Sound Communication: The Holdcom Blog

Sound Advice for eLearning

written by Ronna Caras, President of Caras Training, a leading provider of eLearning consulting, curriculum design and facilitation.

ELearning audio - colorful books with headphonesIf you are considering improving the impact of your online learning library, here are a few tips for making Elearning programs work for all levels of learners:

1. Introduce a character whose voice narrates, instructs, guides and gives feedback.

2. Don’t worry about the look of the graphics or the budget that might be required to build the program in flash. Get good voices and all the rest is believable.

3. Skip the written responses to activities and quiz questions. No one needs to read “try again”. Instead, provide audio coaching. Your main character can be the coach whose feedback corrects a mistaken idea. Or, consider adding 3 buttons that represent 3 different coach voices the learners can choose from. Don’t be surprised if many learners click all 3 after a wrong answer just to hear what the coach characters have to say.

4. Keep the sound fresh by including alternate venues and voices. We used a phone conversation where the “hotline attendee” truly sounded like she was on the phone. Sam walked in and out of doors that closed behind him. He drove a car into traffic where learners heard the sounds of the city. Your characters can go underwater, in an airplane, in a tunnel, on a train… One can sing a song, have a strange laugh or sound like she’s running and out of breath. There are many ways to add audio surprises that stimulate learners and keep them engaged.

In this era of multi-generational learners, we know that visual cues and motion are essential for grabbing attention of the folks who grew up playing video games. But budgets can be strained by graphics. And some remote locations can have trouble streaming large files.

In comparison, audio is inexpensive, highly engaging, entertaining and memorable. When used with lots of clicks and drags and questions during a well-written storyline, professional audio will raise the motivation to learn and the learning dramatically.

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Tags: resources, tips, e-learning