Voiceover can bring a magic and multimedia experience to an eLearning training that can be critical for overall engagement. Following are some great questions to consider while you decide on whether or not to include it in your training.
- As always, what does your client want or expect from the training you create? Some clients may want to guarantee a certain amount of seat time, in which case having voiceover that needs to finish before being able to move on can create those boundaries.
- Are the learners fluent in the language the course is presented in? If they are not fluent, having the course narrated, at an appropriate speed, can really benefit learners when they’re already working hard to learn in a non-native language.
- Will there be animation along with the voiceover? If a voice artist is simply reading text on a screen, that can make for a very tedious training. This is a great example of redundancy. Studies show that combining voiceover with animation can enhance retention, as it activates multiple areas of the brain at once. Further, if a slide can’t be finished until the voiceover has completed, that could create frustration, as most people read faster than a narrator speaks.
- Where will the learner be when they’re engaging with the course? If they’ll most likely be in a private place, where they can play audio through their computer speakers, that would be idea. However, if they’ll be in a computer bay or in cubicles with low walls, will they have headphones available so the audio isn’t a distraction to those around them?
- How much of your course is story-based? This is one of the greatest reasons for using a talent voice actor. Storytelling is at the heart of great narration, and it can bring out the magic of the content.
- Is this a training in which the learners will need to understand how something sounds? Good examples would include call center trainings, where reading “say it in a nice and pleasant tone” isn’t as effective as hearing somebody deliver it in a nice and pleasant tone. What about training for a social worker or counselor? Hearing somebody talk about difficult topics can fill in the gap when explaining it just isn’t enough.
- In what country will your content be played? What are the typical conventions of that location? If narration is typical of courses in a country, it may make sense to do it the way learners are used to.
- Will you need to produce the training in multiple languages? This will mean coordinating with multiple narrators, and can add to complexity, cost and ability to deliver on-time.
- Is your content subject to frequent updates? If the content will stay relatively stable over time or change every six months is an important thing to consider. You’ll want to know what the voiceover artist’s update fees and policies are.
In the end, you need to develop a complete picture of how the voiceover will be used, your client expectations and needs, the complexity of acquiring and updating the voiceover, and the particular needs of your learners.
Written by Jessica Taylor, eLearning Narrator