Script or no script...that is the question

We have been developing several small eLearning courses covering simple processes.  Most last between 2 - 6 minutes each.  I want staff to feel like they are sitting with a trainer and not a machine.  Do you use a formal script when recording?  Or do you have a SME walk through the training as you record. 

I am not big on a formal script.  I have participated in several courses that seem too formal with a script, almost as if a robot was reading everything.

What are your thoughts?  How have your approached this?  Thanks!

28 Replies
Doug Bedinger

I usually read the script on the screen while recording, which works fine when inserting audio.  But when I'm editing the recording using the audio editor, I no longer have access to the slide notes, which is where I put the script.  Is there any way to show the notes while working with the audio editor?

Melita Farley

Hi Brad

Interesting question about whether or not to script.  If I'm working with something that requires narration then I will use a script  - I agree with Rebecca's pointers about writing, narrating and recording completely!

However, I've worked on a number of projects where scripting (in the writing out the words sense at least!) wasn't useful.  In this situation I usually get together with the SME and do an audio (or sometimes video) interview.  I try my hardest for the interview to happen in a natural setting too (e.g. on a building site with an engineer, on a farm with a farmer, etc).  The SMEs are likely to be more comfortable in their own environment and will begin to talk naturally much more quickly then if you're stuck in a small room.  You also tend to great background sound which is not only more interesting for the listener but often provides some support to the learning.  This approach is challenging though!  You need to be a good interviewer, have a reasonable understanding of the information you need to get and how you might get it, and have the time and skill to edit appropriately.  You sometimes also need to be quite adventurous and have good rain gear!   This is essentially making an audio documentary!

If anyone's interested in this approach, you can find some great guidance here:  http://www.radionz.co.nz/specialfeatures/how_to_make_a_radio_documentary