Elearning voiceover narration vs. traditional media voiceover

Creating voiceover narration for elearning programs requires an understanding of the specific characteristics of the user’s experience of the program.

Radio and television are passive media – users experience of “watching” these media has certain characteristics.  They passively receive the media, usually for the purpose of entertainment.  And they expect either a natural conversational voice, or a traditional “announcer” voice.

eLearning is an active experience.  Users make conscious selections and interactions with the programs and content, follow topics, actively read and evaluate information with the specific purpose of integrating it with their existing knowledge, and are prompted to answer questions or perform other interactive tasks.

You can likely expect elearning users to be more focused, and therefore a bit less patient, especially with narration that reads long blocks of on-screen text.  It is therefore often desirable to create voiceover narration with a  slightly  quicker pacing than other traditional media, and keeping it as lean as possible.

Also keep in mind that these segments will be often played back through lower quality computer speakers, or laptop speakers with less than optimal intelligibility.  And many users may speak other languages as their primary language. This suggests that along with the quicker pacing, the narrator should strive to place additional emphasis on clearly pronouncing the narrative, using slightly higher registers when possible, and/or boosting EQ to increase the clarity of the enunciation.  It may sound a bit less “natural” and conversational, but the audience will be better able to understand the narrative content…

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