Creating great eLearning is a lot like baking your favourite cake. All the ingredients should work together to produce a delicious result; however, get one ingredient wrong and you’ve got a culinary fail on your hands. Effective audio can be the sugar and spice that transforms eLearning into a multisensory experience, increasing engagement for complex or dull subject matter.
At PulseLearning, we believe audio should enhance eLearning just like the icing on your cake. Here are our Seven Tips to enhance eLearning with Audio.
1. Re-create, don’t repeat
Don’t fall into the trap of simply narrating screen text. Think instead of how audio can be used to add to the experience. Create a multimedia experience by timing visual support such as photos, symbols, or keywords to audio to highlight learning points.
2. Use quality talent
The tone, pace, and level of enthusiasm can make or break audio appeal. Invest in quality voiceover artists and provide clear instructions for narration. Consider the balance of male and female voices used and which gender is best to narrate your message. The obvious choice is not always the best choice and contrast is a good thing; for example, a female voice can often soften a technical message.
3. Mix it up
You can never have too much of a good thing… or can you? Audio on every screen can become repetitive. Instead, consider consistently interspersing screens with audio among static screens or creating mixed text and audio screens. For example, a screen might have a text introduction and interactive icons that play short audio files on selection.
4. Consider length
Text screens allow learners to progress at their own pace regardless of reading speed. On the flipside, audio makes it trickier to put learners in control if you want them to listen completely before progressing. Audio length is important to maintain engagement.
5. Sound scriptwriting
Be sure to plan for audio narration from the start. We speak differently to the written word, so it’s important that audio scripts are written for speech that is more likely to make use of contractions and conversational structure. When creating a script, read it aloud as it often sounds different from in your head!
6. Put learners in control
Allow your learners to control playback and volume. Learners will be accessing eLearning in a number of environments where background noise will differ. If you decide to use a musical soundtrack, consider adding an option to stop the playback as some learners might find it a distraction.
7. Create ambience
Considered use of sound effects and background music can greatly enhance the eLearning experience. The right background music can help immerse learners in the experience and facilitate learning, while sound effects can add to the authenticity of the experience when interacting with items.