The Impact of Open Learning Podcasts on Publishing

The following article examines the influence of open learning podcasts on publishing and online income earning.

Podcasts are essentially an audio (or video) equivalent of the text based blogging. Similarly, to regular blogging, also the episodes of the podcasts can easily be subscribed to and automatically downloaded to end user’s mobile or standalone player.

A regular audio and video blogging (podcasting) is an excellent example of a freely available web 2.0 technology that is actively used in the process of learning, sometimes referred to as ‘online education.’

Research into student adoption of podcasts indicates that “podcasts are used in a variety of ways on college campuses” (Kardong-Edgren & Emerson, 2010), which suggests that students exhibit a certain preference to study by using the audio and video material already. I suspect that this is likely because of the ease of incorporating podcasts into their daily routines.

The vast availability of free courses and online audio and video tutoring material can be demonstrated by doing a simple online search. For instance, while Amazon.com search for PHP textbooks returns less than 13 thousand results (Amazon.com, 2017); Figure 1 illustrates that a YouTube search for the keyword term “PHP tutorial” returns 14 times the amount of learning video material (186 thousand free PHP programming tutorials).

Figure 1 – YouTube Search for term “PHP tutorial” (Jozef Jarosciak)

While not entirely measurable, I suspect that the ease of acquiring the freely available educational audio and video podcasts will likely create the undesirable future effect on the ability of academics to earn revenue from publishing textbooks; and possibly also negatively influence the entire textbook publishing market.

Suggestions for Educators

In my view, the educators and textbook publishers whose revenues are undesirably impacted by the availability of free schooling podcasts could take hints from online podcasting itself. According to Jason Feifer, the editor-in-chief at Entrepreneur magazine ”The best-branded content isn’t about a brand. To successfully promote a business, a podcast must be non-promotional.“ (Feifer, 2017).

Implementing the product recommendation as part of the educational text would expectedly be frown upon by most academics, due to advertisements rarely being the part of the scholastic textbooks. However, the product recommendations that assist the topic understanding may, in my view, be the good thing that benefits not only the author but the vendor as well as the student (the end user). The targeted partnership via the product vendor recommendation could perhaps become a viable way to earn the income from publishing in the future.

Another possible hint could perhaps be taken from a gaming industry, where according to Telegraph.co.uk (2017), “the game trailers emerged as an important part of a publisher’s strategy.”

The video and audio podcasts recommending the textbooks could conceivably be implemented as a tactical approach to increase the future sales as well. The recommendation is not a new strategy. According to Guasco (2003) “Creative instructors can provide video clips and audio lessons, ” and textbook publishers already bundle such resources as part of the books as an effective plan to increase sale revenues.

References

Kardong-Edgren, S., & Emerson, R. (2010). Student adoption and perception of lecture podcasts in the undergraduate bachelor of science in nursing courses. Journal of Nursing Education, 49(7), 398-401.

Guasco, M. J. (2003). Building the better textbook: The promises and perils of e-publication. The Journal of American History, 89(4), 1458-1462.

Amazon.com. (2017). Amazon.com: php: Books. [online] Available at: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=php&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Aphp [Accessed 9 Sep. 2017].

Feifer, J. (2017). How to Make Money With a Podcast. [online] Entrepreneur. Available at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/290441 [Accessed 9 Sep. 2017].

Telegraph.co.uk. (2017). Ten years ago, a video-sharing site called YouTube was born. Then, this happened. [online] Available at: http://s.telegraph.co.uk/graphics/projects/youtube/ [Accessed 9 Sep. 2017].

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