The Use Of Music In eLearning: 4 Tips For eLearning Professionals

The Use Of Music In eLearning: 4 Tips For eLearning Professionals
Summary: Music has the power to move us, but does it really improve the immersion of your eLearning course or just distracts your audience? In this article, I'll discuss the benefits of music in eLearning course design and I’ll share 4 tips for using auditory works of art in your next eLearning experience.

4 Tips For Using Music In eLearning

Music can make us feel any number of emotions and inspire us to see the world with a fresh perspective. It can also have a profound impact on our brains, allowing us to link thoughts and ideas to meaningful listening experiences. As such, it can be a powerful tool in eLearning course design, turning even the driest and dullest subject matter into a truly engaging and enjoyable eLearning course.

Benefits Of Using Music In eLearning

a. Improves Knowledge Retention

Having music playing in the background of your eLearning course can help your online learners retain more information and even commit it to their long-term memory. This is primarily due to the fact that music typically triggers an emotional response. The learners then tie the subject matter to the emotional experience, which enables them to retain and recall it at a later time. Music can also calm and soothe your audience, especially classical or ambient soundtracks so that they are better able to focus and concentrate on the task.

b. Engages The Senses

Music in eLearning courses establishes a link with both the brain and the heart, as well as a variety of different senses. Not only are online learners hearing the music and seeing visual images on the screen, but also they are feeling the notes of the music. You can use different soundtracks to offer entirely unique experiences for your audience. For example, using music that features the harp will relax online learners, while a song that includes guitar might energize them and get them excited about the subject matter.

c. Creates An Emotional Connection

Above all else, music creates an emotional connection with your online learners that is simply impossible with a text-only eLearning course. You can even create eLearning cues that highlight the key takeaways. For example, if you play a particular track every time you mention an important concept, your learners’ brains will automatically focus on that specific idea. Think of it as a Pavlovian musical response. When their ears hear the music their brains immediately stand on alert and start soaking up the information.

4 Tips To Use Music In eLearning

a. Keep Mobile Learners In Mind

Though it’s easy to get carried away and create an eLearning strategy that centers on music, you have to remember that some of your online learners are not going to be able to enjoy the soundtrack. Learners who are hearing impaired or are accessing the eLearning course on their mobile device are perfect examples. This is why it’s always wise to give your audience control over the music, such as allowing them to adjust the volume or mute it entirely. Also, try not to make it an integral part of the eLearning experience, especially not to the extent that online learners must listen to the soundtrack in order to benefit from the eLearning course. For instance, you won’t want to sneak audio narrations into the soundtrack that mention key points of the online lesson.

b. Choose Musical Pieces That Suit The Subject Matter

We all have our favorite music artists, albums, and genres. However, our personal preferences should not stand in the way of creating a truly effective eLearning course. In other words, you must choose music that is right for the subject matter, even if it’s not something you would normally enjoy.  For example, you might be a fan of heavy metal music, but that’s probably not a good fit for your customer service online training course. Listen to a variety of different songs to choose the one that conveys the right tone and achieves the perfect emotions, then plug it into your eLearning course and see if it really has the desired effect.

c. Opt For Ambient Music To Avoid Distraction

When in doubt, go with ambient music that blends into the background and does not distract your audience from the subject matter. Remember, the goal is to incorporate music that the learner does not even notice, but still evokes an emotional response. Also, try to set the default volume lower than usual so that you don’t overwhelm the online learner with blaring music the moment they login to the eLearning course. Another point that goes along with this is the amount of music you should utilize. Ideally, you should music sparingly so that it calls attention to the key takeaways, rather than filling every moment with a tune.

d. Integrate Natural Sounds To Boost Realism

Aside from music, you can also include sound effects that enhance the realism of your eLearning course. This is especially useful when creating eLearning scenarios or simulations. If you are designing an online training course for sales personnel, then try to find natural sales floor sounds to integrate into your eLearning scenario so that online learners can immerse themselves in the situation. Certain music selections can even help to boost realism, such as an adventurous soundtrack to make a simulation more engaging and entertaining. Just remember that the music should not steal the spotlight. If you are using music that is a bit over the top, then use it sparingly and avoid pairing it with the key takeaways of the online lesson.

Music gives you the ability to create an immersive, emotional, and memorable eLearning course for your online learners, so that they can engage all of their senses and enjoy every moment of the eLearning experience. Use these tips to integrate music successfully into your eLearning course design and grab your audience's attention from the very start.

Now that you know the benefits of including music in your eLearning course, as well as tips for effectively using it in your next eLearning experience, read the article Ultimate List Of Free Music For eLearning Development to discover some free online music sources.

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