Sound Communication: The Holdcom Blog

Attention to Detail in eLearning Programs

elearning audio makes an impressionIncorporating audio in a training project helps to facilitate the learning process with a clear example of how a scenario may play out.  For Call Center training, capturing a conversation between a "caller" and a "representative" can show the best way to handle a call. Trainees can carefully listen to the conversation and understand how the representatives handle specific situations, not only staying on "script" but listening to the attitude and involvement of the representative, all key elements in the goal to provide excellent customer service. Timing, word choices, and confidence of the representative are all subtle nuances of fielding a customer call.

We recently recorded a training program which features two voices of the same gender.  Even though the project coordinator picked the voices, when the project was completed the two voices sounded very similar, making it difficult to know when the representative was talking and when the caller was speaking--unacceptable for a training project.  Fortunately, we were able to digitally alter the pitch and tone of the voices to differentiate them. One might call this a minor adjustment, but it was the difference between a program working or not working.  As they say, the devil's in the details. What are some other details you should you be looking and listening for?

  • Correct words and usage. Make sure the words of your script are correct, especially if they are different versions of the same word. If you use “your” instead of “you’re” or “patience” instead of “patients,” it can completely change the meaning of a sentence. Even if it still makes sense grammatically, that particular phrase might be read with the wrong inflection because of a difference in meaning.
  • Check pronunciation. Are you training in a particular area with a certain accent? Sometimes, an alternative pronunciation completely loses people. How bad can an accent be? I’ll never forget the time I asked my new neighbors, who had just moved  to New Jersey from Minnesota, if they'd like a drink--a "glass-a waw-tuh" with my New Jersey accent. Five minutes later, we established that we were talking about WATER. The lesson to be learned is that if you don’t speak the way your audience listens, they won’t know what you’re talking about, rendering your training program ineffective.
  • Overall, how does it sound? Look at the big picture. You get it, your boss gets it…will the training group get it? This group of people, the ones that don’t already know all of the answers, are the ones who are the most likely to be confused by the new content. A good tactic is asking someone from another department to have a listen, if possible. Since they don’t know what to expect, they will likely be a good test group. 

“Paying attention” doesn’t just mean thinking about how the finished piece sounds to you, it also means thinking about how it will sound to callers, users, and in this case, trainees. “Paying attention” means stepping outside of your own point of view and considering what someone else might hear and what problems this may cause. In the case of this particular recording, when the voices sounded the same, there was no way to tell who was speaking: the caller or the representative.  This would have left the trainees feeling lost or unable to follow the conversation. They might have become confused and, as a result, would not have been well trained additions to this facility. Attention to detail can ultimately mean finding success.

Tags: tips, e-learning, scriptwriting