Everything old is new again.
In fall 2021, after months of everyone being online and staying physically apart due to the pandemic, we had a hunch that how we typically offer professional development to the post-secondary sector at BCcampus was ready for a change. Based on our experience from past micro-learning offerings such as the 12 Apps of Christmas, FLO MicroCourses, the BCcampus Online Book Club, and the award-winning Open Education Challenge, we created the Lunchable Learning radio show.
Post by Helena Prins, Leva Lee and Harper Friedman
The goal of Lunchable Learning was to provide B.C. post-secondary educators with professional learning using an old but familiar technology in a new and fun way that explored and modeled digital literacy and a curious, experimental mindset. Our web-streamed radio show aimed to:
- Raise awareness of current hot topics in B.C. post-secondary education.
- Feature guest interviews with individuals from the post-secondary sector.
- Highlight tools and tips for teaching and group facilitation.
- Encourage experiments with teaching and learning strategies through challenge activities.
- Provide resources on show topics for listeners to read and explore further.
Eight months and 28 shows later, what a learning journey it’s been! This passion project led to lots of learning, professional and personal. We analyzed data from our website (number of page views), statistics from live and recorded programs, and anecdotal feedback received through the project to reveal these key takeaways:
- Audio as a learning modality is well liked, and many listeners responded positively to our conversations and musical touches, which they found engaging and often joyful.
- The synchronous nature of a live web-streamed radio show was difficult for our target audience to participate in, even when offered over the lunch period.
- Focus questions and small call-to-action challenges as part of our micro-learning process did not easily translate to listener participation. We need to better understand what motivates listeners to do an activity and share it (e.g., How can we make learning easily visible? What is the tipping point of value for time invested on professional development?)
- We learned to model digital courage by just doing and learning. As with any new thing or skill, our goal was to iterate toward “perfection” or gaining proficiency. (Leva)
- Audio for learning helps with cognitive load for both speaker and listener. It allows you to focus on the content of what is said; listen carefully for meaning and nuance as there is less distraction. (Leva)
- The opportunity to interview more than 20 talented, passionate, interesting guests provided a tremendous opportunity for relationship building in the sector. While Lunchable Learning did not establish a dedicated community of listeners, as hosts our community expanded and relationships deepened. (Helena)
- The workflow of producing a radio show is specific to an individual. The way to set up software as well as pre- and post-production differed among individuals but could be aligned with their process. (Harper)
- We learned how to teach audio tech to others by documenting a comprehensive step-by-step process. (Harper)
- Even if this radio show does not continue in its present form, we’ve paved the way for many other people who are interested in audio and provided an example of how it can be done. Many co-workers have reached out with ideas for other audio projects or have sought advice on their own audio projects. (Harper)
A Radio Show Toolkit
Our radio show was comprised of a small team of two hosts and a technical producer. An offshoot of the project was the opportunity to cross-train and share our learning with colleagues. We did this by putting in place a “pass the mic” series, where we invited colleagues to co-host and co-create radio programming with us. We created a How-To Toolkit [PDF] to share the technical requirements for using the DS106 radio platform to host a web-streamed show. In all, we gained much experience as a team in the logistics of weekly program offerings, the selection of appropriate SOCAN licensing, the use of Zoom for interviews, and the importance of reliable data analytics to help us evaluate our work.
On May 30 we held the final show of the Lunchable Learning pilot program. All episodes of Lunchable Learning continue to be available online, and we plan to make them available via podcast, where we hope to extend our reach to on-the-go listeners. As a team we will continue to offer live radio shows as a community engagement piece for scheduled events, workshops, and conferences. Stay tuned for more news on exciting and new audio learning experiences with BCcampus this fall.
Quotes from Listeners
“Thank you, Sarah and BCcampus friends. I wasn’t able to make the live session but am enjoying the recording now and have taken up the challenge to take at least 10 minutes a day for self-care … beyond hygiene routines. 🙂 Thanks also for the resources. I’m going to share this great link with my colleagues, family, and friends.”
“I just listened your last Wednesday Lunchable podcast. So great. Thank you for bringing this to us all!”
“I wasn’t able to listen because I was in an all-day meeting. My mum listened, though, and (inevitably) loved it! And a co-worker gave me good feedback as well. He said the hosts were so great! 😊 I would love to have a link to the recording for my own listening and to share with my colleagues.”
“What an amazing show that was. Everything flowed, and it was very compelling. Love how you tied it all together! Send my gratitude to Harper and Olaolu, who made such fantastic contributions. It rocked!”
“I found the radio show to be such an upbeat and innovative way to start the day. I could never have anticipated how much I would enjoy that.”
“The morning radio was a great start to each day.”
“I enjoyed the pre-workshop radio show and the music.”
“I enjoyed the radio show! Great idea.”
“The radio show is a great tool for engagement and community building.”
“Loved the morning radio show and welcome and opening remarks — a great way to boost energy and also centre us for the day.”