Using audio in your e-learning is a great way to bring content to life and introduce another type of multimedia. There are several things to consider when adding audio, including what type of audio you want, how will you record it, and more. Read on to learn some key things you should know about including audio in your next e-learning project.
Types of Audio
There are various types of audio you can include in your content:
- Narration (which has four “subtypes”)
- Elaborative (on-screen text summarizes the audio)
- Paraphrasing (audio summarizes the on-screen text)
- Verbatim (reading exact words on-screen)
- Descriptive (audio describes image on-screen)
- Sound effects
The kind of narration you will use in your projects depend greatly on the specifics of the project (time, talent, budget) as well as what the subject matter is.
Which content should be narrated? There are a couple of scenarios where it might be more worthwhile to use narration. For example, when you need to explain a complex definition or process, or when demonstrating situations such as interview skills or emotional interactions between individuals.
The next question you might ask yourself is, who will narrate? 3 ways to narrate your course include:
- A professional narrator
- An employee narrator
- Text-to-voice software
There are both pros and cons to using any type of narration in your project.
In addition to “the voice” you will likely need a couple of additional people to be involved in the audio recording process, likely:
- A scriptwriter
- A producer (this depends on the technical skill your narrator possesses, and if he/she can do the actual sound recording themselves)
General Tips and Tricks
- Narration rule of thumb is 1 minute of talk time = 100 words
- Try to keep audio clips to 20-30 seconds (to retain learner attention)
- Find a balance between what learners should read vs. what they should listen to
- Allow users to have control over volume settings
- Have an instructional reason for using the narration or audio (not just because)
- Add a transcript or closed captions to keep your content accessible
- Audio might slow down some learners since they have to go at the pace of narration
- Adding narration will impact on the amount of time it takes to complete your e-learning course