In yet another exciting milestone for Leading Learning, we are thrilled to have officially reached episode 250 of the podcast.
It’s hard to believe that we’ve been doing this for roughly five years at this point and have grown from zero listeners to more than 7,000 downloads a month!
In this turning-point episode, we express our tremendous gratitude to everyone who has made the podcast possible. We also focus on input received from listeners that we think would be valuable to all learning businesses and the entire Leading Learning community.
Finally, we share some recent reviews of the show submitted through Apple Podcasts as well as touch on our plans for the podcast going forward.
To tune in, just click below. To make sure you catch all of the future episodes, be sure to subscribe by RSS, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher Radio, iHeartRadio, PodBean, or any podcatcher service you may use (e.g., Overcast). And, if you like the podcast, be sure to give it a tweet!
Listen to the Show
Read the Show Notes
[00:18] – As a starting point for this episode some thank-yous are in order.
We’re incredibly grateful to each and every listener who has made the podcast possible.
We’re also thankful for the numerous sponsors who have helped to underwrite the cost of producing the podcast week over week.
And, of course, we owe thank-yous to the many guests who have generously given of their time to be interviewed. We’ve been fortunate to be joined by a range of intelligent, insightful people who have shared their knowledge and expertise with the learning business community.
Note that if you go to leadinglearning.com/podcast, you will find a selection of some of the most popular past episodes as well as a link to access a clickable list of every one of the 250 episodes we have published to date, including all of the interviews.
Finally, very special thanks to Jackie Harman, a less visible but essential member of our Leading Learning Podcast triumvirate. Every week she is the one responsible for putting together the very thorough show notes for each episode.
We’ve heard on many occasions from people who find the show notes highly valuable, and they really go well beyond what you find available for most podcasts.
We encourage you to always check out the show notes for every episode because Jackie does a great job capturing not only the key points and resources covered in each episode but also adding relevant resources that are not covered in the episodes.
We are truly grateful to Jackie for the effort she has put into them over the years. Thank you, Jackie!
Now, we should probably highlight what we have in mind for this episode beyond expressing our gratitude. We have done milestone episodes in the past—specifically, for episodes 100, 150, and 200—in which we have shared our perspectives and lessons learned from doing the show.
For this episode, we thought we would focus less on our perspective and more on input we have received from listeners.
In advance of this episode, we reached out to ask listeners for their questions and comments, and we want to highlight some of what we got back as we think it may be very valuable for the whole Leading Learning Podcast audience to hear what’s on their peers’ minds right now.
We’ll also share some of what we have heard recently through reviews of the show submitted through Apple Podcasts, and then, finally, we’ll touch on our plans for the podcast going forward.
[03:15] – So maybe a good place to start is to highlight a couple of the reviews we have gotten recently for the show.
Reviews and ratings are something we always bring up at the end of each episode, and we’re really grateful to the people who take just a moment to leave them. Ratings and reviews help us gauge whether we’re succeeding in providing value, and the reviews, in particular, help us understand what it is that listeners find valuable about the show.
You can usually leave a review on whatever site or app you use for listening to podcasts, but because Apple Podcasts is still by far the most popular podcast channel at this point, we encourage listeners to leave ratings and reviews there.
To do that, all you have to do is go to leadinglearning.com/apple, and that will put you in the right place.
One of the reviews we have gotten there recently is from Todd Slater, who gives the show five stars and writes:
Informative and actionable. I listen often and find the content relevant to the challenges we are facing today. I am able to implement many of the ideas discussed, which is a great value for me. You will also find the show is produced well, and show notes are a great reference. I highly recommend making this part of your learning routine.
Many thanks to Todd for that review.
Here’s another one from Bhaskar, who says:
I want to really thank Celisa and Jeff for the years of dedication and congratulate them for the body of work they’ve created. The sheer quantum of work that must go into this, the research to be done before each episode, and the detailing in the show notes is just mind-blowing. You should rename yourself—The Learning University 🙂 Thanks again, and congratulations!
Many thanks to Bhaskar, not just for appreciation of the show, but also for recognizing that a great deal of work does, indeed, go into it.
Again, you can leave a review here and we would be truly grateful.
[05:19] – It’s great to hear from listeners through reviews, but as we mentioned above, we also did some outreach before this milestone episode to ask listeners for questions and comments related to the show and to the learning business in general.
