Let's get one thing out of the way right from the start and answer the question, "Should you use audio narration in your e-learning courses?" Ruth Clark, author of E-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning, answers this question clearly when she recommends that you should have all speech as audio rather than as text on the screen, especially when describing a visual of some kind. Clark offers a wide variety of evidence to support this recommendation in her book, which is a must read for anyone who designs e-learning.
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.