Narration can add real value and personality to an elearning course. When done well, it entertains and engages learners, and can help improve knowledge retention. If you decide you want to add narration to your elearning course, the first step is writing an elearning voiceover script.
These 6 tips will help you write great elearning voiceover scripts.
Tip 1 – plan before you start writing
The planning stage is your opportunity to make sure you include everything that needs covering. Go through your existing course and think about how your voiceover script can complement the text, images and interactions. As a general rule, 100 words equates to 1 minute of recording time. This is helpful if you’re using transitions in your course, so you know how long something needs to remain on screen.
Consider what the most important ideas are in each part of the course and make sure you cover them in your script. It’s helpful to look at the learning goals of the course and make sure the script supports these too.
Tip 2 – write like you speak
You want learners to feel like they’re listening to someone who is friendly, but at the same time knows and understands the topic. Writing in a natural, conversational tone will help you achieve this. Keep your sentences short and use contractions. Address your learners directly and adopt the active rather than the passive voice. Consistency of style and tone will also give your narrator credibility and authenticity.
That doesn’t mean you can’t include technical terminology and content. Just make sure you use plain language where possible and stick to one idea per sentence.
Tip 3 – edit down
Remember the 100 words equals 1 minute rule? This will help you keep the narration brief, engaging and proportional to the action. We read faster than we speak, and no one wants to stare at a static screen while a voiceover explains something. Your learners get bored and the purpose of the voiceover is lost.
Try shortening your script by cutting out any unnecessary information and get straight to the heart of your point. If you really can’t edit anything out, try adding more visual elements to the screen to keep users engaged.
Tip 4 – read it out loud
Few of us enjoy the sound of our own voice. Even if you’re not the person recording the voiceover, you should still test how your script sounds by saying it out loud. It’ll help you pick up on anything unnecessary, not in line with the rest of the tone, or simply something that reads clearly on paper but sounds unnatural when spoken.
When writing has good rhythm and flows well it holds your attention for longer. Reading aloud is the best way to improve this aspect of your script.
Tip 5 – the sound of silence
Don’t be afraid of silence when creating your elearning voiceover. Your learners need breaks so they can process information and absorb the onscreen content.
Silence is also a useful tool to let your learners know when a new idea is being introduced to the course or when they are about to move on to a new section. You can even use it to emphasise when they need to pause and consider something carefully, such as a detailed graph or complex scenario.
Tip 6 – don’t just duplicate the onscreen text
Your elearning voiceover script should act as a learning aid to help users absorb the content more effectively. Making narration identical to onscreen text will only make it redundant.
You need to find a balance between what content is narrated and what content you should let learners read for themselves. Use the voiceover to draw attention to the key points or act as a bridge between key ideas.
Great elearning voiceover scripts are part of the brilliant elearning service we provide here at GLAD. To find out more, why not send an email to me at email@example.com. You can also keep up to date with what we’re doing on Twitter or sign up to our mailing list below to receive more tips like this into your inbox.