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Hugh Olssen
Hugh Olssen

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Listen and Learn: The 10 Best Educational Podcasts in 2021

Technology has made it possible for anyone to access high-quality resources at any time. While there is plenty of content in the form of videos, blog posts, online courses, etc. available for a particular topic or niche, nothing can match the ease of expanding our knowledge using podcasts.

What are podcasts you ask?

For those who are unaware of the concept of podcasts, these are audio shows that can range from a few minutes to even several hours. While this concept isn't new and podcasts are in existence for a decade now, their popularity has garnered quite attention in the last few years. People have started realizing the importance and advantages of listening to podcasts. One of which is the ease of listening from anywhere and while doing anything.

Yes. You don't need to sit back till the end of a video or strain your eyes reading a 2000+ words blog posts. All this knowledge that you will receive from reading an extremely long blog post or watching hours of videos, can be given to you by podcasts. Doesn't matter if you are sitting on your bed wondering about something, or while you're driving around, or maybe while working, podcasts don't need any special time of your schedule. Just plug in the headphones and keep the knowledge coming.

If you like the feeling of I-know-it-all after watching an educational episode, these podcasts will help you retain the feeling for long. Since there are so many options, we have reduced your burden of rummaging the internet to find good podcasts. This handpicked list of top 10 educational podcasts will take you to a world of untapped knowledge. So, what are you waiting for?

1.The Big One

It’s hard to understand inevitable devastation in the abstract. To confront the possibilities would only spur existential dread.

Helpfully, the podcast also offers tips to California residents about how best to make it through the crisis. We know California is due for a massive earthquake that could hit any second, but we don’t like to think about the details — the buildings that will collapse, the people who will be trapped, the lives that will be lost. But that’s exactly what the Big One aims to do, putting you in the shoes of someone in downtown Los Angeles experiencing the earthquake as it happens.

The podcast isn’t entirely fiction: Host and KPCC science reporter Jacob Margolis interviews earthquake survivors, scientists, and even LA’s mayor about the inevitable disaster and its consequences.

2.Longform

Anyone remotely interested in the writing process should tune into this podcast. But even if you’re not interested in writing, the emotional journeys will resonate with you: It turns out just about every person with a recognizable byline has experienced imposter syndrome.

Hosts Aaron Lammer, Max Linsky, and Evan Ratliff invite journalists like New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell and New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman to talk about their work, their process, and, most crucially, their journey to their current position. Writers, editors, and anyone who enjoys movies like Spotlight will geek out over the discussions of the process — like the small aside an interviewee make that breaks a story.

3.No Feeling Is Final

Her humor and musical stylings add lightness to a heavy subject and endear her to listeners so that when she tackles more heady topics — like why she struggles with suicidal thoughts while her identical twin sister does not — we’re already hooked.

Australian podcaster Honor Eastly has pulled off something rare, creating a visceral podcast about mental health. She takes listeners inside her own head and narrates her panic, anxiety, and fear as she navigates getting insurance to cover her therapy sessions or her view of a balloon on the floor of a hospital during a debilitating bout of depression.

4.Scattered

Inspired by a standup set he performed on 2 Dope Queens, Chris Garcia spins his quest to fulfill his father’s dying wish—to have his ashes scattered off the coast of Cuba—into a podcast about his parents’ experience as immigrants. Garcia’s father experienced traumas that he carried with him for the rest of his life after leaving Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

Garcia’s story, and others like it, are a crucial reminder of the bravery and tenacity of families seeking out their own American dream.

Garcia lightens the heavy tale with jokes about starting out in America and inspirational tales of his father’s love of space.

5.Becoming Great

Hosted by Erik Bergman and Emil Ekvardt. Erik is a successful businessman who was a co-owner of Catena Media and earned more than $50 million before the age of 30.

After leaving Catena Media, he started great.com, an Affiliate Online Casino that donates all of its profits to fighting climate change.

Emil is a professional poker player that made more than $1 million before he turned 25. He joined great.com in 2018 as its first employee and is now the co-host.

Their podcast is called Becoming great, where they share their knowledge on how to focus better, how to stop procrastinating, and improve your way of life overall.

6.Spectacular Failures

Perhaps the most disturbing undercurrent is the fact that so many of the founders and CEOs behind these companies — including Donald Trump, who has an episode dedicated to his Atlantic City casino fiasco — snatch up golden parachutes or simply declare bankruptcy and start over again, while workers are left without jobs.

Podcasts that promise to improve your business, help you “boss up” and otherwise conquer the world are a burgeoning if occasionally suspect, subgenre. “Failing up,” it seems, has become an essential business strategy.

Spectacular Failures is here to remind listeners that success isn’t so easy. Some of the most promising ideas have been brought down by hubris, family infighting, and scandal, while others have been felled by bad decision-making. The podcast explores some of the most public and ridiculous business implosions in history, from brawls in the U-Haul boardroom to MoviePass’s rapid rise and fall.

7.Switched on Pop

Some of their best episodes also delve into what influenced a particular artist, and whether borrowed beats are meant as tribute or appropriation, from Ariana Grande’s influences to Drake’s place in the culture.

If you’ve ever wondered what makes an earworm so addictive, hosts Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding have answers for you. The musicologist and the songwriter analyze how a song is made, what makes it work and why you can’t get the darn thing out of your head.

8.Everything is Alive

Ever wanted to hear how a bar of soap feels? What about an elevator? Think of this as that part of Fight Club concerning Jack’s organs, except you’re not part of Project Mayhem or burning yours and other people’s hands with lye. An “unscripted interview show,” Everything is Alive is an interesting take on exploring the world.

How so? In each episode, an interviewee is an inanimate object telling its life story. As far as storytelling podcasts go, it certainly isn’t This American Life, but it is worth a listen.

9.Timesuck

What helps Cummins stand out from other informational comedy podcasts is his willingness to investigate his own thoughts and beliefs and — through dialogues with people around the world — change his mind if he finds information the prove specific points. Hosted by comedian Dan Cummins, Timesuck is an investigation into just about everything in life.

Weekly topics range from true crime to the paranormal to history podcasts and beyond, and are all hallmarked by Cummins’ signature wit.

10.Stuff you Should Know

Stuff You Should Know, or SYSK is a podcast and video series published by Stuff Media and hosted by Josh Clark and Charles W.

If you want to learn more about how the Electoral College works, the disturbing disappearance of Tara Calico, or phrase origins, this is the podcast for you. “Chuck” Bryant, both writers at HowStuffWorks.

Discussion (2)

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nicolasini profile image
Nico S___

Thanks for the recommendations. Will check them out

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hugholssen profile image
Hugh Olssen Author

I'm glad you liked it!