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Podcasts for educational purposes have received growing interest both as teaching practitioner tools and as a broadcasting medium for facilitating debate among educators (Cook, 2023). Podcast listening in the UK as a whole reached an estimated 21.2 million listeners in 2022. The Advance HE UK annual conference in 2023 included themed sessions dedicated to educational podcasting and this year sees the launch of the Education through Podcasting conference series.

But why do educational podcasts warrant this level of interest and discussion?

In this blog post we summarise key reflections that emerged during a podcast on podcasting, produced for the ‘FE Research Podcast’ series. To discuss podcasting, what better way to begin ones thinking than with a podcast? In the episode, we discuss the range of educational applications and functions afforded by academic podcasting while also considering the possibilities and pitfalls. The discussion was framed with reference to the text, Scholarly Podcasting (see Cook, 2023).

Here we present four of the many themes that emerged during that conversation.

The term ‘podcasting’ evokes plural meanings and applications. ‘Podcasting’ conjures up modern-day associations of a hosted, dialogic format involving a core audience. However, educational podcasts come in diverse forms, including podcasts produced by teaching practitioners for learners (Conroy & Kidd, 2023), by learners for teachers (for instance as summative assessment) by students for each other (for instance as peer-supportive resources) and by teachers for other teachers (for instance as professional learning). Podcasts can also involve synergies between learners and teachers that work well as a medium for co-constructed initiatives (see for example Ferrer et al., 2020).

Podcasting holds the potential to liberate knowledge and democratise engagement. Podcasts, as ‘on the go’, portable resources, offer a level of accessibility and inclusiveness for consumers that purely print-based work in the form of articles and books or other products may not afford. For example, learners may write essays to demonstrate critical understanding and, similarly, researchers may communicate study findings through a conventionally organised research report. Podcasts upend these traditions and present the possibilities – to teachers, learners and researchers alike – of a new relationship with text, or rethinking text as the primary means of communicating with audiences. Podcasts also democratise engagement by being ‘less about the producer and more about the receiver’. Debate prompted by a podcast broadcast may be equally if not more valuable than the podcast recording itself.

‘Debate prompted by a podcast broadcast may be equally if not more valuable than the podcast recording itself.’

Will podcasts ever be considered to have an equivalent weight and validity to written text as academic products? There are fundamental differences between podcasting and print mediums which hold implications for how ideas are developed, organised and delivered. Podcasts are, by design, perhaps more likely to be listened to from start to finish with attention to qualities such as intonation, speaker volume and sonic pauses. By contrast, conventional academic products such as books and articles may be skim read for gist with attention only to sections necessary for immediate requirements. But are times changing? Podcasting has grown to achieve a new currency for communicating and discussing ideas – perhaps the time will come when printed forms of communication will struggle to keep up the pace?

Podcasts provide a modality for educators to model uncertainty and risk taking. Learning, almost inherently, involves taking risks. We risk our time and energies by engaging in the process of learning. Clearly, no two podcasts will be identical. Some podcasts are highly structured and edited, some not, but most podcasts involve some degree of working through ideas, alone or in dialogue with others. All podcasts involve breaking some degree of anonymity by sharing the tone and character of our individual voice with an audience. But perhaps exposing these parts of ourselves is part of what podcasts have to offer; as teaching practitioners, for example, we can draw on the podcasting format to model engagement with and uncertainty about the learning process. Perhaps podcasts can allow us to address learning anxiety by showing our learners that thinking and articulation can be fruitfully cyclical and iterative, not permanent and linear.

We hope that this blog post connects with educator colleagues who use, or are considering using, podcasts in their teaching, their research and in their wider scholarly activities. Through cross-institutional, cross-sector and cross-disciplinary collaboration and discussion, now is an exciting time to discover and explore the potentials of podcasts and podcasting in our communities of practice.


Conroy, D., & Kidd, W. (2023). Using podcasts to cultivate learner–teacher rapport in higher education settings. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 60(6), 861–871.

Cook, I. M. (2023). Scholarly podcasting: Why, what, how? Routledge.

Ferrer, I., Lorenzetti, L., & Shaw, J. (2020). Podcasting for social justice: Exploring the potential of experiential and transformative teaching and learning through social work podcasts. Social Work Education, 39(7), 849–865.