• Peter Baker


For eLearning, or training scripts, in a way they are similar in voice style to a documentary narration, but also must be as precise and clear as telephone prompts. You have absolutely no idea the type of people who may be doing the training. There may be a variety of ages and ethnic backgrounds, some people may not have English as a first language. They are all relying on you to convey important information they need to keep their jobs and to be successful in their lives. You have a great responsibility.

Once you have checked the script, found how to say unusual names or acronyms and got an understanding of what is being taught, and that's really important in any eLearning or training script, then you can start to record. Remember you have got to sound like an expert in the subject matter. Obviously you are not, because you're “just” the voice over. However you've got to SOUND like an expert! So try and understand the script as best as you can and that way, you'll know the words to emphasise, and you'll also know the gaps you need to put in so that information can sink in to the trainee, before you move onto the next section of script. Imagine the face of one of the trainees listening to you, give them a name, imagine where they are, with the headphones on, desperate to pass this training course. Did they understand what you just said?

The subject matter that you are teaching can vary enormously. Last year I had a whole series of eLearning programmes about insurance. It was aimed at insurance salespeople, and it was about 5 1/2 hours’ worth of audio in the end. It was challenging, not because I found it particularly boring, in fact some of it I actually learned a lot from, and changed one of my main insurance policies because of it! The main reason it was hard, was that the concepts spoken about didn't have any visuals I could imagine.

When you can think of specific things talked about, it helps enormously in understanding concepts, and in getting that understanding in the tone of your voice, so that the Elearning narration sounds confident, and will thus help the trainee get the most from the learning package.

An example of regular training I do is for the aviation industry, and that is much easier to imagine. Only last week myself and my female voice over partner, Katy, were recording a series of aviation training eLearning scripts and it was all about runways and the dangers of landing on snow or water bound runways. It was full of curious jargon and acronyms, so we had to look those up obviously, but it was interesting because we could imagine snow on a runway, or a pilot coming into land in a thunderstorm, or whatever. The more physical things you can imagine in your head, and the situations that you are training, will help you a lot in getting the emphasis points right, so it's not like you are reading a load of words that you don't really understand. What helped us with the aviation eLearning packages, was to watch various videos on YouTube, from pilots and other experts in the aviation industry, where we could not only could we understand how to say some highly complex acronyms, and the way they say certain things like the time or the number of the runway, but just to get more of an understanding of the topic. If you get any eLearning scripts, they will become part of you after you've completed them, and often you feel that you are an expert yourself in the subject, even though you may never want to sell insurance or to fly a plane!

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