available online—then repeat and repeat again and again. I will admit there are a number of smaller steps—that make up the steps I just mentioned—that need to take place, but in general what I outlined are the general steps.
In your opinion, what are critical ingredients of a successful podcast?
A great idea that fits a niche is helpful—but having a great idea is a must. Then promote it like crazy!
What are some of the most challenging aspects of podcasting?
Beyond having a solid idea, I believe building and maintaining an audience can be the most challenging. This is something that needs to be worked on continuously. There are many resources—digital and analog—that provide guidance about promoting a podcast and building and maintain an audience. You will need find what works best for your audience—and what your goals are with your podcast. One of my favorite resources is the Smart Passive Income blog and podcast. This is an excellent resource for anyone interested in podcasting.
The podcast world gets very crowded. How can we make a podcast stand out from the crowd?
First—having excellent content. Obvious, right? Excellent content is the foundation of a podcast that stands out. The second is the production quality of the podcast. There are other elements; however, if these first two are not met—the rest don’t matter.
How to promote a podcast, grow the audience and increase the popularity of the podcast?
I’d love to be an expert on this topic! I certainly can improve in this area. I do the obvious of promoting on social media and shamelessly plugging it whenever I have the chance—like right now. I’d check out sources like the podcast I mentioned earlier—the Smart Passive Income blog. There are some great ideas shared about how to promote and increase one’s audience.
What’s the biggest lesson you learned over these years of the podcast experience and being a professor of instructional design and educational technology?
As far as podcasting goes, it takes persistence to keep a project like a podcast going. You must enjoy not only the content but also the technical aspects of producing the podcast. If not, it will be a short-lived project.
What to read next?
ELearning Podcasting for Beginners - Video Interview with John Colley
The ELearning Business Types or How to Enter the ELearning Market
How to Start a Career in the ELearning Field? [Updated for 2017]