Engage Learners Through Visual Storytelling
Audio slideshows are a form of storytelling commonly found in digital journalism. They combine images and sound (narration, natural sounds, music) to create engaging stories.
While they’re simple to build, they do require a skillful blend of writing, photography, and storytelling to be effective.
Audio Slideshows Are Not Narrated Courses
When you hear “audio slideshow,” you might think they’re similar to click-and-watch e-learning courses. While the production process for both is similar, the formats are quite different. Let’s look at a few ways audio slideshows differ from the typical e-learning course.
Duration. The average length of an audio slideshow is two to three minutes. The average length of an e-learning course is, well, much longer.
Voiceover. Audio slideshows are produced as first-person narratives. This means the newsmaker, source, or subject matter expert is the one telling the story. This is different than the narration or lecture approach used in most e-learning courses.
Third-person narration can be used to provide additional context to the story or to bridge one sequence or sound bite to the next.
Sounds and Music. Audio slideshows combine sound bites, background music, and natural sounds to enhance the story. This differs from e-learning courses, where the only sound is from the third-person narration.
Animation. Audio slideshows don’t use animated graphics, bullets, text boxes, or progressive reveals like those found in most e-learning courses. Audio slideshows use straight cuts or cross-fade transitions to move through the image sequence.
Let’s look at a few examples.
A Contraband Camera: Photos Of World War II WASP
This is a fantastic example of an interview-style audio slideshow. The interviewer’s questions aren’t included in the audio. You only hear the first-person narrative from the interviewee.
This type of format would work well for capturing sound bites and short case studies from customers or subject matter experts.
Hungry: Living with Prader-Willi Syndrome
Here’s a powerful example that combines still photos and short video clips. You don’t usually see video clips with audio slideshows, but they can be an effective device to vary the visual pacing of your story.
A Prayer for Father Tim
This example won a Best of Journalism award in 2007 for best audio slideshow. I really like the way this project uses multiple voices to tell the story.
Global Business: A Living Wage
Audio slideshows are linear stories, but that doesn’t mean you can’t include options for jumping around the presentation.
Here’s an example of an audio slideshow that provides a gallery approach to the individual images. Viewers can select an image to jump to that place in the audio story. I hope someone tries to recreate this effect in Storyline.
Challenge of the Week
This week your challenge is to share an example that demonstrates how audio slideshows can be used in e-learning.
Keep your slideshow under three minutes. The production process is simple, but slideshows require a greater emphasis on writing, audio, and overall storytelling.
Last Week’s Challenge:
Before you slide into this week’s challenge, check out the amazing challenge ideas and examples your fellow community members shared last week:
New to the E-Learning Challenges?
The weekly 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.