No Audio in what?

Hi there:

I'm in an organization where I can't rely on any learner being able to listen to audio within a course.  Very few of our computers here have speakers within them (yes it's true).

Just curious how many others here have this problem and if you have any creative solutions how you work around or adjust for this issue.



2 Replies
Bruce Graham

Hi Tracy,

I have only worked with 2 x organisations in the last few years where this was the case, and I have to admit, I found it REALLY hard, having become so used to audio

I think, for me, the technique we employed most was to "slow the course pace down" - which might seem counter-intuitive, you might think that it would make the course even MORE hard for the users.

When there's no audio - it's important to "tell the story" even more than usual, offering layer-upon-layer of information, that makes it easy(er) for the learner (IMHO) to absorb information.

Summaries - I would ensure that you build Summary information every 2/3 points, looping back over what has been covered.

We also relied HUGELY on compelling, congruent imagery, trying to design the buttons/button states (for example), to look great (see image below - about 5 gradient stops in each one, emphasized by state changes...).

Something I have often wanted to do, (and there may be some users here on the forum who could assist...?), would be have a conversation with someone/people who is/are hearing impaired, and lived in the "non-audio World", to find out what they would find compelling, and build to THAT standard, also offering audio for those who could benefit from it. I think that would offer the best of both worlds.

Hope this help you out, let us know what challenges and successes you have,


Sheila Bulthuis

I think that’s a great question, because (in my opinion) you have to design differently based on whether you’re going to use audio narration or not; at a minimum, you’re probably going to have more text than you would in a course with audio narration.  I’ve had a few clients who, for various reasons, wouldn’t allow audio in their courses.   I actually enjoyed those projects, because they were a different kind of challenge.

I think they key is to ensure that you find ways to keep the learner active/engaged (also important in courses with audio, of course) and that you find ways to try to mimic the effect of audio.  Maybe you create a narrator character (photo or illustration) who pops up every one in a while to make comments, provide the big picture, recap, whatever – his/her “comments” could be in a talk bubble or formatted some other way that clues the learner in that this is someone “talking.”  And I really like Bruce’s idea about layering info - I’ve done this where the learner basically would see a small bit of info, then click next and see an animation that illustrated it, then click next and see the next bit of info…  that way you can still use illustrations and animation, but the learner controls the pace.

I’ll be interested to hear from others, as well, since I have four no-audio courses just getting started right now and I always love to get new ideas!