The Articulate elearning challenge this week is about recording audio for online learning.
It got me thinking that before you can record audio, you really need to have a script to record. I’m a novice script writer, but here are my tips:
- Write what you would say if you were just talking to someone.
- Use contractions.
- Try not to let Legal get involved (unless it is about compliance) – you’ll end up with Legalese.
- Never ever use the passive tense. I export my scripts to Word and run a grammar check. It takes some ingenuity to get rid of all passive verbs, but well worth it.
- No more than two sentences per slide/screen. Please. Read this post by Jennie Ruby where she explains why.
- Remove useless words and phrases – directly related to preceding point. I have a job aid hanging in my cube (see below).
- Read every single sentence aloud. If you can’t get it out, reword it until it sounds natural.
- NEVER EVER record word-for-word what is on the screen. Don’t read to people. (508 is exception).
- If someone else is going to do the recording, make sure you give them phonetic spelling/hints for strange words or acronyms as words.
Does anyone else have tips?
More great tips, Tricia! I added a link in the challenge comments to your post so folks can find these. I love your “find and delete” list! Great idea.
Thanks Dave…this was a great challenge for me because I’m deep in the midst of writing scripts and recording audio!
Good timing, then! “Very” and “really” are two words I make it a point to avoid. I really mean it.
These are fantastic tips, Tricia. Only one that’s a little sideways.
“NEVER EVER record word-for-word what is on the screen. Don’t read to people. (508 is exception).”
I’d adjust that to say “ALMOST NEVER record word-for-word what’s on the screen.” There are some instances where I would intentionally read word for word. When precision of the verbiage matters, as in legal / compliance. Or for effect. Wouldn’t do it often and would try to avoid it. Almost never:)
For the second part, there are many ways to deal with Section 508 requirements to make content accessible for folks with a vision impairment. Self voicing content is one way. Another is driving through a screen reader. The key is conveying the same meaning. Often, when onscreen text is used, the audio carries more information.
Hi Steve, you make very good points! Really!
I agree the occasional reading of the screen word-for-word can be powerful – in moderation, as in everything.
It’s my personal pet peeve when I take an elearning course and every single word in the audio is also on the screen.