Audio in online training is usually served up in one of two forms: (1) poor-quality, amateurish, or (2) high-quality and professional. No one wants to be responsible for producing great-looking training that sounds awful, but with training budgets being what they are these days it’s hard to justify the expense of high-quality, professionally recorded audio. But leaving audio out of the training mix isn’t a great option, either. Audio serves a vital function — particularly in online training — by breathing life into your material, setting the tone, and grabbing your trainee’s attention.
So we need audio, but more importantly, we need to know when to use it for the greatest impact - and how to do so in a way that’s low-cost and high-quality. If it seems like using audio is too complicated or technical, let me assure that it’s not. I’m no audio Jedi Master, but through years of experience and lots of experimentation I’m getting the hang of it — and you can too!
Audio in all its various forms is most helpful when you need to make an impression. Audio narration, for instance, is much more powerful than silent text when you need to communicate a complex process. Some other areas where audio helps make an impact include:
Using audio in online training is a big topic with lots of people for and against, or somewhere in between. Judge for yourself: check out this excellent post and accompanying interview from Karl Kapp's blog.
Audacity is free, open-source software for recording and editing audio. There are plenty of other free and low-cost audio editing tools out there, but I use Audacity because it’s easy (the controls remind me of my 80’s era boom box), it’s powerful (I only use a small fraction of its capabilities), and because there’s a HUGE community of fellow users offering free tutorials and special effects plug-ins to make my life easier.
In fact, here are 4 Audacity tutorials I’ve pulled together to get you up and running AND show you how to edit your audio for higher-quality results.
1. Recording Audio with Audacity
2. Removing Unwanted Noise from Audio Files
3. Using Audacity's Equalization Effect
4. Using Audacity to Combine Narration & Music
Finally, here are a few tips for recording better quality audio so you won’t have quite as much editing work to do later.
We love it when you tell us what sounds good to you. Please use the comment link to share with the Mindflash community.Trina Rimmer is a learning and communications consultant with twelve years experience designing, developing, and delivering smart, engaging training solutions. When her training skills aren't being tested by her children, you'll find her helping others to develop their own design muscles. Contact Trina at firstname.lastname@example.org.