Scott Pinzon – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services https://infocus.dellemc.com DELL EMC Global Services Blog Wed, 13 Feb 2019 17:44:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 Why You Should Consider Podcasting for Your Corporate Training https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott_pinzon/why-you-should-consider-podcasting-for-your-corporate-training/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott_pinzon/why-you-should-consider-podcasting-for-your-corporate-training/#comments Wed, 12 Dec 2018 10:00:20 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=36924 The explosive growth in long form podcast listening was years in the making. I was at the gym one day in November 2014 when I realized the breakthrough had happened. As I walked among the rows of cardio machines, seeking an available treadmill, no one was watching their built-in TV. Each cardio exerciser wore earbuds, leading […]

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The explosive growth in long form podcast listening was years in the making. I was at the gym one day in November 2014 when I realized the breakthrough had happened.

As I walked among the rows of cardio machines, seeking an available treadmill, no one was watching their built-in TV. Each cardio exerciser wore earbuds, leading to a phone, which displayed a large S in a black square. All down the row, treadmill after treadmill, S after S after S.

Everyone was listening to the murder mystery / true crime podcast, Serial.

Starting in October 2014, Serial created a sensation, quickly escalating to two million downloads per episode. Episodes from Serial have been downloaded 340 million times, establishing an ongoing world record.

When I hosted my first podcast back in 2006, it seemed only high tech professionals and music hipsters listened to podcasts. But with Serial, podcasting finally broke through from the technorati to the mainstream.

What Do You Mean by “Podcasting”?

Technically, a podcast is audio or video content that people can subscribe to, distributed over the Internet. Here, I’m using “podcasting” sloppily, in the way most people mean it: as audio content that extends across multiple related episodes, consumed via mobile device.

Thus, by definition, a single audio file cannot be a podcast. When you think “podcast,” think episodes.

Seriously? People Listen to Podcasts?

Yep. In the four years since Serial debuted, the amount of US podcast listeners has nearly doubled, from 12% of the population to 24% today [1].The listening audience skews young, with 28% aged 18 – 34 (Gen Z, Millennials) and another 31% aged 35-54 (Millennials, Gen X, Boomers) [2].

Figure 1: Podcast Consumers – Age (Source: Edison Research)

About two-thirds of podcast listeners just began listening in the past three years making podcasts a growth medium. And Forbes describes the growth of podcasting as “limitless,” in part because it’s getting progressively easier to listen. Most new cars have interfaces to facilitate podcast downloads. Podcasts can now play from Apple watches.

Audience numbers for radio are down. Big gorilla advertisers such as Pepsi, Starbucks, Google, and Microsoft have increased their spending on podcast ads. Follow the money!

But What Do Podcasts Have to Do with Learning?

Simple: podcast listeners want to learn.

Research commissioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) asked active podcast listeners, “Why do you listen?” Uniquely among all other media, the number one answer (71% of respondents) was, “To learn, be entertained.” No other medium – news, videos, music, social media – drove that answer to the top.

Further, despite the fact that the average podcast length hits 45 minutes, 85% of people who listen to podcasts listen to the end [3].

Let that sink in for a moment. Why are we tap-dancing ourselves silly tempting audiences to finish a five-minute video, if most of them will gladly listen to us for almost an hour?

If you address a younger audience or a female audience, you really need to consider podcasting. A study by Westwood One found that:

  • The overall podcast audience has been 55% men / 45% women, but the women slice is growing faster. Average listening time for women grew from 4.6 hours per week in 2017, to 5.5 hours per week in 2018.
  • Heavy female podcast listeners are young (66% Millennials), upscale (74% earn more than 75K per year), and married with children (72%).
  • Time spent listening to podcasts, between July 2017 and July 2018, grew in every demographic except Baby Boomers (aged 50+).

Figure 2: Time Spent with Podcasts (Source: Westwood One Podcast Download — Fall 2018)

To most Millennials, podcasting is mainstream. Radio and broadcast TV are fading legacy media.

How Do Podcasts Fit into My Training Curriculum?

Audio podcasts are typically informal, and have no set length. How might that mix into your courseware?

If your new hires typically ask the same few questions, record the answers as one podcast file each at a “snackable” length. New employees can listen to them on their new commute.

