Sound Communication: The Holdcom Blog

The 5 Do's and 5 Dont's of eLearning Presentation Audio

Music. Narration. Dramatic Dialogue. Do you incorporate any of this kind of audio into your eLearning Presentations? There are a variety of ways to use sound in your online learning modules, all of which can enhance content and engagement. 94% of learning is influenced by sight and sound, and combining these two most influential learning senses can increase information retention and turn your presentation into an interactive learning experience.

How much more effective will audio make your programs? According to a US Department of Labor/ OSHA Office of Training and Education study, when audio and visuals are used in presentations, learners retain about 65% of the material 3 days later, as opposed to just 10% retained from speech-only presentations and 35% retained from visual-only presentations. 

While it's true that audio can be a powerful component of an eLearning presentation, use it carefully there is a fine line between productive and unproductive use of sound. Here's a list of the 5 Major Do's and Don'ts of incorporating audio into eLearning presentations:

eLearning Presentation Do's...

  1. Do sync visuals and/or key points with appropriate narration that explains or enhances them.  are user-controlled, so narrations can be repeated, slowed down, or sped up to fit each individual's unique learning style. For example, you can show a chart and use sound to explain what the data means.
  2. Do get creative. You might incorporate dialogue to keep the presentation engaging and dynamic or create modules where the learner engages with audio to reinforce a training goal.
  3. Do "go pro". Use a professional voice talent, trained and experienced in educational recordings, as your narrator. Audio content will resonate more with audiences when it’s delivered in a clear voice. Consult a professional training company to ensure eLearningyour content is presented in the most effective way possible.
  4. Do keep your script motivating and interesting. Keep the audio passages succinct and informative, as too much audio is overwhelming. Sometimes, less is more.
  5. Do use proper voice inflections. A smooth, natural, and direct voice is ideal for eLearning presentations.

eLearning Audio Don'ts...

  1. Don't repeat each word of onscreen text. It can become irritating to the user. Instead, use audio as an enhancement.
  2. Don't record in a noisy location. Poor quality recordings make the audio counterproductive. Instead of making your presentation more effective, it distracts learners.
  3. Don't include large audio files. These types of files can cause the presentation to load slowly. A professional production company can help you maintain good quality while reducing file size.
  4. Don't incorporate irrelevant audio into the presentation. Narration should explain the major points of your presentation, not introduce unrelated points. To ensure full user concentration, keep onscreen text and audio focused on one topic.
  5. Don't Forget on/off audio buttons. Because online training provides a learner-controlled experience, it’s important that individuals can stop, rewind, fast forward, and repeat information.  

When correctly executed, audio can increase learner engagement and information retention. When improperly applied, sound can actually distract learners and decrease program efficacy. Since the US Department of Labor found that combining audio and visuals makes information six times stickier, it’s clear that sound can’t be ignored. Use our tips to make sure your eLearning audio is great, not gruesome. To further enhance eLearning presentations, consider professional voice talents who are trained to effectively express emotion, authority, and/or authentic accents and language.

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Tags: tips, e-learning, presentations