Building Courses without Audio

Jan 10, 2012

Hi All,

In my last job, I built all of my Articulate courses without any audio.  I wanted to add audio, but didn't have a choice.  The learners (nurses) did not have access to computers with audio and couldn't use audio on their nursing units anyway.  There are a lot of other variables to the non-audio mandate I received, but I don't need to go into that.

My question for everyone is whether you have developed courses w/o audio and if so, what types of things did you do to a) draw the learner in and b) keep it interactive?  I know you can do these things w/o audio.  I just wanted to hear what others have done.


11 Replies
Joe Countryman

Hi David,

I just finsihed up a large project with zero audio.  I had to align it with an e-Learning course that was created before I arrived in my unit. 

They key is to come up with creative ways to keep the learner engaged.  I try to use a lot of engage interactions to show the content, so the user needs to click to find the text.  I also use quizmaker alot, to create fun practice activies which keeps the learner engaged.

Using animations will draw the learner to certain portions of the slide, rather than just show all the text at once.

Hope that helps.

blair parkin

Hi David

We are currently in the same boat where the use of audio is constrained by lack of technology. Similar to Joe I use alot of engage interactions, animations and hyperlinks to try and make the course as interactive as possible and keep the learner interested. Quite often I will use pop-ups or lightbox effects to make the course feel like it isn't linear. I also don't use any of the player controls, just using hyperlinks and menus so that the learner can decide the order they want to learn in.


Steve Flowers

We've tried a few courses without audio to evaluate effectiveness for the course type and gauge feedback. We got plenty of both positive and negative feedback. Folks got accustomed to expecting audio tracks. 

For these courses we pretty much drove them through a model of conversation. We posed questions or situations and asked the learner to drive the situation forward by making a choice. This model was used for around 90% of these courses. I think this works pretty well if the question stem and choices are brief.

Sheila Bulthuis

I have a couple of clients who can’t have audio in their courses, and one thing I’ve done that has worked well is similar to what Steve mentions – I use characters who kind of drive the course.  Each character is represented by a photo, and through the course they “say” and “ask” things (in text of course, since there’s no audio!) and the learner responds.  In a couple of cases, I set one of the characters as the “expert” so they provided the feedback on the learner’s choices – in other cases, the feedback just appeared with out a character.

Although I know this can be done in QuizMaker, I’m more comfortable working in straight PowerPoint, so I’ve done this using just Presenter with hyperlinks and animations.  Like Blair, I think it works  better with the player controls disabled…

David Lindenberg

Steve - These are some nice examples!  Thanks for sharing.

Steve Flowers said:

Here are some examples of what this looks like:

We also employed some "comic style" paneled elements to setup the situations in the conversation AND abstracted some of the heavier content to "magazine style" articles in PDF's.

Carrie Booth

I have been shifting to less audio courses the more I develop. It alows folks to move at their pace through the course, rather than waiting on someone else to finish speaking.

In some cases I would use animation with characters talking to one another in bubbles(as mentioned above)... The problem I was runninging into was letting the user know when a slide, with no audio is finish... Some folks sit their waiting and other click too fast...  I tried this new convention... the "next buttons" I used were grayed out looking, when the slide finished, I change it to orange. It let's folks know when I am ready for them to move, which at the same time letting folks who read fast or want to skip to pertainat things in the course (and does not know what it is they want so the nav bar is not that helpful...) can move quickly....

Just a thought... hope it makes sense!


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