For an instructional designer, creating storyboards is not the only job to do; one of the many things an instructional designer must know is how to write engaging audio scripts that will make your learners more interested in the course. Audio in eLearning is most commonly used to reinforce the key points you want your learner to take away from your course while making it an enjoyable experience for your learners’ ears.
Writing a script is easy, but writing for the ear is hard. When it comes to eLearning, scripts add richness to your course. Now they can either kill your course or take it up a notch. There is a fine line between being casual and being crass.
Let’s dig a little deeper and find out what it takes to write conversational scripts for eLearning.
Write it like you’re saying it: When your conversing with someone it’s pretty obvious that we talk in active voice; however, when it comes to writing we tend to be more passive; to avoid this there are two things you need to do, first is to set the right tone for your course and stick to it, adding tones such as excited emphatic or sad (oh wow! that’s Great or oh no!) elevates your narration; let’s compare two different set of tones and see which is more likely to keep your learners interested:
- This course ‘Panic Disorder’ gives an overview of the ‘the symptoms and treatment’ for panic disorder, and demonstrates how to cope with this disorder.
- Hi there! I am John and I will guide you through this course ‘Panic Disorder’ that highlights the symptoms and treatment for panic disorder. I will also take you through on how you can cope with this disorder. Let’s get started with what is panic disorder?
The second example has a friendly and conversational tone and also gives you an easy passage for transitioning from one slide to another.
Second always try to visualize on how your screen will look, consider factors such as images animation and graphics if any. If you know how your screen is going to look, you can add pointer in your script such as take a look at the image to the right you see how this apparatus make self-medication easy for patients. Such lines immediately make your learners pay attention to the image.
When the tone and visuals on screen go hand in hand, that makes learning a fun and exciting experience.
Keep it small and simple: Let’s face it –no one likes it when you go on and on about something no matter how interesting the subject is; the same applies to eLearning. You can never guess your learners’ attention span. Hence, it is best to write short and apt sentences that garner your learners attention for instance,
The second example is shorter than the first and crisper; it tells a story and creates a scenario , which brings the character alive.
Mostly, by the time you start writing your audio script, you know the content like the back of your hand and you can add concepts you feel are important, but keep in mind that your learners are listening to it for the first time! So simplify your language and keep it short; this gives your learner a better chance to understand what you’re actually saying.
Use conversation starters: Don’t be afraid to write your script in first person; like I said earlier, write like you are speaking to someone in front of you This brings about a sense of personalization. For instance, you can use icebreakers such as:
Such icebreakers introduce learners to the problem and instigate them to stay on to know the solution. This way of writing makes your learner feel a part of the course because you’re addressing his/her problem at a personal level.
Consider silence and sound effects: Learners need time to process all the visuals onscreen because sometimes the audio and onscreen differ in a minute way; in such cases, you can use science to add a little more depth to your script. But keep in mind that your script shouldn’t have a pause of more than two seconds, or else it may seem that there is something missing onscreen.
After silence comes sound, just like visuals effects add more to the onscreen content. In the same way sound effects bring your script to life. Give appropriate spacing in your audio script for the sound effects and when used in the right way they add richness to your script.
Keeping these in mind, go ahead and start writing and if you come up with a better approach in writing audio scripts do let us know. Happy writing!