Working with SMEs Audio

Sep 14, 2020


I'm a new eLearning manager for a medical association. I will work with a lot of SMEs (faculty) who will need to record audio for the content that will be created in Storyline. They will not have access to Storyline to record. A few colleagues have said they use Zoom.What kind of recommendations do you have for having SMEs record audio?  I'd appreciate any feedback.

Thank you!


12 Replies
Judy Nollet

Here are some basic tips:

  • Use the best mic available. (People tend to be more forgiving of bad visuals than bad audio.)
  • Record in a quiet location. As much as possible, get away from humming lights, fans, etc. (Clothes closets actually work pretty good as recording studios.)
  • Record a few seconds of silence at the beginning of each audio clip. Or, at least, at the beginning of a given session. (Audacity and similar audio software can cancel out background noise when the program has a "silent" clip to analyze.)
  • Include a bit of silence at the beginning and end of each clip. That'll make editing easier.
  • If they're working from scripts, be sure to have the pages somewhere steady, so the pages don't rustle when recording. 
  • Especially for non-pro narrators, breaking up the script (or their presentation) into smaller chunks could make the recording less daunting, because they won't have to worry about getting through one long recording.

Good luck!

Ray Cole

When I've done this in the past, I've set up a room with a quality microphone and software (Audacity is good, as others have mentioned). I am there as the "director" during the session. I have them speak a couple of test lines to set the levels, then set them loose to do the recording while I follow along with a second copy of the script.

I keep an "ear" out for when a retake is necessary (if a word came out muffled or the speaker rushed a phrase) and have them re-record the line. When the session is over, I copy the raw files onto a flash drive and take them back to my office where I do all the editing and clean-up.

Cristina Graham


Thank you all. I must note that I am not able to have any of these people come to my office to record. They would need to record it in their own location, but I'm looking for the best recommendations for how they might do that. It sounds like PowerPoint or Audacity. Are there others that are really easy? 




Kristin Hatcher

Hi Kandice,

I'd have each person record the audio in whatever program they are most comfortable with. I haven't tried it with zoom, but I know that with similar software, like WebEx, you can usually download an mp4 of their recording, and if you have any kind of video editing system you can usually export just the audio as an audio file, and then you can master it yourself in Audacity. Maybe with Zoom you can export just the audio, and save those steps? It's worth looking into. 

I've tried using a phone before, but the audio quality was low (this was a few years ago). I'd try out a couple different free apps, test the quality, and then make a suggestion to them for what apps to use. The tip of recording in your car is good, as most cars have pretty good soundproofing. Hopefully not while they are driving! Some may try that as it's possible to dictate and drive, so tell them the car has to be off. 

My experience with recording in PowerPoint - again, a number of years ago - was that the quality was poor. So much depends on the microphone as well. I'd give it a try yourself to see what quality you get. 

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