Podcasting, Learning… and Beer

I love learning new things about the field of learning and performance. One of my favorite ways to learn is attending conferences. The opportunity to spend a few days listening to experts share their knowledge is something I always value. Even better are those less-structured conversations that take place in between sessions, during dinners, or while sharing a drink. Quite often, it’s there that I find the most valuable learning takes place.

Unfortunately, conferences are few and far between. Wouldn’t it be great to listen to experts talk about learning on a more regular basis? Well now you can. Enter: The Toolbar.

The Toolbar is a podcast hosted by Judy Unrein and Brian Dusablon. The show primarily focuses on news and tools used for eLearning. It also has a subtext of beer, as each episode kicks off with the hosts and their guests sharing what it is they are drinking while recording the podcast.

The subtext is an important part, as it helps contribute to the feel of the show. Listening to The Toolbar is like sitting at a bar or restaurant with really smart friends, talking shop about a field we love.

Another reason I like The Toolbar – and podcasts in general – is that it fits into spots that other types of learning does not. I can listen to the podcast while on the treadmill, preparing a meal, or even during one of those long NYC Subway rides where we’re packed so tight you can’t even move.

The Toolbar is an excellent resource to add to your personal learning resource list. You can access the podcast at the show’s website, or you can access specific episodes or subscribe to the podcast via iTunes. You can also get updates on new episodes by following @TheToolbar on Twitter or by liking the show’s Facebook page.

I had the pleasure of being a guest recently on the show, and got a small glimpse into the work Brian and Judy do to produce the podcast. As a loyal listener, I very much appreciate their efforts. I highly recommend adding the show to your playlists.

Here’s a listing of some recent ToolBar episodes, to give you a sampling of what you can expect from the show:

Episode #15: Insert Beer Name Here
Brian and Judy sit down with the coolest, smartest BLL-drinker we know: David Kelly. We talk curation, conferences, and — as always — moving our field forward.

Episode #14: Phoning It In
A brief episode about Project Tin Can, next-generation SCORM, activity streams and much more, with our special guest and friend, Aaron “The Beard” Silvers. Stick around for the second half, in which Aaron talks about positivity, Up To All Of Us, entrepreneurship, experience design, pushing the community forward, and much more. Oh, and a special announcement about DevLearn 2012. Pour yourself a drink and settle in.

Episode #13: The Bitter Episode
In this episode, we rant. You’ve been warned. Next episode, we’ll be back to focusing on awesomeness… maybe even epicness.

Episode #12: Go Be Awesome
In this very special guest episode, we talk with Jason Early, founder of Gruntmonkey, about being a Designer. Plain and simple.

Episode #11: A Light Episode – Just Not a Bud Light Lime Episode
Judy and Brian catch up on the happenings over the last few months and talk about what we’re going to talk about soon. And also Next Generation SCORM.

Episode #10: Accessibility – Don’t be a Jerk
Brian and Judy drink and talk with special guest Diane Elkins, who breaks down accessibility vs. usable accessibility… and answers the burning question, “Can’t I just put a transcript on it?”

Episode #9: Usability – Don’t be a Moron
Brian, Judy, and special guest Julie “Usable Learning” Dirksen discuss usability, why you should care about it, how to start making sure your courses meet “table stakes”, and of course, Julie’s brand-new book, Design for How People Learn.

Episode #8: This One Time… at DevLearn…
We’re back after a longer-than-expected layoff.

#7: Hire McGyver
Brian, Judy, and special guest Kevin “Nuggethead” Thorn discuss tools and processes for instructional and graphic design, including thoughts on prototyping and storyboarding.

#6: Blondes and Wish Lists
Judy and Brian discuss our wish list for awesome elearning development software. We also rant a bit about the undesirable popularity of PowerPoint to Flash conversion tools.

#5: iOS Apps for Learning
Judy finally got an iPad, so we finally get to talk about iOS apps for learning. Also, we update the masses on our favorite soon-to-not-be-vaporware, ZebraZapps and Storyline.

#4: (Why) Do the Tools Matter?
Judy and Brian talk about the eLearning Guild’s Rapid eLearning Authoring – Top Tools report, whether or not the tools matter, Jane Bozarth‘s article on story, and more.

#3: ID on a Mac

#2: On the Go

#1: A Zebra Sighting

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