Our thanks and gratitude go to Carol, Cindy, Cary, Cesar, Jim, Jack, Jennifer, Nancy, Andrea, Micène, and others who took time to respond when we reached out.
Three major themes emerged from the input we got, and we thought it would be useful to highlight those themes and some of the specific comments that underlie them as a way for listeners to enhance their sense of what is top of mind for peers out in the learning business world.
[06:01] – Probably to no one’s surprise, we heard from a number of listeners about virtual events and virtual conferences.
We have, of course, seen an explosion of activity in this area since the COVID-19 pandemic has forced most organizations to either cancel their face-to-face events or take them online.
It’s an area we’ve been researching and writing about since at least 2011, and we’ve dedicated a number of episodes both recently and in the past to virtual conferences and events.
Given its importance for learning businesses, it’s an area we expect to continue to address more or less directly on the podcast for the foreseeable future.
Be sure to check out the virtual events resource center on this site. It is full of valuable resources for anyone who offers or plans to offer a virtual conference.
And note that all of our resources are meant to complement The Virtual Conferences Report that provides data, in-depth analysis, and case studies for the rapidly evolving trend of virtual conferences, and trades shows, and other virtual events.
One area we are specifically watching right now is hybrid events—that is, events that combine a face-to-face and an online component.
There seems to be an emerging consensus that hybrid represents the future of conferences, but we are skeptical, particularly in cases where people have in mind face-to-face and online taking place at the same time.
Most organizations don’t yet fully appreciate the cost and complexity of this approach—at least if it is truly done professionally and in a way that is likely to support effective learning.
What may be more likely is mining the best content from a face-to-face event and presenting it as a separate, later virtual conference.
But in most cases, organizations—especially smaller organizations—are likely to get better results and a better return on investment by concentrating on their virtual conferences as distinct, separately produced events.
Transitioning Effectively from F2F to Online
[08:04] – Related to, but bigger than, the issue of virtual conferences and events is the whole issue of moving face-to-face content online in a way that results in effective learning. That’s a critical need these days, whether we’re talking about transitioning events or classes.
One listener who wrote in sees this challenge from two perspectives.
The first is the current need for very rapid redesign and implementation. She notes that her organization “had less than four weeks to transition an in-person event to a virtual one”—a situation that no doubt sounds familiar to many listeners.
Beyond that first challenge, though, she sees a second, longer-term challenge and asks, “[N]ow that we have a new ‘normal’ and are expected to deliver content virtually, how do we take a look at our typical in-person curriculum and redesign/rethink a new way to structure the content effectively?”
Another listener similarly asks about “the most effective way to take in-person, experiential classes to a meaningful virtual delivery method.”
We’ll note that these are not new challenges.
They have become much more pressing because of current circumstances, but for many organizations, achieving real learning success online has always been somewhat elusive.
In fact, one listener wrote in that he has never really experienced a highly effective online course and that he is longing for what he calls “an exemplar of a fantastic continuing education course that really supports lasting knowledge translating into practice, that’s reasonably doable from a development and technology standpoint, and that’s solidly positive ROI.”
The good news in all of this is that extensive research shows that e-learning can be as effective or more effective than face-face—that’s a topic we addressed in our recent episode, Is E-learning Effective?.
And we’ve had a number of guests on the show who are leading thinkers and advisers in exactly what it takes to make e-learning experiences—or for that matter, any type of learning experiences—effective.
Cathy Moore, Julie Dirksen, and, most recently, Diane Elkins are just a few of the experts we’ve interviewed who provide valuable guidance on how to apply scientifically based principles to your learning design and development.
See below for related podcast episodes:
- Action Mapping and Activity Design with Cathy Moore
- Design for How People Learn with Julie Dirksen
- E-Learning Uncovered with Diane Elkins
- Building Interactive, Fun, and Effective e-Learning with Michael Allen
- Is E-learning Effective?
- The eLearning Hype Curve with Andy Hicken of Web Courseworks
Again, this is a critical area for learning businesses, and we expect to continue to address it, more and less directly, on the podcast for the foreseeable future.
Our Changed and Changing World
[10:51] – The third thematic area we want to highlight is one that has been very much on our minds lately but that we’ve addressed only to a limited extent so far on the podcast.
It’s what we might characterize as our changed and changing world.
We have in mind the significant social and economic unrest that is impacting our lives and our work.
Racial inequity is one of the central issues, and it’s one we are grappling with personally, and—as might be expected—it is clearly on the minds of listeners.
