31 Best Educational Podcasts to Learn Something New in 2020
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Looking for the best educational podcasts to check out this year?
You have landed on the right page. Today, we share with you 31 of the most informational and inspiring podcasts that can help you learn something new. No matter what you want to learn—general knowledge, science, finance, history, personal development—we have got you covered.
Let’s get started!
What You Will Learn
- Best Educational Podcasts
- 1. 99% Invisible
- 2. You Are Not So Smart
- 3. Stuff You Should Know
- 4. Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History
- 5. Ear Hustle
- 6. Reply All
- 7. Radiolab
- 8. Overheard at National Geographic
- 9. History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps
- 10. Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips
- 11. TED Radio Hour
- 12. Encyclopedia Womannica
- 13. The Accidental Creative
- 14. Stuff to Blow Your Mind
- 15. The Tony Robbins Podcast
- 16. How to Do Everything
- 17. Smart People Podcast
- 18. The Secret History of the Future
- 19. Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
- 20. Revisionist History
- 21. The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe
- 22. Intelligence Squared
- 23. Good Job, Brain!
- 24. Techlandia Educational Radio
- 25. Freakonomics
- 26. Science Friday
- 27. 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy
- 28. How I Built This
- 29. Beyond the To-Do List
- 30. The Infinite Monkey Cage
- 31. The Week Unwrapped
- Final Thoughts on Educational Podcasts
Best Educational Podcasts
99% Invisible focuses on the overlooked areas of architecture and design. It is hosted by radio producer Roman Mars, one of the founders of Radiotopia—which broadcasts several podcasts, including this one.
In each episode, Mars talks about a specific design and asks his guest to explain the history and influences behind it. Currently, 99% Invisible is one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes, on the Internet, and on most radio stations.
This podcast is hosted by David McRaney, a journalist and psychology enthusiast. It started as a blog about the exploration of self-delusional thoughts and irrational thinking. McRaney wanted to share how human perception can work to explain things people are unaware of.
Later, the blog expanded and became a podcast. The show is simply a reflection of the blog, relating psychology and science to self-delusion. It revolves around the human mind’s ability to reason, judge, and decide.
3. Stuff You Should Know
Hosted by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant and published by Stuff Media, Stuff You Should Know (or SYSK) is an award-winning video series and podcast with millions of followers all over the world. Clark and Bryant are former senior editors at HowStuffWorks.com
What makes this one of the best educational podcasts? That’s simple. This podcast literally talks about anything and everything under the sun.
As the title suggests, this podcast is literally about Dan Carlin delving deep into history. But we aren’t talking about your typical academic history. Instead, it consists of a unique blend of masterful narration and high drama. Some of its most notable episodes are The Celtic Holocaust and Blueprint for Armageddon.
Dan Carlin is a political commentator. He was once a professional radio host, but has decided to shift his focus to podcasting. He is currently also hosting another podcast titled “Hardcore History: Addendum.”
5. Ear Hustle
This podcast is produced by former inmate Earlonne Woods and current inmate Antwan Williams at the San Quentin State Prison located in California. They collaborate with Nigel Poor, an artist who volunteers at the prison to help with reformation.
Ear Hustle is a rather unique show that explores the lives of men and women behind bars. It tackles the stories of inmates and how they cope up with everyday living. Some episodes also cover the lives of former inmates after incarceration.
6. Reply All
This podcast is produced and broadcasted by Gimlet Media, a podcast network that focuses on producing various narrative podcasts. It premiered in 2014, and is hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman.
Reply All features stories about how people and the Internet shape each other. As The Guardian has put it, it is an “unfailingly original exploration of modern life and how to survive it.”
Radiolab features topics that are mostly scientific and philosophical in nature. As its tagline puts it, it is devoted to “investigating a strange world.” It aims to use radio as a means to make science accessible to all types of audiences.
In each episode, hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich try to approach difficult and sensitive topics like time and morality, but in a very friendly and light-hearted manner.
Overheard at National Geographic is not about a bunch of people sharing what they have watched and learned on the NatGeo channel. Instead, it is “the” podcast of the National Geographic Channel—and you probably are aware of how much knowledge you can gain there.
