While 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:
- Desiree (Ward) Pinder at E-Learning Uncovered offers her Recipe for Success. This is a clever checklist of considerations you want to make when recording audio for elearning, done in the style of a recipe.
- Jesse Harris at Knowledge One came up with a great list of tips from her own recording experience. She said the list came out of necessity because she does elearning voiceovers and finds herself training others to do so. Among my favorite tips is this one that I need to heed more often:
Know when it’s “good enough”. Don’t spend hours recording and re-recording one sentence.
- In a post last year, I linked to an Elearning Coach article about writing scripts. That’s always good for a reminder or two, and so is this related article about prepping scripts for the reader. For example,
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?