Podcasts for Companion Learning

One of the advantages of podcasts is that they are audio-only, so you can listen to them while you do other things. I listen while doing chores, running, cooking, and driving. I mentioned in Soundtracks for Books that it’s hard to listen to something while you are doing effortful thinking.

But, just like a book soundtrack, you can pay attention to audio if the thing you are doing is really the same thing—something integrated with it.

I haven’t seen this much, but I think a big area for podcasts could be in guiding “learning by doing” tasks.

There are lots of video and text tutorials for learning programming. The issue is that you can be tempted to consume them without really doing the tasks yourself. And since you have to look at the book/video/blog etc, it’s hard to also be looking at your editor.

This kind of podcast could not just be played in your regular playlists though—you need to be at your computer ready to listen. It could guide you in a vague way, so that you have to think in order to do the tasks, not just listen while you exercise.

I’m not sure that a programming guide podcast is a good fit for very new learners, who still need a lot of help with the syntax. It would be better for learners who can write lines of code syntactically correct from a short-hand description.

Like I said in Vague Tutorials Would Help with Coding Interviews, I think getting good at taking spoken directions would help in coding interviews.