From underwater pyramids and the ancient Maya Cave of the Jaguar God to the graffiti of Pompeii and alien invasion possibilities, no matter what you want to learn about life and the natural sciences, this podcast has you covered.
9. History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps
If you are looking for a philosophy podcast, then this may be the perfect one for you. History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps gives you lessons about the major philosophers and a timeline of how philosophy evolved through time.
The show is hosted by Peter Adamson, a professor of late ancient and Arabic philosophy at the Ludwig Maximilian University located in Munich, Germany.
If you want to learn more about the tricks and tips of writing, Mignon Fogarty (also known as the “Grammar Girl”) is the person to turn to. Her website has been called by Writer’s Digest one of the best websites for writers and her podcast has been awarded the Best Education Podcast five times by the Podcast Awards.
11. TED Radio Hour
Hosted by award-winning journalist Guy Raz, TED Radio Hour is where you will find information and inspiration related to thought-provoking and innovative ideas, excellent discoveries and inventions, and success stories of influential people.
Radio Hour delves deeper into the motivational speeches that are brought to the TED Talk stage. Raz invites professionals from different fields like psychology, sports, and entrepreneurship to discuss and explain their areas of expertise.
Each episode of this podcast is around four or five minutes long, but they tackle the lives and adventures of exceptional women from throughout history. Some of these women include Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Cleopatra.
Encyclopedia Wommanica is hosted by Jenny Kaplan, and is a favorite among podcast listeners. Not only does it support gender equality and female empowerment, it also introduces new topics that are rarely covered in history books.
The Accidental Creative provides effective tips and strategies related to the work/life balance. It offers ideas on how one can stay healthy and family-oriented while remaining dedicated to his or her professional life.
Hosted by motivational author and speaker Todd Henry, this podcast is great to listen to if you want to learn how to perform well and excel in all the things you do.
14. Stuff to Blow Your Mind
Ever wondered about the world and how it really works? Or perhaps you looking for someone who can answer your questions regarding cosmic mysteries?
If so, then this podcast is worth a visit. Stuff to Blow Your Mind is hosted by Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick, with each episode lasting for approximately an hour every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
You surely know Tony Robbins—everyone knows him as one of the most prominent motivational speakers in the field of life and business success. He shares proven tips and strategies on how to ace your goals without sacrificing your health and happiness.
Educational and at the same time motivating, the Tony Robbins Podcast can surely help you become successful, one dream at a time.
16. How to Do Everything
How to Do Everything is a podcast that can help you survive life, teaching you everything from the simplest activities to the most difficult ones.
Hosts Mike Danforth and Ian Chillag help you learn things by answering how-to questions from their subscribers. They also have guest experts that help explain everything you need to know about particular questions.
Smart People Podcast is very straightforward in communicating its goals: to help people improve their lives while expanding their views of the world. Brought to you by Chris Stemp and Jon Rojas, this podcast will satisfy your insatiable curiosity about things that matter.
Some of the topics that this podcast cover include psychology, education, leadership, entrepreneurship, and relationships.
This is another educational podcast that lets you revisit old times with hosts Tom Standage and Seth Stevenson. They relate historical events to today’s current news so can understand them better. Then, they predict how these events would play out in the near future, and provide suggestions on how pitfalls can possibly be avoided.
The Secret History of the Future is a product of the Slate Group, a magazine and podcast network that focuses on culture, business, politics, and modern technology.
This podcast has one main goal, and that is to produce well-developed content that can help entrepreneurs be bold and brave when it comes to turning their ideas into realities.
Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders is broadcasted every week at Stanford University, where entrepreneurs and innovators share their experiences and discuss how they developed and launched their inventions.
Revisionist History is the brainchild of Malcolm Gladwell, in collaboration with Pushkin Industries. In each episode, he revisits the past by talking about an event, person, or idea from history. Then he interprets it and gives it new meaning, exploring things that might have been overlooked or misunderstood.
As Gladwell likes to put it, the past deserves a second chance. If you love both history and analysis, this podcast is for you.
This show’s main goal is to promote critical thinking and science literacy among its listeners. It is hosted by Dr. Steven Novella, a neurologist from Yale University School of Medicine, and is broadcasted weekly with a run time of around an hour.
