5 Best Educational Podcasts​

This is part one of a ten part series exploring cult worthy podcasts beyond the top charts.

 

5 Best Educational Podcasts

This is part one of a ten part series exploring cult worthy podcasts beyond the top charts.

There are over 30 million podcast episodes available at your fingertips.

As the podcasting world grows, it may feel overwhelming to choose the right handful for yourself. No matter what subject you’re interested in, there are definitely podcasts out there for you. Trying to figure out which of those podcasts are actually right fit is an enormous task. You could ask around in search of recommendations or you could try your best to qualify a couple of listen worthy podcasts – traditionally “listen worthy podcasts” are those with a credible number of reviews, large social followings, and a high position on the charts. However right it may feel to follow common podcast qualifying logic, we would suggest looking beyond the top podcasts to explore others that might just feel like they were meant just for you. Sure, top podcasts might be number one in their genre but that does not necessarily mean that they will be the number one fit for you. When you limit yourself to “top podcasts” you are excluding thousands of podcasts series that could really provide you with invaluable insight, or pique a new curiosity . Everyone has unique interests, and luckily for us, there is literally a podcast about everything.

We recognize the number of podcasts genres are expansive, so we will give you a high level overview of the top podcasts in one genre each week and list out some equally as great lesser known podcasts in the same arena. Hopefully, this will help you as you dive into your own podcast qualifier endeavor.

EDUCATIONAL

Podcasts have the unique ability to allow you to be a lifelong learner. Anytime you find yourself doing something less than stimulating — walking, driving, relaxing, making dinner — you can probably throw on a podcast and learn something new. If you’re looking for new ways to exercise your brain, these are the top podcasts people will probably recommend to you.

  1. Stuff You Should Know
    1. Stars: 4.6
    2. Number of Reviews: 39.3K
  2. Ted Radio Hour 
    1. 4.4
    2. 13.3K
  3. Lore 
    1. 4.6
    2. 31.3K
  4. How I Built This 
    1. 4.8
    2. 19.2K
  5. Radiolab
    1. 4.7
    2. 26.6K

 

While these podcasts are great in their own respect, our team would like to offer up five alternatives to the top podcasts to prove that quality content with a loyal fanbase can be found beyond the fringe. 

Cult-Worthy Educational Podcasts

1. Ologies with Alie Ward

    1. 4.9
    2. 6.3K

Why we love this podcast 

This is a podcast dedicated to uncovering the bizarre stories behind what fuels professional “-ologists” obsessions. From Mycology to Hagfishology (look below) Alie Ward will not only pique your interest, but she will bring on guests who are experts in their field to deepen her audience’s understanding of any given topic.

What we learned from this podcast

So… Hagfishology. It stems from Hagfish, the floppy hotdogs of the deep sea. They’re coated in slime that The Atlantic described as, “100,000 times softer than Jell-o, and fends off sharks and Priuses alike.” We learned a lot. You can give this episode a listen here

 

2. Overdue

    1. 4.7
    2. 1.3K

Why we love this podcast

Overdue is a podcast all about explaining the books you’ve been meaning to read. The hosts, Andrew and Craig, understand that not everyone has time to read and that your backlog only continues to grow with time. They dive into everything from classic literature to goofy murder mysteries and are always sure to bring on an aficionado of each book they discuss. 

What we learned from this podcast

Ever wonder why everyone lies to each other in the Odyssey? Andrew, Craig, and their guest Emily Wilson chat about the need for lies in order to survive war. Emily also points out the storytelling and witty banter associated with lies and relationships within the Odyssey. Sort of as a way of mythological flirting. Give this episode a listen here.

 

3. In Defense of Plants Podcast

    1. 4.9
    2. 434

Why we love this podcast

These people love plants and educating people on plants. Not only is the podcast incredibly interesting, it is super informative. In Defense of Plants is an interview based podcast. The conversation always flows and never feels forced. It’s a great way to build your plant repertoire. 

What we learned from this podcast

Did you know that the trees at Joshua Tree are Yuccas? Yuccas are cool plants with a downright fascinating pollination ecology. What started as a parasitic relationship between moths and Yucca has since evolved into an extremely specific mutualism. The Yucca plant rely on moths for pollination and moth’s themselves could not exist without the presence of Yucca flowers. You can find out more about Yuccas here.

 

4. American Scandal

    1. 4.6
    2. 5K

Why we love this podcast

Every scandal begins with a lie, but we all know the truth will come out. Scandals have shaped American history, from business to politics to sports, corruption runs rampant. When the dust finally settles, the American public is left wondering how did this happen? And who is to blame? This podcast sheds light on the American scandals that have shaped the course of history.

What we learned from this podcast

What Payola is, how it started, the attempts to end it, and how it shaped the music we hear and the music we don’t. This episode of American Scandal dives into the dark side of music history and the corruption (payola) within the record industry. And at the heart of the scandal? DJ Alan Freed and American Bandstand host Dick Clark. This is the first episode of a five part series and you can give it a listen here.

 

5. The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish

    1. 4.8
    2. 966

Why we love this podcast

This is the perfect podcast for those of you who are always thinking about going back to school. The Knowledge Project helps its listeners to build a world-class multidisciplinary education that they can use to make better decisions and live a more meaningful and productive life. Host, Shane Parrish explores the best ideas, methods, and mental models that other people have already discovered and shares them with his audience. 

What we learned from this podcast

In this episode, “When Good Intentions Go Bad,” Shane and his guest Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist, explore the effects that helicopter parenting, the rise of “call out culture,” and social media has on society. You can get the full scoop here.

By no means is this the end all be all for educational podcasts, but it is a good place to start. These five lesser known podcasts are truly incredible and will be sure to boost your appreciation for a myriad of topics. Give them a listen and check back next week as we explore the world of True Crime Podcasts.