infographic style, 2 head silhouettes opened from the forehead as if to expose the brain, which is portrayed as cogs and wheels. 2 hands appear above the cogs-and-wheels brains and seem to be 'tweaking' them as if to help the brains better retain information such as from an elearning course.

Savvy instructional designers know that voice over is a crucial tool to improve information retention from any Learning Management System (LMS), especially once you’ve honed your script.

But it’s worthwhile to note that not just any voice over will do. Quality counts, and the voice you choose can have a big impact on your bottom line – including learner (and client) retention.

As an instructional designer, don’t fall into the trap of recording voice over yourself (especially if you’re not also a trained voice actor). Not only is it hard to judge your own performance (and let’s be honest, listening to your own voice is uncomfortable for most people), the DIY route is actually not the most cost effective.

Here are 4 reasons why hiring an elearning voice over professional will ensure the success of your elearning course.

1. Professional Voice Actors Allow You to Choose a Voice that Resonates with Your Audience

What makes a voice the ‘right voice’ goes deeper than having a pleasant or friendly tone.

In our annual voice casting trends report we discovered that audiences prefer to receive information from someone that sounds the same age as them. Marketers, advertisers and creative professionals in media are using this information to their advantage, by seeking out professional voice actors whose sound mirrors that of the target audience.

In elearning, hiring a professional voice actor whose voice age (the age they sound vs. the age they are) matches your audience can increase engagement, reduce elearning video abandonment (videos not streamed to completion), increase learning retention, and reinforce the continued use of the elearning course.

Research also suggests that different vocal traits are perceived differently by the end audience. For instance, deep, low-pitched voices are perceived as having more integrity and competence, while light, yet warm, voices are seen as trustworthy, in a peer-to-peer situation.

2. Professional Voice Actors Bring Your Elearning Script to Life

A 2010 elearning study published by Chapman Alliance shows that a 10-hour elearning course will take about 790 hours from development to the finished product. That’s about 90 work days spent on course outlines, instructional design, script writing, storyboarding, graphic production, video production, audio production, authoring/programming, QA testing, and more.

That’s a lot of time to spend on a project. With so much invested, it only makes sense that the voice over is given the proper time and attention too.

After all, a survey of over 1000 creatives found that over 80% of respondents believe “If all the elements of my project come together perfectly, but the voice over isn’t good, it can prevent me from achieving my intended objectives.”

Using professional voice over will give the elearning course a strong leg to stand on, because a voice actor knows how to bring scripts to life in an authentic way. They can nail down the pacing, pitch, tone, and inflections in their voice that will ultimately make the elearning course more effective.

3. Professional Voice Actors Are Trained, Versatile, and Impartial

If the internal person chosen to narrate the elearning course isn’t a professional voice actor, by no fault of their own, they simply don’t have the expertise to interpret the elearning script with the best vocal characteristics as mentioned in point 2 above. Even though they may have a lovely speaking voice, they aren’t trained in the art of keeping listeners engaged for long periods of time by incorporating different vocal qualities.

Plus, by hiring a professional, you can be confident that you’re able to objectively give feedback – something that’s hard to do when the voice over is provided by a colleague (or even by yourself).

We caught up with some instructional designers at an elearning technologies event who expressed how difficult it is to objectively evaluate voice over done by someone you know. When we know someone, we inherently have a better read on what they’re conveying as opposed to following along with someone we don’t know.

Elearning course participants need to be able to clearly understand the teachings being passed onto them. When you’re not able to objectively evaluate a narrator’s voice, there’s the risk of releasing a less-than-effective elearning course.

4. Great Voice Over Can Improve Learning Retention Outcomes, Which Means Happy Elearning Clients (and Repeat Business!)

In general business practice, it’s common knowledge that retaining repeat business is less costly than gaining new business. In addition, there’s the importance of referral business.

It’s quite possible that there can be a lack of ROI for the end client when a less-than-stellar voice over is used for an elearning course. And that poor experience can stop them from returning to an elearning company for any future work. Not because they’ve lost faith in the company, but because they’ve lost faith in elearning as a training solution. They’re also not keen to recommend the elearning firm to other businesses in their network that may have elearning needs too.

According to Bill Cates, founder of Referral Coach International, there is an increase of up to 80% in conversion rate from referral business. Meaning that if 50 people with elearning needs heard about the success of an elearning course from your client, 40 people are likely to hire elearning services compared to the 8 people who came in through a generic inbound business lead channel.

Choose Professional Voice Actors For Your Learning Management System

It can be difficult to think that one lack-lustre component of an awesome elearning project can hurt the overall performance. Especially when we reflect on how much time each aspect of the project took to plan and build.

As previously mentioned, our annual research returned a crystal clear opinion from advertising and marketing professionals about whether or not the voice over on a project could make or break it’s success. The respondents came back with a resounding belief that ‘if the wrong voice over is used on a project, the success of the project will be jeopardized’. With this being the industry opinion, let’s start making the narration of elearning courses an instructional strategy from the get-go, and move past the time where the narration was regarded as a last minute task.

Interested in learning more about voice talent who have a knack for long form elearning narration? Sign Up on Voices.com today!

1 COMMENT

  1. This is a great idea! Many of our customers at Trainual record presentations or create video animations for training employees, and using Voices for professionally recorded voice overs makes a lot of sense. We’ve used Voices for our phone answering service and promo commercials, and recommended the service to many companies! Keep up the good work.

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