Technology is revolutionising educational practices, with new methods appearing all the time. However, if you are developing an online course programme, you need to decide which style of presentation will be most appropriate, and the ultimate goal should always be the successful transfer of knowledge and skills.
Choosing the right voice to illustrate your e-learning courses can be a daunting task. Given that educational videos are usually long and contain content that can be a little arduous, the voice you choose will help to convey the information to your audience in an accessible and engaging way.
A suitable voiceover can also help to create a lasting connection with your students, and help them to better retain the information you are sharing with them. So it’s important to select a suitable voice for your e-learning videos.
Here are a few useful tips to help you choose the perfect voice actor for your educational material.
Think about the personality of your e-learning course
You may think that the visual aesthetics of your course are the most important.
At the start of the design process, you’ll need to define the look and feel of the course, the fonts, colours, images – essentially, defining the personality of the course. This is a good time to choose the voice.
The right voice can help improve student retention in the long term.
This is especially true if your e-learning courses feature a character or avatar. Having a suitable voice for this avatar adds a touch of personality.
Matching the voice to that of the audience
There are a number of things to consider when trying to match a voice to your target audience. You’ll probably be wondering whether you should use a female or male voice.
The gender of the voice will be influenced by the gender of the students enrolled on your e-learning platform. If the audience is mainly male, you will want to consider using a male voice. This is because students generally want to learn complex information from someone who sounds like them.
Having decided whether the voice will be male or female, the next step is to define the age of the voice actor.
Taking vocal characteristics into account
Given that e-learning content tends to be more informative and longer than an advertising or commercial message, you want to make sure that the voiceover you use will fit in with this content. An announcer-type voice may not be one that your students will be able to appreciate for long periods of listening.
In general, you should prefer a voice that sounds informative. It is often said that the audience does not appreciate a “marketing voice” because it tends to sound false. Students often prefer the imperfections of a conventional voice.
You should also think about the distribution of your online courses. If you are addressing an international audience, you will probably need to choose an English-speaking voice, with a British or North American accent.
Choosing a voice that sounds good also means making sure that the tone and pitch of the voice are appropriate for your audience. Deep voices are perceived as more credible and trustworthy.
Test the voice with your target audience
If the e-learning videos you’re creating are aimed at children aged between four and six, you should try to get a group of children of that age to watch your content, so that you can get feedback early on in the process. Noting their responses can help you decide whether the voice works for your target group. If your platform only reaches a small audience, simply test with just a few people. It’s important to get this feedback on the voice right from the start, so that you can make any necessary changes.
Think about long-term objectives
Think about the fact that the voice you choose will be linked to your course in the future. If you intend to use the same voice-over actor on other e-learning platforms, make sure that this voice will be available in the long term. In this respect, voice cloning offers good prospects.
Even if you have the option of recording your course in-house, for reasons of cost, if you have the budget, a professional voice actor is preferable.
Choosing the right voice-over can have a major impact on the effectiveness of your lessons.
Artificial voice or human voice for your e-learning programme
You have the option of choosing an AI-created voice or a human voice for your e-learning programme, and this decision should be determined by a thorough analysis of your audience and content. If your e-learning programme is extensive or highly technical, having an engaging human voice will help to increase student retention. But the cost is of course a consideration. Producing multiple episodes with voice-overs in many languages can be expensive, and the quality of the artificial voices available is evolving rapidly.
The ability to update is the key to success
If you create online courses, you’ve probably had to update your course to stay relevant and provide accurate information. However, the process of updating your content will also involve updating the recordings that accompany your visuals. This can sometimes prove difficult for course creators and e-learning specialists. In this case, the use of artificial voices will make updating considerably easier.