VO tips from the elearning community

cropped mic and script vertical editWhile I’ve had experience doing a few different types of projects in the voiceover and audio production realm, my bread and butter over the past few years has been in elearning. It’s an exciting field, because new technologies are emerging at the same time that important theories and ideas about learning are being tested within a community of practice.

Because we’re still emerging as an industry, tip sharing has been essential to a lot of designers and developers. This is especially true for those who are the sole elearning designer/developer, or one of only a few in their organization.

I came into elearning production already having lived in the VO and audio production world for quite some time. But I learned as much as I was able to teach — thanks to those who were willing to share their tips and tricks.

Now, I should be clear: You’re best off hiring professional voice talent who can hand over high-quality edited audio files that you can drop right in to your courses. No breaths or mouth noises to worry about, no poor EQ balance, no room hum to try to filter out, and no robo-reads. Professional VO is worth it, assuming you have the time and budget.

But you won’t always have the time and budget. Especially if your project is a proof-of-concept or prototype. For such cases, I’d like to pass on to you a few resources I’ve collected from folks who’ve been kind enough to share what they’ve learned through trial and error or from watching others as they’ve worked to get the very best out of their voice for their elearning projects. Here are a few of my favorites:

Know when it’s “good enough”. Don’t spend hours recording and re-recording one sentence.

Avoid Page Turns

If the narrator will be reading the script from a hard copy, be sure that he or she will not need to turn the page in the middle of a sentence or paragraph. The sound of paper turning usually gets picked up by the mic. This holds true even if the narrator is reading the script online. The time it takes to find and press the Page Down key can ruin the sound byte.

  • For the beginner, I’d recommend this post first, and then this post by Tom Kuhlmann, elearning hero/guru, Articulate champion, and informative Tweeter.
  • Speaking of Articulate, for a deeper dive and conversation within the elearning mindcloud, please do avail yourself often to the Articulate community. You’ll find the topics of elearning narration and audio recording are visited from time to time.

There are others out there, to be sure. But this list includes what I’d consider to be solid advice for elearning VO writing, recording, and editing.

What tips or resources would you add to the list?

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