Using voiceover narration can improve the effectiveness of your elearning for a number of reasons:
- Engages your audience
- Complex subjects can be represented graphically and enhanced with guided audio explanation
- You can address both visual and auditory learning styles
- Reduces the amount of text reading required, enabling the learner to concentrate for longer and process the learning more effectively
- You can communicate with the audience in a more casual and natural way, bringing greater recognition of meaning
It might seem like it’s best to leave voiceover until the last stage and then dive straight in and record it for a course which has been lovingly designed.
This will just create a badly executed audio and undermine the entire design. So how do you use voiceover that will bring your elearning course or materials to life?
Here are our top 7 tips To Use Voiceover Narration In E-learning
1. Plan the message
Firstly, plan the message! Think about the information and messages you want to impart to the learner, and produce a script. In some cases, it might be best to design the visual elements around the script, whilst in other cases you may have key images which provide the starting pointing for planning the script. Don’t make the script an afterthought and leave it until the last stage – think of it as an essential part of elearning design.
2. Use audio to complement the visuals
Your audience will switch off if bombarded with a lot of narrative. So it should be concise and to the point. Most people are capable of reading text for themselves so having a narrator read the text on screen is distracting and will harm the learning the process. Too many sound effects are also distracting. Instead, use audio to:
- enhance the onscreen visuals by adding context or explaining visual clues
- give examples to help learners retain the messages
- ask reflective question to encourage thought
3. Script for the audience
How you pitch the audio depends on the audience, so think about their needs when writing and recording the script. For example, too much enunciation in the voiceover narration may patronize adult learners but works effectively for primary school learners.
4. Rehearse before you record
If you can’t use a professional voice artist, rehearse by reading through the script aloud before recording. You’ll get a sense of how the script flows and if you need to make any changes before putting mouth to microphone.
5. Use a conversational tone
Within elearning, audio narration replaces the classroom instructor, so use a natural conversational tone when writing and recording the script. Address the learner directly – imagine that they’re in the room with you and you’re speaking to them. During recording, be aware of speech afflictions and unnatural pauses. A monotone voice will not engage an audience, but a voice that overemphasises words can lead to misinterpretation. Ensure the emphasis is in the right place to deliver the correct meaning.
6. Check for copyright issues
Audio also includes using music and sound effects. Check your script, music and sound effects for any copyright. You don’t want your content to infringe anyone’s intellectual property.
7. Test the quality of your recording
If your recording has hisses or poor volume levels, or picks up background noise, it will undermine all your good work. Use good quality recording equipment and test the quality of the recording. Get professional help to edit the recording if you need to.
What do you think? Do you use audio for any aspect of your work? What are your tips for using audio? Let us know what you think.
Find out more about our Custom e-learning course development