How To Find A Voice Artist For Your eLearning Project

If you are a training organization, Instructional Designer, or L&D professional, at some point you may consider using a voice over artist for your eLearning or digital training course. What’s the best way to find a voice artist and determine whether they are right for your project?

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

9 Tips To Write Narration Scripts For Branching Scenarios In eLearning

Can online learners connect with your narrators? Are they able to get the real world benefit from the branching scenario you have developed for your eLearning course? In this article, I'll share 9 tips to write an effective narration script for your branching scenario.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

7 Best Practices For Writing Perfect eLearning Scripts

From graphic designer to marketing expert, eLearning professionals play plenty of roles during the course of their career. One of the job titles at the top of that list is "eLearning scriptwriter". In this article, I'll share 7 best practices for writing top-notch eLearning scripts for your next eLearning course.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

4 Tips To Apply The Redundancy Principle In eLearning

How To Apply The Redundancy Principle In eLearning

The Redundancy Principle suggests that learners have difficulty focusing on the key takeaways of the eLearning course when multimedia presentations are accompanied by a word for word text script. In short, they are so busy trying to read, listen, and watch the images at the same time that they are unable to collect the information they need from any of the sources. As an unfortunate result, learning goals may not be achieved and cognitive overload is likely to occur. On the other hand, eLearning courses that pair audio with visuals or text with visuals are more effective, as learners are not forced to choose how they will receive the information.

When The Redundancy Principle Is Recommended

There are some instances, however, that the Redundancy Principle may not be applicable. Here are some of the most common exceptions to the redundancy rule:

  1. The online presentation lacks visual imagery.
    When the online presentation contains no images, graphics, or diagrams, there can be both audio and text on the screen. This is primarily due to the fact that online learners will not be forced to choose between the visuals or the text.
  2. Leaners have ample time to absorb the eLearning content.
    If learners have plenty of time to absorb the information that is being presented on the screen, then it is acceptable to include both text and audio narration. Just make sure that they have a gap between screens to effectively absorb the information.
  3. Localized eLearning courses or hard of hearing audiences.
    In case some learners are unable to physically hear the narration or cannot understand the language, it is best to pair verbatim text with audio. This rule can also apply to eLearning courses wherein the narrator may be difficult to understand.

4 Tips For Applying The Redundancy Principle In eLearning

  1. Give your online learners control over the audio and text.
    Rather than deciding for your online learners, why not give them control over whether they listen to the audio or read the text. Include captions that can be turned on or off, as well as audio that can be muted. This is also ideal for mobile learners who need to be able to adjust the volume of the eLearning course when they are in public spaces, such as crowded break rooms. There are times when slipping on a pair of headphones simply isn’t an option, and opting for text over audio may be the best bet.
  2. Use text to highlight the key points.
    Text and audio can go hand in hand, if used properly. Rather than repeating the audio verbatim, you can use text to simply highlight the key points of the eLearning course. This draws your learners’ attention to the core concepts and ideas, without overwhelming them with too much information. When you do this, the text becomes a support tool for the audio instead of conflicting with it. There is also another way to integrate text with audio, which is offering your audience helpful tips that are not mentioned in the narration. Just make sure that you offer these tips after the audio has ended or include “in between” screens that give them a chance to read the tips without having to focus on the audio component.
  3. Omit navigation instructions from your audio.
    The navigation icons are already on the screen. Therefore, you do not need to repeat them in the audio narration. There is a caveat to this, however. Your navigation icons or buttons should be clearly visible on the screen so that your online learners don’t have to search for them after the audio has ended. There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to move onto the next page of the eLearning course, only to discover that you can’t find the navigation button amid all of the images and text. If you aren’t including any text on the screen and are steering clear of navigation icons, then you probably should bend the rule a bit by verbally explaining how your learners should proceed. With that being said, keep in mind that this may exclude your on-the-go learners who have the audio muted.
  4. Create two versions to cater for different learning needs.
    Some online learners prefer reading their way through an eLearning course while others may enjoy listening to the eLearning content. You also have online learners who are more visual, by nature, and need images and graphics to immerse themselves in the eLearning experience. For this very reason, you may want to consider creating at least two different versions of the eLearning course to cater for different learning needs. This doesn’t have to involve a total redesign. In fact, you can simply include a static image in your audio-based eLearning course so that they devote their full attention to listening. You do have to make sure, however, that your learners can pick and choose whichever version best suits their needs, and that you don’t create an eLearning course that limits accessibility for those who have special learning needs or disabilities.

While repetition can help your learners commit information to long-term memory, redundancy can have the opposite effect. Use these 4 Redundancy Principle tips to create memorable eLearning courses that boost knowledge retention, rather than overwhelming your learners' mental processes.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Voice Over Audio Script Format Tip: Save Time

How To Save Time Using A Simple Audio Script Format 

I do a fair share of eLearning audio voice overs, have read hundreds of audio scripts, and I have seen many different formats frequently enough in the past five years; I think it’s worth sharing this simple and effective voice over (VO) audio script format tip to help any audio script writer save time. Hopefully this is easy for you to remember in your next audio script preparation.

I learned from my clients who write a lot of audio recording scripts, and therefore have experienced how to save time with an efficient audio script format. For anyone unfamiliar, eLearning audio scripts are used to provide the voice over talent and audio editor the text to be recorded. The audio script format can define which text portions are edited into which individual audio file, and what names to assign to those audio files.

Often, if you are not recording the audio yourself, it’s important to estimate the volume of work needed. In the voice over industry, usually that’s decided by the word count of the script, as well as understanding the number of finished audio files needed. Your audio script format can do that work for you, and this format is set up to let you easily determine the total word count and audio file quantity.

