In my previous blogs, I have discussed about the importance of instructional design strategy and visual design strategy, the two main elements of e-learning in terms of design approach. In this blog, I will discuss about the significance of audio and audio strategy.
While videos have their own importance, they need to be supported with good audio. An effective audio strategy plays an important role, in terms of improving the efficacy of the course content. When we think of audio, we think of narration. Most of us forget that music and sounds can also be used very effectively to enhance learning. For example, if you are developing an e-learning course on fire alarms, you can enhance the effectiveness of the course, by using the sound of a fire alarm.
Audio component in an e-learning course can be defined as the combination of narration, music and sounds. You can use these elements to enhance the effectiveness of learning. Sometimes, visuals shown on the screen need explanation and audio narration can be used for this purpose.
To break the monotony of narration, you can use sounds while providing feedback on learners’ responses to assessment questions. You can use sounds like “oops” or “buzzer sound” for incorrect answers and “applause” for the correct ones. This would make the course more interesting and add a fun element to the learning.
Proper use of audio in e-learning:
- Results in better understanding of the learning material
- Makes the e-learning content persuasive
- Engages the learner for an extended period of time
- Adds an element of interest
- Plays a key role in the learning process, when accompanied by the visuals
How much audio narration is needed in e-learning?
The Cognitive Load Theory explains that the learner’s working memory can retain only a certain amount of information. It stores auditory information separately from visual information, i.e., words in auditory channel and pictures in the visual channel.
So, if you present too much of information with or without audio, there are chances of the learner getting confused, and he may not understand what exactly is being taught. Audio has to be a part of the total picture, as we learn best if we see, hear or do. It is possible only when the information presented does not overload the learner’s mental capacity.
You can use audio to explain a complex process/process flows, complicated definitions, key points, simulations etc. You shouldn’t read every word of the on-screen text.
One should also remember to synchronize the audio and animations properly as it helps explain the text and graphics better. Audio should always be aligned to support learning principles if it is to improve learning significantly.
Hope you find this blog informative. Do share your views.
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