Generally, Dr. Novella discusses the most recent scientific developments using layman’s terms. He also interviews authors and experts in different fields of science. Most notably, he debunks myths and pseudoscience in health and medicine.
If you want to hear people debate and talk about the most remarkable issues affecting society, this podcast has you covered. Intelligence Squared is a platform where influential thought leaders share their insights about different ideas and topics.
These debates and live forums are held 40 to 50 times a year in around 12 countries. The podcast version is a compilation of all these discussions that the community has held over the past few years.
23. Good Job, Brain!
This podcast is a collaboration of a group of friends, including Karen Chu, Colin Felton, Dana Nelson, and Chris Kohler. It started as a Kickstarter initiative in December of 2011, but ended up receiving positive reviews and high ratings on Stitcher, SoundCloud, and iTunes.
Good Job, Brain! is part quiz show and part offbeat news show at the same time. Together as a team, the hosts play pub trivia, which they call “Baby Dog Time.” They also have an “All Quiz Bonanza” episode where each of the hosts has to prepare a non-themed trivia quiz for the listeners.
Techlandia was initially a collaborative effort between Curt Rees, Alison Anderson, and Jon Samuelson. After five years, Rees and Anderson were replaced by four bright minds in Brian Briggs, David Theriault, Greg Garner, and Scott Bedley.
The podcast claims that it is an “authentic talk about education.” It tackles everything tech-related, from coding to micro bits to trash bots. However, the show also features interviews with teachers and professors who share tips about how to be a hardworking student.
As the name suggests, Freakonomics is the combination of the word “freak” and “economics”—making it a podcast for those who are enthusiastic about socioeconomic issues and concerns.
The show is hosted by Stephen Dubner, a journalist for the New York Times Magazine, and Steven Levitt, a prominent economist. It is released every Wednesday, and you can find it on most podcast apps, including iTunes and Google Play.
26. Science Friday
Science Friday (or SciFri) covers everything science-related—physics, chemistry, biology, health, and space. However, it also features other subjects like ethics and policy, arts and culture, history, and mathematics.
The podcast is hosted by Ira Flatow and has around 1.8 million listeners every week. It is sponsored by various science health and research foundations, such as the Research Corporation for Science Advancement and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
This podcast is presented by BBC News World Service, with Tim Harford as host. Harford is also the host of several other educational and motivational podcasts, such a Cautionary Tales.
This particular show talks about the relationship between science and economics, explaining how technology has evolved, changed, and adjusted the economy. Some of its most recent episodes include the Gutenberg Press, Chess Algorithms, and Slot Machines.
28. How I Built This
How I Built This is another podcast from Guy Raz. Here, he asks successful people “how they built” whatever they have right now.
If you are interested in learning how the big names made it to the top of their respective industries, you might want to subscribe to this podcast.
Hosted by Erik Fisher, this podcast offers tips and tactics for choosing the right projects, tasks, and goals for your success. You can learn how to be productive and efficient in all aspects of life, and, most importantly, how to live a meaningful life.
Fisher interviews people who know how to implement productivity in their lives. He aims to inspire and motivate people to succeed and progress by finding a balance between work and life.
The Infinite Monkey Cage is presented by BBC Radio 4 and hosted by Brian Cox and Robin Ince. It is mostly about science, technology, and inventions. As its tagline states, it is a show that takes a “witty, irreverent look at the world through scientists’ eyes.”
This podcast has been around for over a decade now. It started broadcasting in 2009, and currently has 19 seasons and 125 episodes. If you are a science enthusiast, you will surely enjoy this show.
The Week Unwrapped is the podcast project of The Week Magazine, which covers the various stories of the week. It is hosted by British writer and gadget correspondent Olly Mann, who is also the man behind the Answer Me This! podcast. Most of the stories that the podcast covers involve political and local news.
Final Thoughts on Educational Podcasts
Educational podcasts are becoming more and more popular—and for good reason. Since technology is now an integral part of life, why not make good use of it through the podcasts and streaming shows? These tools can be helpful for both kids and adults who are looking for new ways to learn new things.
Each of the educational podcasts we shared above has its own style, format, and structure. Nonetheless, they are all good sources of information to satisfy your thirst for knowledge. You can pick one or two and subscribe to them, or you might want to give them all a try.
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