Effective Use of Audio in E-learning Development – Who, How, and When?

Effective Use of Audio in E-learning Development – Who, How, and When?

Proper use of audio goes a long way in making your eLearning course effective. It complements the on-screen text in delivering a rich learning experience. To deliver a rich experience, these questions should be considered:

  •  Who should narrate?
  • How much of narration?
  • When does it work well?

Who should narrate?

Text-to-Speech software is the first choice of many, as it saves time and money. But, I think that using software to narrate your courses is not always the best option. This is because the voice in “software narrations” is often “lifeless” and the pace remains unaltered throughout the course. There are other issues such as mispronunciation of abbreviations, lack of emotional connect with the audience, etc.

In-house narration is another option, as it is cost effective, but it’s important to understand the drawbacks associated with it.  The narrator may not produce the right inflections and get his tone right at the first go, resulting in retakes and delays.

 Narration is an art. So, I think it is always better to hire professional narrators for narrating the audio script of online courses. A professional narrator, who is proficient in the language and understands the culture, can sound more convincing than a non-professional. Narration costs for a 30 minute online course roughly amount to 500 USD. It is important that you strike a fine balance between the two needs – quality narration and preventing budget overruns.

How much of narration?

Too much of something can kill you; in the same way, using too much audio can destroy your eLearning course. Use audio only when it is instructionally essential and do not narrate the entire course. If your audio reads the exact words on screen, then your audio may slow down your learners’ pace. According to Ruth Clark’s -“Evidence-Based Training Methods”, learning is depressed, when you use the same words in both text as well as audio.

When does it work well?

You need to use the audio carefully and intelligently to make the eLearning courses persuasive and engaging. Use audio to summarize your onscreen content or to describe an image or illustration onscreen. You can use audio to list out the important points of the slide that the learner needs to know.This brings about a perfect balance and destroys audio over-kill.

Considering these questions will help you use audio effectively, while developing an eLearning course. I hope you find this blog useful. Do share your thoughts with us.

Best Practices for eLearning Design and Development