Audio narration is a very effective means of increasing the efficacy of online courses. Proper use of video and narration improves the comprehension of the subject matter. It helps make the course persuasive. The learner could be better engaged for longer periods through effective audio narration. In this article, we will discuss the types, importance and effective usage of audio in eLearning.
The pundits of eLearning identify three types of narration that could be used effectively. They are as follows:
The role of narration needs to be understood in the wider context of the online course. It basically talks about the visual content. It adds instructional value to the ocular content. It helps the trainee learn better from the visuals by supporting them and helps provide better explanation of the content on the screen.
The eLearning course could be made appealing to the learner through narration. It complements the visual content in achieving the learning objectives of the course. Effective use of audio helps the trainee retain the concepts learnt efficiently.
Audio could be used a meaningful supplement to ocular learning. It helps to increase the quality of training by reducing the cognitive load on the learner. An excellent audio narration makes the e-course captivating. A skilled narrator goes beyond describing the content on the screen. He sounds like a person conversing with the trainee. He helps the trainee identify himself with the course.
The personalization of the learning process goes a long way in ensuring learner delight. An adept narrator sounds confident; explains the content like an expert in the subject even if he isn't one. He has a proper inflection in his voice, which includes smooth and natural flow of dialogue. His pace is comfortable and he modulates his tone very well.
Use narration only where it is needed. Reading every word on the screen creates humdrum. It could be used to effectively explain a process or process flows, complicated definitions, key points, simulations, etc., where the use of audio could be very useful in reducing the stress caused by the learning process as the trainee needs to grapple with complex learning content. This could also prevent him from turning passive.
The learner should have the option to turn the narration off at his choice. This feature makes the course suitable to both visual and auditory learners. The auditory learner could make use of the narration to have an enhanced learning experience, whereas the visual learner could better learn without the audio. Thus, it facilitates the learner to exercise proper control over the course. It is essential to synchronize the audio with the visual content to provide a rich learning experience.
Audio could be used to introduce an element of fun into the eLearning course. However, care should be taken that the narrator sounds humorous to the learner. A serious voice could never tell a joke convincingly.
The use of audio presents certain technical problems. Large audio files need more time to load. Poor quality of recording could distract the learner. Thematic disconnection of audio narration with the on-screen text and graphics could confuse him. It is very essential to ensure that the recording is of high quality because this has a bearing on the learning experience of the trainee.
A good script is the key to effective narration. It takes time and effort to develop and practice a good script. This may always not be possible. Things get complicated if the course needs constant updates. Problems could be faced if the course has to be delivered in more than one language as it is hard to prepare scripts in multiple languages and effectively narrate them. Even if the course is delivered in one language, the use of an incomprehensible accent and unfamiliar cultural references could confuse the learner and distract him.
Hiring the services of professionals could help solve some of the problems in effective usage of audio. Recordings done in high quality, sound-proof studio tend to be better than those done by amateurs. The expertise of sound engineers could be used to ensure proper compression rates. On the flip side, use of professionals is expensive.
Thus, we see that efficient use of audio could be an ideal complement to the visual content in the achievement of the learning objectives.