Got a sprawling sales line full of products? Field sales people can cram on features, benefits, and answers to objections by listening about a specific product on the drive to their sales call.

Do your instructor-led classes have breakout sessions, where some students finish assignments much faster than others? Have the over-achievers slip in earbuds and keep learning while the others finish up.

Most obviously, you can repurpose the audio content you have. Got click-through eLearning courses, heavy on text and voiceover? If they’re lacking a strong visual component, they’re practically audio content already. Split your audio-video files into audio only, and distribute.

These are just quick examples. The possibilities abound.

Wow! How Do I Start Making Podcasts?

Technical details on how to record and publish podcasts fall outside the scope of this blog, however, here are a couple of helpful resources:

How Do I Write for a Medium if I’m New to It?

Apple confirmed at the June 2018 WWDC that there are 550,000 podcasts, so you have plenty of podcasting role models.

You will mostly learn by doing, but here are practical hints:

  • Treat your podcast like a magazine, with short recurring segments subdividing each episode; nobody wants one long boring ramble.
  • Choosing guests? Don’t book big shots unless they are actually interesting; instead, tap the most charismatic, best explainers in your org.
  • Use stock music liberally for color and verve.
  • However long your first episode runs, trim it by 20% so it is all killer, no filler.
  • Writing for courseware, as opposed to a stand-alone show? It’s okay to cover only one idea per audio file. “When in doubt, cut it out.”

Try these exemplary podcasts:

  • Reply All. A Millennial take on technology and Internet culture, driven by excellent reporting and storytelling. Favorite segments: “Super Tech Support” and “Yes Yes No.”
  • Pop Culture Happy Hour. NPR critics host a lively, exemplary approach to making the “panel discussion” format work.
  • WTF with Marc Maron. From his garage, comedian Maron chats with everyone from Joan Jett to President Barack Obama in a virtuoso display of long-form, in-depth interviewing.
  • Radiolab. This pioneering popular science podcast thoroughly explores the sonic potential of the medium.

And lest we forget…Dell’s podcast:

Trailblazers. Noted biographer Walter Isaacson hosts this examination of how technology that is disruptive may also be uplifting.

Summary

Using addictive storytelling power to debate whether a high school student strangled his 18-year-old girlfriend, Serial kicked off an era when your students consume audio content every week. Since most podcasts listeners are Millennials, and podcast-savvy Gen Z is rushing up right behind them, it’s time to figure out where audio content fits in your corporate training mix. Would you ever release training as a podcast? Do you use audio content now to enrich current courseware? What else are you doing to make your training more mobile-friendly and appealing to younger workers?

I look forward to seeing your comments and would love to learn of your favorite podcasts.

Sources

[1] The Growth of Podcasts and Why It Matters

[2] Convince&Convert: New Demographic Research Shows Who Really Listens to Podcasts

[3] 2018 Infinite Dial Study

Figure 1: Edison Research

Figure 2: Westwood One

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3 Surprising Video Trends that Should Inform Your L&D Strategy https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott_pinzon/3-surprising-video-trends-that-should-inform-your-ld-strategy/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/scott_pinzon/3-surprising-video-trends-that-should-inform-your-ld-strategy/#comments Tue, 09 Oct 2018 09:00:21 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=36278 Imagine a cattle stampede that continues for five years, and you’ve also pictured how the populace has stampeded from text to video. According to YouTube’s Press page, people watched a lot of YouTube video in 2013. In 2014, they watched three times as much as they did in 2013. In 2015, the numbers tripled again. […]

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Imagine a cattle stampede that continues for five years, and you’ve also pictured how the populace has stampeded from text to video. According to YouTube’s Press page, people watched a lot of YouTube video in 2013. In 2014, they watched three times as much as they did in 2013. In 2015, the numbers tripled again.

The masses aren’t merely watching video. They’re turning to online video as their preferred method of learning, whether the topic is how to do math or how to use a chainsaw. This mass transition to educational videos has dragged corporate Learning and Development departments into the video-production business – and if you’re a corporate L&D pro with no background in video, you’re having to glean knowledge along the way.

Formulating Courseware Strategy on Common Knowledge Is a No-go

What’s the approach to formulating a strategy for video-based courseware effectively?

