Professionals across industries are flocking to eLearning courses in order to hone skills and acquire knowledge. The number of interactive and useful courses seems to be growing by the day.

Alas, not all modules are created equal, especially if a course doesn’t provide narration for its content. Naturally, the narration doesn’t automatically make a course amazing. It has to be done right in order to add value.

That being said, top courses do have something in common— they seamlessly integrate different learning resources and tools. Narration is an essential ingredient, which adds a layer of comprehension. You could say it makes the whole eLearning journey come to life.

We’re going to explore just how narration fits into the big picture and aids people in overcoming the learning curve.


Narrative approach in a nutshell

Audio narration is the heart and soul of online courses and training programs.

It sets the stage for these eLearning projects and dictates the pace of learning.  Additionally, narration infuses programs with authentic personalities. This quality drives engagement and helps eLearning providers really connect with the students.

Likewise, narration effectively decreases the amount of reading, warding off boredom and breaking up the monotony. This is absolutely crucial when it comes to longer and detail-laden programs.

Simply put, merely looking at the screen doesn’t carry the same weight. Text fails to match audio in terms of improving comprehension of information, as well as lowering resistance to learning.

There are also accessibility considerations to take into account. The audio narration gives more people a chance to keep up with the content of a course.

And with an effective content localization and translation in place, the narration also opens the program to a multilingual audience.


Helping the information stick

Multimedia courses prove to be superior to those relying on just one method.

Narration, in particular, is a key component anchored in the modality principle. This principle says that presenting words in audio format is more effective than merely putting them on screen.

Namely, cluttered screens with a lot going on can lead to visual overload. The narration mitigates this problem, as it transfers much of the load to the audio channel. People aren’t bothered with extraneous or irrelevant details.

Note that novice eLearners are especially prone to fatigue. The good news is that narration offers a way to manage the cognitive strain. This benefit is less apparent in the case of seasoned students but remains a selling point. 


Doing it right

Good narration can often explain visuals better than text.

One basic rule, however, is audio clarification should be short and on point. If it fails to embody these two qualities, it could do more harm than good.

On the other hand, we should underline in-depth narration has its merits too. It’s just that it doesn’t work well with extensive text. This is to say it’s best to have text as a summary of what the narrator is saying.

It’s also a good idea for narration to closely follow visual cues. When they’re represented at the same time, reinforcing benefits kick in. But, top course providers avoid complete text and audio overlap.

It does seem the combo of graphics, abbreviated text, and narration is particularly powerful. This is all to say other means of presenting information have a role to play.

Reference details, for instance, should always be in the form of text. The same goes for exercise and quiz instructions.


The best of both worlds

Narration has its limits and sometimes its effects are suboptimal depending on the complexity or type of content presented.

Yet, at the very least, courses need to use narration to hammer key points home. This best practice tends to increase basic acceptance and recall rates across the board. 

Indeed, well-designed e-learning programs never skimp on narration as well as other methods of presenting the information.

There are many bells and whistles that can significantly improve the learning experience. Some courses, for example, integrate a feature that displays a transcribed version of the narration.

This simple addition matters a great deal because people have different learning styles and needs. Some learners adore visuals and others want to sit back and listen (auditory listeners). We shouldn’t force them into one method of learning over another.


Learning pains and gains

Bad narration annoys people and acts as a customer repellant.

Leading providers are well aware of this and employ experienced narrators with pleasant and likable voices. Apart from this, there are a few other traits that great narrators share.

They are both readers and actors, who are fluent in the respective language and possess exceptional pronunciation skills.  Ideally, they also know the ins and outs of the industry sector learners operate in.

So, if you want to find a great narrator, do your homework. Consult your budget and assess the needs of the target clientele.  Once that is sorted out, contact the shortlisted candidates.

If you’re in the market for multilingual narration, many language service providers will have a stable of narrators for different languages and industries. Make sure to get samples of their work, assess the audio quality, and consider reviewing the project for clarity with people who understand the language.

There’s nothing worse than having a multilingual translation completed that doesn’t follow the information being presented or that has sub-par audio quality.


Narration gets the points across

Thoughtful audio narration makes the audience more receptive to the messages put forward.

Together with text and visuals, it facilitates the delivery of eLearning projects of all shapes and sizes. But, the narration isn’t the end-all and be-all of eLearning.

To boost information comprehension and retention, it needs to work in synergy with other elements. And in the case of top-notch programs, it does make a tremendous difference.

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