Audio Recording Tips for E-Learning Designers 

E-Learning Challenge #45: Challenge | Recap

If you’re like many course designers, you’ve probably had to record some audio for your e-learning courses. And recording audio is one of the simplest, most straightforward tasks you’ll perform in e-learning. You press the record button and—voilà!—you’re recording.

But what if you want to record high-quality audio? That’s easy, too. Every course designer knows that the key to great audio is… microphones. Right? Wait, it’s the recording software? No… Vocal booths? Mixers? Oh come on!

The reality is this: while recording audio is simple, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to improving audio quality. That means that the most helpful audio tips are the tips that align with a user’s recording needs, experience, and environment. And that’s what this week’s challenge is all about!

Challenge of the week

This week, your challenge is to share your audio recording deets with the community. We want to know all about your audio recording: your best practices, your gear, your processes, even your quirks and tricks that give your audio that special something. Maybe you record your best audio dressed up in a chicken suit—no worries, we don’t judge how you get it done.

There are three parts to this week’s challenge:

1. Tell us about your recording setup.

What type of microphone do you use? Do you record directly into your authoring tool, or do you record with a third-party application like Audacity? Do you record in your cubicle, or do you have a specific audio recording room? 

2. Show us your e-learning audio setup.

Where do you record your e-learning audio? Try to capture what a typical session looks like. It’s okay to clean your desk before taking a picture… just keep things as real-world as possible. Yes, this part requires a photo. 

3. Share your three favorite audio recording tips.

We love tips, and rumor has it you guys have the best audio tips around. Share your favorites. No audio tip is too small. If something’s worked well for you, we want to know all about it.


You can share audio challenge using Articulate Studio, Articulate Storyline, PowerPoint, the forums, or your own blog. Since this is a slightly different challenge, you have more options for how you share your entries.


Last week’s virtual tour challenge

Before you sound off in this week’s challenge, take a virtual tour of the amazing demos your fellow community members shared in last week’s virtual tour challenge:


E-Learning Challenge #44: Virtual Tours in Online Training

More about the e-learning challenges: 

The e-learning challenges are ongoing opportunities to learn, share, and build your e-learning portfolios. You can jump into any or all of the previous challenges anytime you want. I’ll update the recap posts to include your demos.

Wishing you a safe-and-sound week, E-Learning Heroes!

Even if you’re using a trial version of Studio ’13 or Storyline, you can absolutely publish your challenge files. Just sign up for a fully functional, free 30-day trial, and have at it. And remember to post your questions and comments in the forums; we're here to help. If you have a blog, please consider writing about your challenges. We’ll link back to your posts so the great work you’re sharing gets even more exposure. If you share your demos on Twitter, try using #ELHChallenge so your tweeps can track your e-learning coolness.

David Anderson
Jim Dickeson

Microphone: Samson C01U. Superb condenser mic with a USB plug. The analog up front is no place to cut costs. Software: Audacity. Can't beat the price! Favorite tips: Know that the written word seldom works well spoken, just like the spoken word doesn't work well written. We write in complete sentences, we speak in phrases, and we can use a multitude of inflections when speaking. So write your script like you're speaking; don't right like you're writing. Position the mic about six inches from your mouth for the most resonant sound. But about 60 degrees off to the side to soften the plosives consonants. (I never liked pop filters.) Imagine your learner is across the desk from you. Speak like you are talking to that person, not reading a script. Smile and include h... Expand

David Thompson
Jim Dickeson

David, Thompson that is, A funny thing when I got my Samson C01U is that I had a problem with the driver installing. The driver software is loaded onto firmware in the mic itself. The first time you plug it in, the driver is supposed to install. My Samson driver too an inordinate amount of time, and I unknowingly unplugged it before it had fully installed. And it sounded like crap. I scoured the internet to find out how to uninstall a partially installed driver, because my computer didn't recognize it as being installed to uninstall it. Once I uninstalled the partial install, and then reinstalled it (getting a cup of coffee in the interim because it took so long), it worked beautifully. You might talk to the manufacturer about that kind of issue, and maybe they can walk you throu... Expand

Daniel Adeboye
Jackie Van Nice
Marcus Erasmus

Hi everyone, great tips! Here's my entry. My equipment: M-Audio Fast Track USB audio interface, M-Audio Nova condensator microphone, shock mount on a modified lamp stand, pop filter and Sennheiser monitoring headphones. I recently tried a Shure SM35 headset. Good quality, low noise pickup level, but the distance of the mic to your mouth is difficult to control and I don't like wearing the headset with my glasses. Recording tool: Until now I have recorded directly into Presenter or Storyline, without using a tool like Audicity. I have used the built-in audio editor for cutting out unwanted noises (e.g. breath intake, mouse click at the end of my recording) and to increase volume of the complete track when it is too low. I always dreaded the extra work involved in recording in an add... Expand

Jackie Van Nice
Marcus Erasmus
Tamara Muroiwa

@Mary Beth; thanks for a brilliant post, loads of very useful suggestions I hadn't heard elsewhere. Especially loved; - your example of creating a cost-effective pop filter with old stockings and an embroidery hoop - recording everything at once and exporting as sections - remembering to work on the most vital piece of equipment; your voice! Especially loved the tip on green apples to reduce dry mouths and the breakdown of what's so good about the Samsung C01U (I borrowed one from a colleague once and still didn't manage to get great sound, so I think I need to revisit my setup and see where I might have gone wrong.) Just moved offices and my first day in have been overwhelmed by the traffic, siren and car-horn noises coming from the main road - time to look for a new recordi... Expand