You hear tidbits on trends and “common knowledge” in the industry such as: “A training video can be only five minutes long,” or “Millennials watch training videos on smartphones, but everyone else watches on PC.”

Is such “common knowledge” really… knowledge? Where’s the data that supports these “facts”?

Folklore deserves healthy skepticism.

To plan and gauge our courseware effectively and optimize our customer’s learning experiences, we need firsthand, well-sourced data about how people actually interact with video.

I get such data from Ooyala, a resource that offers broadcasters and premium content providers (such as Vudu, Sky Sports UK, Star India) management tools that help them monetize video content. Ooyala tracks and analyzes the viewing behavior of more than 120,000 anonymized viewers in more than 100 countries, then publishes their findings quarterly. You can download Ooyala’s Global Video Index free and study it yourself.

Defying conventional wisdom, three surprising findings from Ooyala’s most recent report could help you optimize your Learning & Development efforts.

Video Trend #1: Longform Is In on Smartphone, Tablets and PCs

For three of the last five quarters, the majority of video watched online was longform – industry-speak for running times over 20 minutes.

  • Videos running 2-5 minutes account for only 38% of the time spent watching video on smartphones.
  • On tablets, longform accounts for 75% of all video time watched.
  • On PCs, viewers watch longform content to completion a whopping 71% of the time.
  • Viewers watch longform to completion on tablets 61.3% of the time.
  • Viewers watch longform to completion on phones 56.6% of the time.

The takeaway: While many factors determine how long your viewer sticks with you (to name a few: relevance, production quality, their reason for watching), the latest research directly contradicts the rote “knowledge” that viewers leave after a few minutes. Although the video offerings Ooyala measures mostly consist of entertainment, their data reveals that the majority of viewers will complete a 22-minute video if it’s interesting, regardless of subject material.

Questions to consider: How might using a longer format affect the way you subdivide your content? Can your content hold interest that long? Can you identify topics where learning and retention would benefit from not being shoe-horned into five minutes?

Video Trend #2: Mobile Video Is Mainstream Now

In Q1 of 2018, the number of videos viewed on mobile devices was up all over the world. For example, of all video plays in Asia-Pac, 60.7% occurred on mobile devices. EMEA and Latin America hit all-time highs for mobile’s share of video plays.

Mobile video views also rose to being the majority of views in every age demographic, everywhere.

The takeaway: Common knowledge held that mobile viewership was a niche for the young or for early adopters. Now, the majority of all video views occur on a tablet or phone. If you’re still developing courseware primarily for desktop PCs, you’re offering yesterday’s modality to an audience that’s rapidly leaving it. Consider whether your courseware developers should start thinking, “Mobile first.”

Video Trend #3: Streaming Is Overtaking Conventional TV

Sixty percent of all households that have a broadband Internet connection have at least one Streaming Video On Demand (SVOD) service (think Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now). The most rapidly growing segment is “households with four or more services.”

Content creators are scaling up massively to meet the anticipated need for content on demand. Top content providers processed three times as much content in Q1 2018 as they did in Q1 2017. This trend won’t abate as heavyweights such as Apple and Disney race smaller providers to launch new streaming services in 2019.

The takeaway: Consumer culture drives relentlessly toward “get what you want, when you want it.” In that context, how happy are your customers to wait weeks for your five-day training class to roll around again? Businesses that offer customers video training on demand will probably enjoy a growing advantage over competitors offering conventional courseware.

At Dell EMC Education Services, we are working tirelessly to develop an on-demand video learning platform so customers can choose traditional classes, instant video support, or a combination.  We’ve also begun adding interactivity so that viewers can click on a video table of contents, or click within a video to branch to a more in-depth related video. This is the near-term future of learning.

Summary

In times when what “everyone knows” about learning videos might be unfounded, finding a reliable source of data can improve your predictions and planning. Ooyala is not the only source, but it’s free, well-derived, and gives me a refreshing reality check against what I thought I knew. Check out the report for yourself. When it comes to customer behavior, timely trend-spotting can determine whether your training content lands with a thud or a whoop – and whether your fiscal year ends with an oops or a yay!

Please feel free to comment or share your insights with me below.

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