Ten Reasons Why Podcasts Are Inferior to Text
Ten reasons podcasts don’t work for education are:
- It is faster to read than to listen to text.
- It is difficult to skim a podcast (fast-forward can sometimes be used) while most people skim text and carefully read the parts that interest them.
- It is easier and quicker to reread text than to replay part of a podcast.
- Interesting passages of text can be highlighted or, if online, copied into notes.
- Text can be illustrated.
- Most people, when driving, working out, etc., do not have the concentration to stay focused on an educational podcast.
- When a podcast is of high quality and slickly produced, it seems like entertainment, especially when it starts with music.
- When a podcast is of poor quality, the background noise or pauses and speech fillers are annoying to listen to.
- It is easier to get into a flow state when reading text because you are less likely to be multitasking.
- Deeper learning, as Don Norman says, “takes time and thought”, and it is harder to have deep thoughts when listening passively or when multitasking.
I developed this list after talking to some of Jared Spool’s students, who sent me an e-learning scenario centered on the use of podcasting. While writing this, I listened to a podcast that Jared made, just to make sure that my list was accurate. Part way through, my son called and I dropped off his cleats and then stopped at the track and ran because it is a sunny day and I had been sitting too long. When I got back, the podcast was still playing. Voice can convey nuances that text does not, and Jared is an entertaining speaker, but I prefer text and am unlikely to ever make podcasts for my students.