When we think of audio, we always think of narration. Most of us forget that music and sounds can also be used very effectively to enhance the learning through an online course. So, the audio component in an eLearning course can be defined as a set of elements of narration, music and sounds used to enhance learning effectiveness.
Where are these 3 elements used? Let us see.
Narration is the main component of audio which is used to explain the Need-to-know content on the screen. It is specifically used for introducing the content and summarizing it and in certain cases to provide on-screen instructions.
Music can also be used very effectively. If you have left your learner to read a sizable content on the screen, it will be very effective if you can play a back ground music at the same time. That is also true when you ask the learner to perform an activity which will take a little time. If you ‘fill’ the time with some kind of background music, it helps comprehend better.
Music is something which is often forgotten by us and as the choice of music is very subjective, we find it difficult to decide on the kind of music we need to use. But, when it is used strategically in certain aspects in the course, it enhances the learning reduces the stress on the learner.
Sounds are again something which we often forget, but they can greatly enhance learning. Think about demonstrating an equipment. Let us say we need to explain the working of a pump. So, when we demonstrate a pump on the screen, animations add a lot of value to the learner. The real sounds of equipment such as sound of water or the piston turning or any kind of valve closing or opening will further enhance the learning.
Sometimes, sounds can also be used to lighten the seriousness when we give feedback on assessments. The most commonly used sounds in assessments are the sound of applause, used when the question is answered correctly and the ‘oops’ sound when the learner clicks the wrong answer. These help reduce stress as some learners feel tense when they take a test. Using sounds is a very subjective decision, and we need to be very careful where we use them. We need to always check with the stakeholders whether they would like to use them or not.
I think the combination of narration, music and sounds will enhance the effectiveness of a course in a big way. What do you think? Let me know your thoughts.