eLearning Voice Recording Helpful Tips
I do a lot of e-learning voice recordings, and every week I come across one of these issues, if not several. These are the top 5 frequent e-Learning voice recording situations that I’ve come across:
Is this pronounced A-C-R-O-N-Y-M-S or 'acronyms'? Is it read as letters or read as a word? A lot of scripts do have acronyms related to company or industry jargon. Define this in the script to avoid confusion and save re-records! You can use ALL CAPS but that may not be enough. Periods or dashes between letters (A-C-R-O-N-Y-M-S) generally indicate the word to be read as individual letters. But to be safe, put explanation notes in the margin or at the top of the script defining correct pronunciation, to reduce risk.
- Audio file - technical specifications
If you hire a voice talent to record for you, usually you ask for either mp3 or wav audio files back from her. But are you also specifying the bit rate? 16 bit resolution is the gold standard. If you get 24 bit, your audio may sound garbled but only after it's embedded into your program. Save time and trouble upfront by stating your audio tech specs! There may be other particulars you have also learned about, depending upon your development software. When you are working with someone new, double check this early on with a sample to confirm there are no technical issues.
- Attitude or Point Of View
What kind of attitude do you want to hear in the voice recording? Think about the end listener. What will peak their interest and attentiveness more? By taking the small amount of time to define the “who is talking” and “to whom”, you can help the person recording to provide a POV (point of view) with the right attitude. Plus, it’s a great way to provide impact and underscore the project for the client. This is a gem - often unused! For example, is this a co-worker talking to her peers or (differently) is she showing a new person the ropes? Is this an SME (subject matter expert) sharing expert information? To whom – Top management or research engineers? If your project is required information, like an annual safety review or similar, it can often be very dry material. Taking a couple minutes to think about the role of who delivers such information can energize dry material. Some more general examples of attitude can be: Strong and Authoritative. Caring and Conversational. Casual like a co-worker. Blue collar vs white collar.
Another gem of a different color! A voice recording can be done further or closer to the microphone. We call that 'proximity'. This can change or impact the way a listener responds. Compare whispering vs talking at a cubicle vs presenting to a room of people. Changing 'proximity' can create poignant moments that listeners will notice. Let your clients know about this technique as well. Used sparingly = high impact!
- Script Writing flow - or Writing with listening in mind
After all the information is written, review the script for a flow of words that, when read aloud, are easy to comprehend and will engage the listener. This may be hard to find time for, depending on your client's budget - but it is one of those quality elements that can win you a client's loyalty. When I see a line or two in a script that I think can be phrased to flow more conversationally, I might offer it as an alternate.