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Using audio in eLearning

Audio is becoming increasingly important and expected in modern day eLearning. Audio provides the ability to verbally explain to the learner a concept or used as supporting instructions on a page. When compared to text, images or video it does have some advantages, for example video can look great on screen and be very eye-catching got the learner, however it can also be very costly and time consuming to produce, edit and publish.

Similarly text and images can be used to illustrate learning concepts however it can become static. Audio provides a nice balance for your eLearning and digital training in that it provides engagement for your learner without too much editing and up-front costs.

Here are some ways you can use audio in your eLearning:

1. Instructional Text

Instructional text is a common choice when recording audio, the benefit of using audio for instructional text is that it is immediately grabs the learners attention. Often learners can become confused on what to click next, they may not see the instructional text or the course might not be intuitive enough. One way to overcome this is to place audio instructions at the end of a pages timeline, once all videos/audio/actions have been completed you can then tell the learner what to do to continue, this is particularly useful with audiences that are not as computer savvy.

2. Explaining concepts

Sometimes you may need to explain a complex topic in your eLearning course. This topic might contain a lot of information that needs to be explained in a short space of time, what can happen in this case is that you don’t have enough room on screen to place all the text and images required. One way to resolve this is to use audio in combination with an animation, by having an animation play illustrating a topic then having audio to support what is being said means you can provide a lot of information to the learner even when you don’t have much screen space to play with.

3. Narratives

One design method for eLearning is to tell a story or narrative, using gamification elements such as avatars, characters and narratives it is possible to convey learning topics as a linear story the learner can follow. Using audio with this technique can be very effective, instead of just having avatars on screen with speech bubbles it is possible to combine what is being said with audio, this brings characters to life and grabs the learners attention much better than just using text, this helps to engage learners more in what is being taught.

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