14 Tips To Effectively Use Audio for eLearning Courses
Audio is an essential asset to any effective eLearning course. It is often cheap to produce and cheap to make, but that doesn’t mean that the audio format in online courses should be thrown to the wayside. When the audio isn’t executed properly, it can detract from the efficacy of your course. Before you record your next voiceover, make sure to factor in these tips for recording audio for eLearning.
Why Audio Narration in eLearning Is Important
You might be wondering when to use audio in eLearning and if it’s necessary for all courses. Using audio is an easy way to bring many assets to your course: suspense, drama, brand, excitement, guidance, and so much more. Audio can also offer additional accessibility for audience members who have visual impairments, literacy issues, or dyslexia.
When Does Audio in eLearning Fail?
It’s common to see audio overused or abused in eLearning courses. Bad audio has the potential to frustrate and distract your audience, resulting in less learning. Consider if the audio is low quality, too fast, or difficult to follow; chances are high that your audience will become distracted and unable to absorb the course material.
According to Clark and Mayer, trustworthy scientific researchers, the more information that you present to the audience in different formats, the more the learner needs to process. It’s important that the media sources you use complement one another or repeat at different speeds to help your audience retain the information.
How To Effectively Use Audio In eLearning
One key element in audio for eLearning is narration. It’s common for eLearning courses to feature a narrator who guides the learner through the course information. Two types of audio may be present in a module:
- The narrator: A course narrator guides the individual through the course and describes the content along the way.
- The characters: Some modules feature characters and audio artists play different roles.
Regardless of the type of narration used, the audio quality needs to remain high.
#1 Make Sure Sound Quality Is Good
As social media continues to take its hold on society, audiences have become accustomed to lower-quality audio. Even though recording audio from your phone is doable, make sure that you’re still meeting basic quality standards. Make sure you’re recording from a quiet space so there isn’t background noise detracting from the quality.
#2 No Noise
Make sure that your voiceover doesn’t come with any excess noise in the background. If possible, access a soundproof studio or room to ensure that there isn’t noise or static that comes through in the background of the audio. Even something as small as breathing or making a sound with your mouth can come through on the audio.
#3 Allow Learners to Control The Audio Playback and Volume
The best audio content for eLearning allows the learners to be in charge of the audio volume, letting them mute and unmute as needed as they go through the information. Every learner goes through the content at their own pace and is learning in a different environment. By giving them complete control, they can absorb as much information as possible.
#4 Choice of Accent
Believe it or not, another important consideration of audio in eLearning is choosing the right accent. If you are able, opt to include many different audio accent choices to cater to the unique backgrounds of your learners. Something as small as a different accent can result in the learner having a harder time getting through the content successfully. Make it easier on them by including different accent options.
#5 Provide a Non-Audio Option
Audio in eLearning isn’t applicable to every learner in every scenario. For example, if your audience is listening to the course in a public place from a cell phone, it might not always work for them to listen to audio. For cases like these, or simply for those who also prefer text reinforcement, make sure that there is a text alternative option.
#6 Provide Reference Text
Another consideration to keep in mind is whether or not the learner will need to reference some sort of content in the audio at a later time. If this is the case, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for them by providing key bullet points in text format. If the person is unable to listen to the audio again when they’re searching for information, the text on the screen can jog their memory.
#7 Avoid Text-Speech Redundancies
When recording audio for eLearning, the audio that appears on screen can’t simply be a narration of the content being shown on the screen. In order to drive home key course concepts, try having the voiceover elaborate on the subject matter in a way that the text does not. This differentiation can keep the learner engaged with the material.
#8 Enhance The Experience with Suitable Background Music
Not only should the voiceover for eLearning be engaging, but it should be combined with subtle background music to keep the learner more engaged. The background music that you choose should complement the learning module rather than take away from the content. This will help the learners retain more information.
#9 Use Audio to Explain Complex Concepts
Not every topic that your course covers will be straightforward and easy to understand. In addition to engaging video assets to use as explanations, you can include audio paired with explanations to help your audience better understand complex subjects. You can also lean on gamification tactics to break down more complicated subjects and inject fun into the course.
#10 Audio-Text-Image Sync
An essential part of using audio narration in eLearning is ensuring that the audio syncs with the on-screen elements that are happening during the course. When the audio is saying one thing and the text and images are representing another, it can ruin the learning experience. For example, if you’re using animated videos, make sure they represent the accompanying audio.
#11 Use Audio to Tell a Story and Immerse Learners
Storytelling is an easy way to make an impact on your audience. Consider the fact that storytelling can also improve how well your learners navigate and retain the course information. When high-quality video and audio are used to tell a story, your learners will have an easier time understanding the course material as they can see how the story unfolds.
The age of the narrator should always be taken into consideration when putting together your eLearning audio script. The age of the narrator should closely align with any characters that you use in the course in addition to the target audience. If there is a huge difference, it can detract from the learning experience.
The tone is a critical aspect of audio in eLearning. When the narrator uses the right tone, it will greatly enhance the overall learning experience and help the audience retain more information. Tone can help emphasize certain aspects of the course and guide your learner seamlessly throughout the material.
How quickly the narrator talks is another essential factor of audio narration in eLearning. The right pace in the course can make it easier or harder for the learners to follow the information. Despite there not being a standard speed, aim to talk around 120-140 words per minute. If the narration is slower, it can make it hard for the audience to focus on the material. Narration that’s too fast will make it hard to grasp all of the concepts.
eLearning Voice Over from Allegro Media Design
If you need assistance in how to implement audio for your eLearning courses, look no further than our team at Allegro Media Design. We have extensive experience in this area and are happy to guide you through the process. To learn more about how we can help, contact us today to get started.