All you have to do is format your audio script into a 2 or 3 column table. That’s right – it’s that easy. Column 1 contains the audio file name, and column 2 is text associated with that segment. If you have a 3rd column, it will contain pronunciation or special notes associated with that segment. If you prefer a 2-column format, I suggest you put all pronunciation guides at the top of the document, just above the table containing the audio script.

  • Efficiency Tip 1.
    Easily determine how many audio files are needed: Select and highlight the entire “file name” column, and then from the drop-down menu “table” select properties. From the pop-up window, select the tab “rows” to see how many rows are in the table. The new window will show the “size” listing; “rows 1 – XX” and that XX is your row count. Minus any header row, you have the number of audio files needed.
  • Efficiency Tip 2.
    Easily determine the word count by selecting the entire “script/text” 2nd column, leaving it highlighted. Then, using “tools”, select word count from the drop-down menu. Again, minus any header row, that’s the word count for the script.

By using this audio script format, you can easily get fast and productive costs ahead of time from your voice over talent.

Here’s what a snippet of each 2 or 3 column audio script format looks like:

2 or 3 column versions

2 or 3 column versions

I prefer the 2 column format personally, so I can see more script as I record. But I’ll take the 3 column format over any other style, if possible.

That’s it. I’d love to know if you have any tips to add!

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

7 eLearning Script Writing Tips To Perfect Your eLearning Course Narrative

eLearning Script Writing Tips To Perfect Your eLearning Course Narrative

As eLearning professionals we are often required to tackle a wide range of tasks and responsibilities in order to get the job done and to create the best possible eLearning experience for our audiences. Becoming a strong writer is usually par-for-the-course. We must continually hone our writing talents and learn the nuances of carefully crafting content if we want to develop successful eLearning deliverables. In this article, I'll share some helpful eLearning script writing tips that you'll want to bear in mind when writing your eLearning course narrative.

  1. Writing is a careful balance of planning and execution.
    The secret to creating truly powerful and immersive content is all in the planning. You have to brainstorm your ideas, get a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve, and consider the message you want to convey to your learners before you ever put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, in most cases. This creates a sense of order and clarity in your writing, rather than developing eLearning content that lacks clear direction and focus. So, take the time to collect your thoughts and then concentrate on how you are going to actually execute your plan. If any ideas need to be clarified, then speak with a subject matter expert beforehand, or do some research to figure out how you can best deliver the eLearning content for maximum effect.
  2. Make it fun, entertaining, and relatable.
    An eLearning course narrative, regardless of the subject matter, should be relatable, entertaining, and inspiring. Even if you are dealing with a dry subject matter, creating an eLearning course narrative that grabs learners'attention and helps them connect with the material is all-important. Use language that your learners can understand and remember that you are educating human beings. Keep it conversational and interesting, while still giving them the information they need to know.
  3. Simple and straightforward is the secret to a successful eLearning narrative.
    While it's always good to interject creativity into your eLearning scripts, it's also essential to keep things simple and straightforward. Don't go off into tangents that may be entertaining but not necessarily informative for your learners. And, first and foremost, make it concise! If you find that certain bits of text seem unnecessary or don't serve the eLearning goals and objectives, then cut it out of your narrative. For example, if you're creating an eLearning script for a character-based story, you don't have to go into their entire backstory and reveal every detail of their personality. Just give the learners the information they require to connect and relate with the characters, without overwhelming them with extraneous details.
  4. Remember that writing styles should be fluid and adaptable.
    Your writing style should adapt to whatever you are writing. If you are creating an eLearning narrative for a corporate online training deliverable that is addressed to the upper level management, then your tone needs to be more professional or serious. On the other hand, when developing an eLearning course for younger adults, you could use language and tone that is light-hearted and less formal. While you can have a distinct writing style that is all your own, and a cultivated writing voice that reflects your talents and personal character, you should also be willing to adapt the style that better suits the needs of your learners.
  5. Choose words that paint a picture.
    The language you use should paint a vivid picture for your learners. It should make them feel something. Use words that are more descriptive and visual in nature. Include vivid imagery that helps the learner to put themselves in the shoes of the character or immerse themselves in a situation. By doing this, they become active participants who can see the real world applications of the knowledge they are acquiring, and connect with the eLearning content on a much deeper level.
  6. How it reads is just as important as what is being said.
    How your eLearning content sounds when it is being read aloud, as well as how easy it is to read, are two key considerations to remember when you're writing your eLearning course narrative. While using a fancy font might make the eLearning course look more polished, it can also make it difficult for learners to comprehend. Likewise, if you are using words that may be more complex or don't flow in the overall narrative, it may compromise the quality of the eLearning course. Therefore, you'll want to read it aloud after you've written the eLearning script, just to ensure that it sounds as good as originally intended, and stick with fonts that are clear and legible on all eLearning platforms.
  7. Give it an active voice!
    Your writing must have a unique voice, and preferably an active one. It must make your learners feel as though they are being welcomed into a supportive learning environment where they can get the information they need to help them in their real lives. If you use an active voice, rather than passive, you can make your eLearning script direct, engaging, and motivational, as your learners will be able to immediately see the value of the subject matter that you are offering them.

Use these eLearning script writing tips to produce content that leaves a lasting impression on your learners. Taking the time to perfect your eLearning course narrative has a direct impact upon what your learners take away from the eLearning experience and can mean the difference between achieving eLearning goals and failing to meet their expectations.

Even when you have finished with all the writing, you are not actually done yet! Without a thorough round of proofreading, chances are the finished eLearning deliverable just isn't going to be an accurate representation of your talent or expertise! Read the article 7 Tips for Proofreading And Editing Your eLearning Course to learn about the techniques that can help develop high quality eLearning deliverables that are always polished and perfected.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.