Opinions? Thoughts on Voiceover for Trainings

I am creating a training for the university I work at and the Vice President's office provided me with a PowerPoint to create a training from.


The first slide is the only slide with a script and the rest do not have a script. For the learner's ease, is it best to have narration throughout the rest of the training or will the learner be fine with just the intro narration and slides to read off of?

8 Replies
Tom Kuhlmann

Generally people read faster than the audio narration. And having audio and trying to track the visuals may be distracting. I'd probably not do audio unless you have to do or it adds real value to the course. 

If you only have audio at the front, I'd drop it. Otherwise, people will think the other slides aren't working because they don't hear audio.

With that said, this is largely subjective. Dropping the audio makes production less involved.

Jennifer Nelson

From my experience, it's best to do one or the other to avoid learner confusion. For my audience, narration is the better choice both for engagement and retention. I normally try create lessons that are as inclusive as I can to all learning types as Callie mentioned above.

If I am not including narration, I find it's especially important to build interaction into the lesson to keep the learner engaged.

Nancy Woinoski

I've been creating a lot of courses lately with little or no audio.  Here is an example of one I am working on. It uses sound to set a mood and has limited narration. I will probably add some narration in the feedback sections but have not incorporated it yet.  Audio example

If you want some background on when to use narration in your projects, take a look at this blog post by Cathy Moore. She does a good job of summing up the issues. http://blog.cathy-moore.com/2010/09/do-we-really-need-narration/

Daniel Cox

I am personally not a strong proponent of audio for not only for the speed as mentioned by Tom K above, but also what if the narrator leaves, then you either have to record the entire presentation over or have multiple voices. With that said I am currently doing G.A. work where they want voice narration on the slides. So really boils down to personal preference and stake holder requirements.

Mike DiFonzo

Two years ago I created a Suicide and Depression Awareness module for a college. I was mindful of  including both audio and visual text. We had blind and/or deaf students and we had to make sure both parties were able to benefit. Also, there's been a lot of schools getting sued for non-compliance with ADA  requirements and accessibility. It takes more effort but it's easier to use universal design when possible instead of scrambling to modify an existing course when notified it's needed. I've gotten into the habit of using alt tags on images too (web, pdf, courses, etc.) for the screenreaders.   

Benjamin Riddling

I have found that having the option is better than not having it. Adding a button or trigger to narrate a page allows the learner to decide what they want. A few of our learners have sight or hearing impairments and we have been working towards improving our learning environment. Something to definitely think about.

Mike DiFonzo

Great point. I forgot to mention having the option for close caption, transcripts, or audio on demand versus always having them "on" which can be distracting. With that said, it can also be beneficial for people that don't necessarily have impairments. That's the great thing about universal design, everyone can benefit.