S11 E6: Flexible and On-the-Go Learning

Disability services committed to continuous learning and adaptability which are crucial for driving positive change, may have a tool under their fingers that’s being overlooked. As technology evolves, so do the media at our disposal and one such medium is an in-house podcast. This approach not only transforms the way disability services disseminate information but also fosters flexible and on-the-go learning, empowering individuals and their organisation to thrive.

The Need for Flexibility in Learning

Disability services operate in diverse environments, addressing complex psychological, behavioural and medical issues. In such a context, traditional learning methods may prove rigid and insufficient in meeting the dynamic challenges faced by these organisations.

The Challenges of Traditional Learning

Time Constraints 

Disability services professionals often juggle multiple responsibilities, making it challenging to allocate specific time for traditional training sessions or workshops.

Geographical Barriers

Disability services frequently work across different regions and more often nowadays, different states in Australia, creating logistical challenges for organising in-person training events. Even within states, the transport challenges can be severe and who’s going to cover the shifts when staff are not on the ground?

Diverse Learning Styles 

Individuals within disability services have as many varied learning preferences as there are staff. Traditional methods may not cater to everyone’s needs nor be available when the staff member has the time to study.

In-House Podcasts: Flexible Learning

An in-house podcast addresses the shortcomings of traditional learning methods by providing flexible, accessible and on-the-go educational opportunities.

Tailored Content for disability services

One of the key benefits of in-house podcasts is the ability to tailor content specifically to the needs and objectives of services. Podcast episodes can cover a wide range of topics, including training.gov.au modules, project management best practices, updates on policy changes and insights from experienced professionals in the field. Guest presenters, experts in their discipline, past students passing on their learning tempered by the reality on the ground and professional teachers are all options in this space.

Tailored content ensures that learning materials are directly relevant to the challenges and goals facing the service, making each episode, module and lesson, a valuable resource for skill development and knowledge enhancement.

Flexibility in Learning Schedules

The busy nature of disability services work often means that professionals may not have dedicated time for lengthy training sessions. in-house podcasts offer the flexibility to learn at one’s own pace and convenience. Professionals can listen to episodes during commutes, breaks or any other times that suits their schedule, eliminating the need for rigid training schedules.

This adaptability allows disability services professionals to integrate learning seamlessly into their daily routines, enhancing the overall efficiency of the organisation by fostering continuous improvement. It is worth remembering that an rss feed can be used for more than audio. Depending upon the podcast app because not all permit this but most do, you can produce video podcast episodes as well as audio. So if you need to show how to use a piece of software, say, a video might be the answer. Perhaps even less known is the facility to send pdf files through an rss feed. Combining all three modalities will be the subject of an entire later episode but it is worth knowing the full options available.

Overcoming Geographical Barriers

Disability services operate on ever increasing scales. The NDIS drive to homogeneity being one of the drivers for this effect. This being the case, having everyone in the one room at the same time can be challenging. Whilst Zoom and Zoom’s poor second cousin, Teams meetings are a way around this, the need for time coordination can still be an issue. With an in-house podcast, geographical and temporal barriers cease to be an issue. Team members from various locations can access the same learning materials in a timely manner.

Multimodal Learning Approaches

Recognizing the diverse learning styles within disability services, in-house podcasts can incorporate various formats to cater to different preferences. Episodes can include interviews, case studies, expert panels and even interactive elements to engage listeners actively.

By offering a multimodal learning experience, podcasts appeal to auditory, visual and kinesthetic learners alike, ensuring that information is absorbed effectively. This versatility contributes to a more inclusive learning environment, accommodating the diverse needs of disability services professionals and their organisations.

On-the-Go Learning for disability services Professionals

Mobile Accessibility

Podcasts can be easily accessed through smartphones or other mobile devices, allowing professionals to engage with content while in transit, during periods of downtime or dedicated elearning periods. Whether commuting to work, doing the dishes, hanging out the washing or walking the dog, professionals can stay connected to their organisation’s learning initiatives.

Continuity in Learning

The ability to learn on the go ensures continuity in the learning process. Staff can seamlessly transition from the office to private time dedicated to self education without disrupting their educational journey. This flexibility contributes to a culture of continuous learning, where knowledge acquisition is not confined to specific locations or timeframes.

Real-time Updates and Information

Disability services operate in constantly changing regulatory environments where staying informed about the latest developments is crucial. An in-house podcast facilitates the dissemination of real-time updates, ensuring that staff are equipped with the most current information relevant to their work.

This real-time accessibility is particularly valuable for disability services responding to emergencies or rapidly changing situations, allowing teams to stay informed and make informed decisions on the ground. See Season 11 episode 4: Resilient Responses in a Crisis for more detail on this aspect of an in-house podcast!

Building a Knowledge-Sharing Culture

An in-house podcast not only provides a platform for individual learning but also contributes to building a knowledge-sharing culture within a disability service.

Facilitating Knowledge Exchange

Podcast episodes can feature interviews with experts, success stories from programs and insights from colleagues. This knowledge exchange fosters a sense of community and collaboration, enabling professionals to learn from each other’s experiences and expertise. This also assists with maintaining a de-siloed working culture. Information flows across possible departmental barriers. Positive client outcomes from one SIL cluster become a planning tool for other clusters, spreading the effects across the organisation.

Strengthening Team Cohesion

An in-house elearning podcast serves as a unifying force within a service, providing a shared platform for learning and discussion. Whether team members are working in the same office or across different sites, a podcast creates a virtual space where everyone can come together to share knowledge, insights and best practices. The tone of delivery needs to be consistent across the elearning episodes and the style guide discussed in Season 11 Episode 5: Building a Consistent Organisational Voice will be invaluable.

Overcoming Technological Barriers

While the benefits of in-house podcasts are vast, it’s crucial to address potential technological barriers that may exist within disability services.

User-Friendly Platforms

Selecting user-friendly podcast platforms is essential to ensure that professionals with varying levels of technological proficiency can easily access and navigate the content. Platforms that offer intuitive interfaces and clear instructions contribute to a seamless learning experience. I use Overcast in the Apple ecosystem and hear very good reports on Podcast Addict for Android devices.

Conclusion: A Transformative Learning Journey for disability services

An in-house podcast is a secure, powerful and extremely low cost tool for internal elearning. Allowing flexible consumption of teaching material in visual, auditory and written form, the wonder is that more organisations aren’t using this medium to keep their people up to date, qualified and part of the continuous learning movement.

The next episode in season 11 is about just how cost effective an in-house elearning podcast can be! 

If you’ve found any value in this episode, please tell someone about it. It really is the best way to help spread the word about this show and all such referrals are deeply appreciated. 

In Show Links

S11E4: Resilient Responses in a Crisis


S11E5: Building a Consistent Organisational Voice


Overcast podcatcher for Apple:


Podcast Addict podcatcher for Android: