Podcasting for corporate training example – how I did it

By | September 12, 2006

I mentioned in a previous post that I was experimenting with [tag]Podcasting[/tag] for [tag]training[/tag] purposes at work. I thought it might be nice to share what I’ve learned so far, the process I went through, and for better or worse, the result.

The point of this exercise was two-fold: to experiment with the technology and tools, and to introduce potential uses of podcasting to a training industry audience focused in a [tag]manufacturing company[/tag]. The original audience all work with me directly, and the script reflects that so there may be some small things that don’t make sense to a general audience. Overall, though, the content is pretty generic.

[By the way, I should mention that neither the script nor my delivery are works of art (especially the latter). This is just a “get the job done” introductory example.]

The process:

After writing the script, I coerced my wife into playing the part of a podcasting expert so I could “interview” her. (You’ll be happy that I did. Aside from the fact that she did an excellent job, it’s just nice to stop listening to me for a while.) I chose the [tag]interview format[/tag] because I wanted to showcase an informal delivery method.

We used Gabcast.com to record the audio over the phone. It was free to open an account, and easy to use. After a couple screw-ups (mine), we recorded a version we could live with.

I took the raw [tag]Gabcast[/tag] [tag]MP3[/tag] file and played with it a bit in an older version of [tag]SoundForge[/tag] until I realized that I had no idea how to use that tool. I’m sure it will be great once I figure it out, but for now I’m using Audacity. It’s free, pretty powerful, and very easy to use.

I cleaned up the audio a little–took out some hiss, messed with the volume, etc.–and added a free music loop I found as an intro and “outro”.

Then I uploaded the new file to my Odeo.com account. [tag]Odeo[/tag] is also free and provides an upload feature, which isn’t available on Gabcast’s free accounts.

The result:

Then I wrote this post, incorporating Google’s [tag]flash audio player[/tag] (below) to point to the Odeo-hosted file. (Odeo automatically inserts a short ad over the first three seconds of the file.)

or download the MP3 file directly.

And there you have it. That might seem to be a lot, but here’s what it boils down to:

  1. Write a script.
  2. Record a phone conversation.
  3. Optionally, edit/enhance the audio file.
  4. Upload the finished version and link to it.

I hope that’s helpful for someone.

It’s worth noting also that in a [tag]corporate environment[/tag] I’d probably not use the free hosting services, if only because we’d want to keep the content internal to the company. Instead, I’d use a phone tap or a VOIP service (or for solo work, a microphone) to get the original recording, then upload the finished version to an intranet site.