Stay connected. Stay informed. Using podcasts to facilitate learning during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

American University in Switzerland > Blog > Stay connected. Stay informed. Using podcasts to facilitate learning during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

Staying informed and connected is extremely important. As we move into the 4IR, information has become currency and it is more important than ever to stay on top of things – cutting edge innovation, new market trends, merger and acquisitions, government regulations, political upheavals and changes, just to name a few. As a professor, my job is to understand all of this, analyze it, and be able to teach my students in a digestible manner.  

It is difficult to stay up to date with all of the news when I am teaching and have two young daughters, one of which is just three months old. And, even though I’m working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, this brings its own challenges in finding the right work-life balance. Sometimes it just seems like there are not enough hours in the day to take a moment to learn or be informed. We can find ourselves being pulled in many directions without time to stop.

One solution I have found to these challenges, podcasts. I have listened to podcasts since 2005 or 2006, when the industry was in its infancy. At the time I was living in Washington, DC. As you can imagine, I listened to podcasts on news and politics – and to be honest those were pretty much the only topics available at the time. But since then, the industry has grown considerably, with approximately 192,000 new podcast launched in the first ten months of 2019, meaning that there are now hundreds of thousands of informative, educational and motivational podcasts readily available.

Every day, I listen to the Financial Times Daily Update and The Intelligence from The Economist. I find these two podcasts really useful in providing me with a solid foundation of current global affairs and keeping me up to date with stories developing around the world. Personally, I find it a great way to start the day and I will often listen to one of these podcasts whilst I’m taking my youngest child for her morning nap in her stroller. Using this time productively allows me to gain an insight into understanding the events of the day across the world and interpret what has happened as well as analyzing what will happen.

For me this is one the main reasons I feel that podcasts can benefit your life, as I mentioned earlier, we often don´t have enough hours in the day. But what if we used the time we normally spend on mindless chores or other daily tasks to learn and access new knowledge.

In addition to daily news updates, I regularly listen to a number of business-related podcasts throughout the week. Harvard has a wonderful suite of podcasts which I subscribe to, and I particularly enjoy Havard Business Review´s IdeaCast and also Havard Business School’s Managing the Future of Work, which is doing a great set of Covid-19 related episodes interspersed with its regular content. I also subscribe to The Economist’s Money Talks and The McKinsey Podcast. Listening to these podcasts allows me to stay current and up to date in my knowledge of what is happening within the business world, giving me the opportunity to bring the examples and case studies into the classroom for my students to study and learn from. With a lot of podcasts also covering current affairs globally, it is a brilliant medium that opens up the opportunity to break the cultural barrier and understand the world from a new perspective.

Another reason I listen to podcasts, is for professional development. Podcasts have become a brilliant resource for professionals to share best practice and help each other in their daily challenges. Personally I listen to Enrollment Growth University which often times brings in professors and senior academic staff to discuss a variety of teaching and learning innovations at universities around the world. This medium to share best practice and learn from others is truly inspirational and allows us as professionals in similar capacities an opportunity to learn, develop and innovate.

And finally, London School of Economics, they offer an inspiring free lecture series which has an excellent range of guest speakers from a number of different industries, based across the world. As a professor, this offers me a unique opportunity to learn more from specialist industry experts and relay this insight and knowledge to my students in order for them to benefit in applying their academic knowledge.

As you can probably tell, I am a huge fan of podcasts, and I believe it is a great medium to stay informed by listening to industry experts, thought leaders and academic professors. Staying connected to a world that can be overcrowded with information, in a way that is easily digestible and accessible. I encourage and recommend that my students regularly listen to a range of different podcasts throughout their courses to give them a better understanding of the academic content they are learning and how it can apply to real world scenarios.

So, I encourage you, next time you are on Spotify or iTunes, check out the podcast section and see if there is something that interests you. If you are looking to stay informed on global current affairs, enhance your knowledge about a specific topic or just be inspired by the stories of others, I guarantee you won´t be disappointed.

Professor David Larson - Teaching at American University in Switzerland

Guest Blog Post by David Larson, Professor at AUS

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