Audio narration is a big part of e-learning. It works well with on-screen visuals to engage learners and help them retain information. But recording, updating, and capturing narration can be time-consuming and costly. Thankfully, text-to-speech—a feature you can find in apps like Storyline 360—makes it easier than ever to speed up course development and save money, even for those who hire professional voiceover talent. Take a look at five reasons you might want to start using text-to-speech.

1. You have a limited budget

Course designers wear many hats—which may include recording your own voiceover for your e-learning courses. Since hiring voiceover talent can be costly, you might be expected to record your own narration when a project is on a budget. But if recording engaging high-quality voiceover isn’t in your wheelhouse, that’s okay! With text-to-speech, you have more options to add audio narration to your courses at no extra cost. 

2. You don’t have a lot of time 

If you’re on a time crunch and don’t have a voice actor to record audio before the launch date, text-to-speech can be a quick and easy alternative so you can meet your deadline. 

And if you want to add your own narration or professional voiceover talent but won’t have those files before your launch date, you can use text-to-speech narration as a stop-gap solution.

3. You need to localize narration in different languages 

If you need to create a course in multiple languages, finding fluent voice talent for each one may prove challenging—and costly. But a text-to-speech voiceover tool that supports various languages—like Storyline 360—can make localizing courses fast and easy. 

4. You need the SMEs to see how it will all look together

As the course designer, what makes sense to you might not be entirely clear to someone else. Including voiceover in early drafts helps reviewers—such as subject matter experts (SMEs)—get a clearer picture of what the final course will look like. But if you’re planning on hiring professional voiceover talent, the time and cost of recording and refining multiple iterations of a script are often prohibitive. Text-to-speech provides a useful temporary solution because it gives your SME a version of the course that’s closer to the final product. This makes it easier to identify changes to the script early on, which also saves time because edits to text-to-speech narration can be done in minutes. When the script is fully approved, you and the SME can feel confident knowing you’ve taken steps to avoid costly retakes. 

5. You want to simplify content maintenance

You likely already have a lot on your plate, so streamlining content maintenance might be what you need to stay afloat! Whether you have a course that needs regular revisions or you anticipate future changes, you might consider using text-to-speech. If you use your own voice recording, a minor word change could mean recording an entire audio clip. Matching recording quality for clips recorded at a different time can be a time sink. 

If you use a professional voiceover artist, you have to track them down and hope they have time to re-record the changes. If they’re unavailable, you’ll have to pay a new narrator to re-record the entire course so the voice is consistent throughout. A lot to think about! 

With text-to-speech, there’s no need to re-record. You can simply update the text and republish your course. That’s it! Content maintenance never looked so easy!

In Summary 

There are many reasons to use text-to-speech in your e-learning projects. Ultimately, it can speed up course development, giving you more time to focus on creating meaningful content. If you haven’t been using it, it’s never too late to start!

We also want to hear from you. If you’re already including text-to-speech in your courses, how has it improved your process? Let me know in the comments below!

Want to learn more about using text-to-speech in your projects? Check out the following resources: 

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Tony DeRose