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Podcasting is one of the most exciting new forms of communicating to an audience to have emerged in recent years. Many types of businesses as well as the government and people in education have started to discover the advantages of delivering their messages to their listeners at a time and in a place that suits them.

Any time of the day or night and, literally, wherever you like – at home, travelling or even whilst on holiday – listening to podcasts is the most current way to keep up with the latest news, your favourite radio program or, more usefully, complete that training course you have been meaning to get around to sometime soon. You can learn at a pace that suits you and can listen to a topic again and again as many times as you wish.

Podcasts are audio (mp3) files made available over the internet but more importantly subscribers to a particular podcast are notified when the latest topic becomes available and it will be automatically downloaded.

Although many people use an iPod to listen to a podcast and the origins of the podcast name is associated with Apple's ubiquitous mp3 player (and, of course, the word broadcasting) you can, in fact, use any mp3 player or, indeed listen to the podcast through a computer or laptop or even your phone.

Of course, with respect to training courses it is perfectly possible for study guides and course manuals to be emailed to those signed up for the course for remote independent study. Or the same information can be made available on the training company's website but podcasts simplify access to learning.

No computer or internet connection is required (once the initial download is done) and additional emails do not clutter up already overloaded inboxes.Instead those people subscribed to a course become part of a community who are automatically notified of each new topic as it becomes available.

In education and training, podcasts are an extremely effective way of demonstrating passion and conviction on a certain subject, because verbal communication can provide emphasis in a way that the written word cannot. It is also easier to reinforce important aspects of a subject through the more informal verbal style of communicating typically used in podcasts compared to other forms of distance learning and e-learning.

So a verbal form of providing a training course can in many ways be more beneficial than written guides and can be especially appealing to some people. Many people actually learn better when they hear a subject than when they read it in a book.

Although the term podcasting comes in part from the word broadcasting, it is technically a form of what is called narrowcasting because the listeners have subscribed to the podcast. The communication is to a small niche community whose requirements are known, rather than to a broad audience such as in the broadcast of a radio program.

So for all those busy professionals whose schedules make it difficult to find time to attend a classroom-based course, podcasts are the route to stimulating new learning and ideas in your chosen field, to enhancing your professional skills and improving your career prospects with professional training qualifications.

They are in inexpensive alternative to traditional training courses and mean that organisations without a large training budget can still motivate and retain staff by giving them the opportunity to develop in their career.

Some of the best podcast training courses use 2 instructors presenting the course to ensure there is a natural flow of dialogue that retains the students' interest. They also provide study guides with each topic containing additional material and exercises to be completed to reinforce the subject being learnt. An online community is almost always established where issues and problems can be discussed with expert course tutors and with other like-minded course participants.

Studying for a business qualification using podcasts is becoming increasingly popular. This attractive, inexpensive alternative to traditional classroom courses is a great use of limited spare time. You can study at your own pace, walking in the countryside or lying on the beach, and it will increase your motivation and improve your career prospects.

Podcast training courses are available for a huge range of subjects from modern languages, Accountancy, Continuing Professional Development for Lawyers, Project Management Courses and a wide range of other business skills courses.