One listener shared, for example, that it is “hard not to think about racism in our profession, the professions we serve, and what our role is, given that learning businesses provide so much education to adult learners. How can we establish lasting processes and systems that very purposefully seeks to address those issues?”
Another listener asks, “How do we center racial equity?” and also—making it clear inequity is not confined only to race, she adds, “How do we center accessibility?”
Both of these listeners also comment on current economic circumstances, both for individuals and for organizations.
Pointing to the many people who have built their livelihoods on F2F teaching opportunities that are now disappearing, one asks “How do we help our colleagues who are being left behind by COVID?”
The other wonders how to “bolster resilience in your learning business in anticipation of the impending financial depression.”
Another listener points to the challenges that learners may be facing as they try to adapt to a level of change that COVID-19 has accelerated. “How do we best stay nimble now as educators of professionals,” she asks, “given the forces that have not only changed how our learners learn, but in some cases what they have to learn?”
As with the challenges of transitioning to online, many of the socioeconomic challenges we are facing right now are hardly new, but they have reached a much higher level of awareness and urgency in our current circumstances, and clearly all individuals and organizations must take steps to address them.
That applies to learning businesses and learning business professionals as much as anyone else. And, we should add, podcast hosts too!
We really have to turn the lens on ourselves, as podcast hosts and as people in the learning business.
We don’t currently know of specific data to reference—that is something we will be looking for or possibly even collecting ourselves going forward—but, just based on experience and observation, it seems clear that we are nowhere near an appropriate level of racial equity in the learning business.
And we have been having discussions recently with potential collaborators in addressing the lack of accessibility for people with disabilities that pervades online learning in particular.
The vast majority of online learning platforms really do not address accessibility issues effectively. And too many learning businesses aren’t aware of the issues, much less how to address them.
The economic issues, too, are very real.
It does seem very likely that we are in for even harder times financially as we feel the full impact of business cutbacks in the wake COVID-19.
Even without that, though, we were clearly already in a time in which so many of the people we serve as learning businesses are reeling from shifts we have been experiencing in the world of work.
In many ways, the widespread need for upskilling and reskilling represents an opportunity for learning businesses, but our view is that it also represents a clear responsibility. We have a responsibility to serve our learners well, to provide them with truly effective learning experiences that meet the challenges we have right now, and that definitely means learning to do it effectively online.
[15:15] – These are all areas we plan to engage with more deeply as move forward with the podcast, and this is probably a good time to talk about what “moving forward” may look like.
To keep our options open, we’re going to be a little light on details, but we can say with certainty that the show will feel different when we hit episode 251.
One thing we have learned over time is that podcasts offer a lot of flexibility—from length, to format, to how the content is organized and structured within episodes and over time.
We feel part of our value to you as a listener is to continue to experiment with the possibilities and share the results.
Also, given that we are living in a time of so much change, it seems appropriate to step back and reflect on the best way to move forward.
To make that possible, we are going to take a break from producing new weekly episodes so that we can take time to reflect and plan.
Our aim will be to return with new episodes in October, possibly with a brief episode or two in the interim to update you on our status.
In the meantime, check out all of our past episodes where you will also see the options to subscribe.
[16:46] – Wrap-Up
If you are not yet subscribed to the Leading Learning podcast, please consider subscribing by RSS, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher Radio, iHeartRadio, PodBean, or any podcatcher service you may use (e.g., Overcast). This will enable you to conveniently access each episode through a phone or other mobile device and—once you’ve got episodes on that device—it’s yet another way to easily peruse and access past episodes, and it’s the best way to know immediately when we return to releasing new episodes.
We’d also appreciate if you give us a rating on Apple Podcasts by going to https://www.leadinglearning.com/apple. We referenced a couple recent reviews in this episode and, of course, those reviews didn’t just magically appear. The people who wrote them took a few minutes out of their day to share their appreciation for what they feel is a valuable resource. If you find Leading Learning valuable, we hope you, too, will take just a few minutes to let us know.
Finally, consider following us and sharing the good word about Leading Learning. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. We use those channels to highlight new and past episodes of the podcast and also to share a range of resources to help you continue to grow and improve your learning business. Pick your favorite and follow us today.
We also encourage you to use the hashtag #leadinglearning on each of those channels. However you do it, please do follow us and help spread the word about Leading Learning.
[19:16] – Sign off