The impact that e-learning has had on the workplace over the last 20 years is paramount. From video-conferencing to desktop Webinars, business has included technology and distance learning solutions in its model of human resource development. However audio and video podcasting as mobile learning stands to provide a very different dimension of distance learning. Instead of being restrained and constrained to a desktop or conference room, professional learning truly can be “anytime, anywhere.” From the office, to the gym, the shopping mall, to the beach, veteran professionals and young adults alike are exploring how to use mobile technology to improve their personal and professional learning. This article provides a background on this wave of mobile learning, including how podcasting has arisen, lessons learned, and growing trends. In addition, it examines issues that face HRIS (human resources information system), e-HRM (electronic human resource management system), individuals and professionals within mobile learning. Podcasts are digital audio files, which are hosted on the Internet and published via a special scripting language. Podcasts are usually produced in a series, so that there are more than one episode and the scripting language, XML (extensible markup language) and RSS (really simple syndication), enables updates of the series to be sent to the listener’s computer or wireless device automatically (King & Gura, 2007). This article begins with an introduction to the topic of podcasting and podcasting as mobile learning. The background section provides a detailed definition of this emergent technology and usage, while later the discussion turns to the critical issue of copyright and podcasting. Considering the forms and possibilities for professional learning through this mobile technology is a vital component of this article before we turn to the lively topic of trends in new and social media, which includes podcasting. The conclusion of the article brings us full circle as we consider how this fits together for podcasting as mobile learning.
The greater realm of podcasting gained its roots in a movement originally dubbed “The Voice of the People,” “Democratization of the Media,” and “Radio on Demand,” when it emerged on the broader public technology scene in 2004. Dave Winer and Adam Curry discussed using the Web, XML, and RSS formats to deliver audio and video in 2001 (Lafferty & Walch, 2006). Winer created the technology, but it was Curry who popularized the format in 2004 with the release of the software iPodder and the launch of his podcast The Daily Source Code (Lafferty et al., 2006). There was a synergy in audience, content, and identity: Adam Curry was known in the popular media as a former host on cable television’s MTV (Music Television) (Newitz, 2005), and much of the early audio podcasting movement was focused on music.
In reality podcasting is more than broadcasted “radio shows,” as they are Web-based, served up by RSS feeds and capable of being mobile. However, there was a critical point of adoption in the technology of podcasts. The audience and budding podcasters identified with being their own radio show hosts or disc jockeys: they were in a position of power. And in the now familiar language of Web 2.0 technologies, they were “creators of content” (eMarketer, 2007; King et al., 2007)
Key Terms in this Chapter
Course Casting: In 2008, this term is still primarily used to refer to the process of recording lectures or special events and then broadcasting them via a Web portal or podcast without any editing.
ID3 Tags: Metadata file information following the conventions of the which is integrated into a file’s properties ( O’Neill, 2006 ). It is most commonly used with MP3 and audio files to enable information such as the title, artist, album, copyright, etc. to be stored in the file itself.
Timeshifting: To watch or listen to a video or audio program at a later time by having recorded it when it was broadcast.
Enclosure: A section of information used in an XML file to refer to a media file’s name, size, location and media type.
Synch- Synchronization: The capability and process of automatically matching up data. In the case of mobile devices, synchronization refers to matching up the data on a computer with a mobile device. This data management process is accomplished usually with a small program which is installed on both devices and a form of connectivity such as a cable, network or wireless LAN.
XML Scripting Language: XML Script allows for the creation, storage and manipulation of variables and data during processing. XML is a markup language for documents containing both content (words, pictures, etc.) and some indication of what role that content plays (for example, whether it is in a section heading or a footnote, etc.). The XML specification defines a standard way to add markup structure to documents.
Democratization of the Media: Refers to the fact that “big corporations” do not own the podcasting “air waves” (sic). In podcasting, inexpensive hardware, software and Internet space can make anybody a broadcaster. Sufficient time to create, record and edit podcasts is the major constraint in audio and video podcast production.