DevLearn is an event put on each year by The eLearning Guild. This year’s event is being held in Las Vegas, Nevada at the MGM Grand from November 16 through 18, 2016. We like to think of DevLearn as the “Woodstock” of the eLearning community. Some of the best and brightest from the learning community, especially where the use of technology is involved, come together to learn from one another, share best practices, and explore what the future of learning may hold. This year we have the honor of being selected to present a one-hour concurrent session, The Power of Sound: Simple Tips for Audio Editing. In light of our upcoming presentation, we thought it only fair that we share some of those tips and tricks with the people who cannot be there in person with us this year.
The Use of Audio in eLearning
We have seen several clients take varied views on how best to use audio in eLearning. Some prefer not to use it at all. Some prefer to have audio throughout. We tend to believe that audio can be a very powerful tool. But we don’t subscribe to one certain formula on when and how it should be used. Instead, we look to the course and the content being covered to help dictate how best to use audio. Along the way, we’ve picked up a few important factors that are worth considering:
- Who is the audience? Is it a multi-lingual audience? Would the audio and transcript need to be translated into multiple languages?
- Where will the learner be viewing the training? Will they have access to headphones or space to view the training without them in order to hear the audio? Or will they be forced to read the transcript?
- Is the audio enhancing the learning experience? Or simply restating what is already being presented on the screen?
And finally, if you do decide to use audio to enhance the learning experience, the quality of that audio is paramount. We believe that poor quality audio can, in fact, do more harm than good! So, with that in mind, let’s talk about the recording process.
The Recording Process
We are strong believers that one of the most important steps in the recording process is a quality script! Even the most skilled voice talent will waste time if there are improperly placed commas in a poor-quality script. So spend some time making sure that the script is perfect – read it out loud and do everything in your power to make the process as easy for the voice talent as possible!
Now that you’ve ensured you have a perfect script, the next step is to make sure that your recording space is as good as it can be. While a proper recording studio and equipment can be quite costly, you can still achieve high quality audio without all that fancy equipment. There are easy ways to ensure a proper setup. First, make sure that you are well hydrated. Being well hydrated is one of the easiest ways to ensure you don’t have too many mouth noises or plosive sounds in your recording. Invest in a good microphone, whether it is a condenser microphone or a dynamic microphone. Next up, look into some basic sound treatments – make or buy a portable sound booth and/or a pop filter. Treat the walls if necessary. The best way to save yourself time in the editing process is to make sure your recording is so clean it doesn’t need much editing to start with!
Editing your Audio
Once you’ve recorded your audio, the final step is to clean-up and edit that audio. Hopefully, if you’ve written a proper script, set up a good recording space, and recorded clean audio, you won’t have much work to do. If not, you may need to employ such techniques as:
- Normalizing – Raising the volume of your clip to a specified level
- Equalizing – Controlling the various frequencies within the recording, which can also help eliminate background noise
- Noise Reduction – Isolating and removing unwanted background noise
- Compressing – Compressing any sound that exceeds established thresholds
- De-essing – Removing unwanted “ssss” sounds that can happen when audio recording quality is low
- Other effects such as cutting, clipping, applying hard limits, and fading
If you’d like to learn more, you’ll have to check out our session at DevLearn!
We Hope to See You There!
This is a can’t-miss experience if you or your company has an interest in learning through technology! This will be our second year attending DevLearn, and we’re sure it’ll be just as wonderful and inspiring an experience as it was last year. You can read about our experience last year here. We’ll be presenting our Concurrent Session, The Power of Sound: Simple Tips for Audio Editing, on Friday, November 18. Not only will we be presenting our Concurrent Session, but we have also been accepted to compete in Demo Fest for the second year in a row! We’ll be presenting our 5 example eLearning interactions we first talked about in a recent blog post here. So, with that, we hope you are able to come out and check out all that DevLearn has to offer, and, if you do, please be sure to stop by and say hello!