Jess Commons | Deputy Editor | Tuesday, 8 March 2016

7 Podcasts That Will Help You Learn Stuff

7 Podcasts That Will Help You Learn Stuff

The Debrief: Feeling stupid since you've left university? Here's how to keep on learnin'

Illustration by Joey Pasko

 

1. Dan Carlin's Hardcore History

If a podcast that dedicates the better part of ten hours to the rise and rise of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire doesn't sound especially thrilling then you have yet to listen to Hardcore History. Dan Carlin, a former political commentor, researches his podcasts the way you researched that douchebag your ex started seeing; forensically and in depth. Don't be put off by the wordy descriptions and somewhat fantasy-novel-esque design though, each episode is curated in a way that means it'll have you hooked from the get-go. Perfect if you want to be that annoying friend who likes to add a dash of historical context to every group conversation.

Get it here.

2. Notes In Spanish

If you've tried Duolingo to no avail, ditto with expensive and time consuming Spanish lessons, then why not give Notes in Spanish a whirl. Created by a husband and wife duo (he's English, she's Spanish) it's an easy way to pick up the language that you actually need rather than the stuff they'd teach you in the classroom+. Anyways, there's different levels of podcast from beginner right up to gold and, because Ben's English, he's super easy to understand.

Get it here.

3. Shrink Rap Radio Psychology 

Teaches you 'just enough' psychology 'to make you dangerous...' Which is pretty much the only reason anyone took A-Level psychology anyway right? Brought to you by psychologist Dr David Van Nuys (who, NBD, kind of has a silver fox/Rasputin eyes-esque thing going on), it involves him speaking to a huge number of world class psychologists on everything from how to have a healthy grown-up relationship to what it's really like to deal with psychosis.

Get it here.

4. Stuff You Missed In History Class

Not quite as forensic as Dan Carlin's history podcast but it comes in more manageable chunks (about half an hour) and the presenters Holly Fry and Tracey V. Wilson are the kind of super warm, cool but nerdy friends you'd love to have a knitting circle with one day, or a book club, or some other wholesome activity that doesn't involve booze. They cover lesser known subjects like the time the US tried to start a hippo farm to solve their meat crisis and the Night Witches; the all female German flight crew from WWII. Their best episodes are the ones on shipwrecks which they've got loads of. Mainly because the listeners seem to keep requesting them.

Get it here.

5. Witness

For those people that feel like they missed the memo that everyone needed to know everything about every news story from the last century. Witness, from the BBC World Service, pulls together real BBC footage on different recent-history news stories to give you an overview of what went down. There's hundreds, literally hundreds and hundreds of epsiodes and they're all super short. Check out the recent 9 minute-r on the Challenger Disaster which includes an interview with Barbara Morgan, the woman that served as first-civillian-in-space Christa McAuliffe's back up.

Get it here.

6. Last Podcast On The Left

Turns out there's a fine, but very enjoyable, line between 'educating people on disturbing historical events' and 'being wildy offensive' and the LPOTL guys walk that line with ever-wavering dedication every week. From learning about HH Holmes (next role for Leonardo DiCaprio in his upcoming Scorsese flick Devil in the White City) and his 'murder castle' to debunking myths and theories about the Colombine High Schol shooting tragedy, it's an often funny, definitely not for the faint hearted look at some of history's toughest hits. Honestly though, the one on Ghost Cats? Still laughing about it.

Get it here.

7. The Allusionist

Helen Zaltzman is a wonderfully funny comedian which makes learning about the English language with her a hoot. From the language best used to snare a potential match on dating sites to figuring out what the actual douche we think we're doing when we use baby talk, it's really good for learning fun facts to drop in conversation. And when I say 'fun' I mean fun for you to learn, your friends will tire quickly.

Get it here.

Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

Podcasts That’ll Make Your Morning Commute A Million Times Better

How To Make Your Own Podcast, From The Woman Who's Already Done It

Hae Min Lee’s Family Have Spoken Out About Adnan Syed’s Hearing

Follow Jess on Twitter @Jess_Commons

Tags: Podcasts