Audio courses are a great way to gain greater retention of knowledge in your users and whether you want to exclusively use them to create a course or want to use audio to supplement other eLearning elements, you will want to create something that's high quality and interesting.
After all, look at the huge boom of podcasting and audiobooks over the last five years or so, people want to listen to topics that interest them - and unlike other forms of media, audio can be accessed and engaged with on the go. A great example of audio courses is that of Duolingo. As well as the app and website offering written and quiz-based courses, they offer podcasts for those who want to learn on the go.
So let's dive in to how you can create audio courses that really work.
Have a conversation, not a monologue
Remember that boring teacher at school that would spend the hour talking at you. You may remember the teacher but we bet you don't remember even one thing they said! It's the same with audio learning. Keep it conversational, light and inviting. Lots of audio lessons invite guests, or have more than one speaker to achieve this. Similarly, ensure you're covering topics, and using terminology that fit the listeners; If you overestimate their knowledge level and use jargon you will lose listeners. Instead, move at an achievable pace while adding words of encouragement per audio lesson. For example, 'if you're a returning listener, props for your motivation'.
Don't take on the world
When you have an idea for a great piece of audio it's easy to take on everything yourself, this is the best way to become overwhelmed and start putting off future audio work. Know that outsourcing opportunities are open to you. Do you need a copywriter to help with your script? A voiceover artist to read the script? Maybe an editor to put the audio together and add background audio?
Keep background audio in a supporting role
Background music helps to create emotion, immersion and set the scene...when it's applied correctly. Make sure your background music doesn't steal the show by being too loud, mismatching the pace of the script, or contains vocals. A good rule of thumb is thinking, 'could I listen to this music while I was working?' We humans only have a finite amount of things we can focus on at once, so don't overwhelm your listeners.
Set the right mood
The intro, outro and break music should align with the course. A good trick to achieve this is by identifying words that you want your course to convey and find music that matches those words. Many courses choose classical music, or upbeat ambient music. Try editing a course with different music to see which music fits the course.
Another important element to choosing music is ensuring what you choose is royalty free. So no Beyoncé, sorry. Otherwise your audio course will be removed and you may receive a fine.
Add audio to other eLearning elements
You may want to create a stand-alone audio course, but remember that sometimes, the audio you made can be added in multiple places. For example, is there a particular written course, chart or graph that learners often struggle to comprehend? Add audio elements to guide learners through it. After all, you can always link to your audio catalogue after this, increasing the amount of listeners you have simply and effectively. Similarly, can you offer audio versions of courses for the visually impaired? Increasing your inclusivity is a wonderful thing to be known for.
Have an LMS that supports audio and has authoring tools
Hosting audio courses on your website can be a pain and will often become overlooked by your learners. Similarly, many LMS' don't allow audio or have authoring tools allowing you to upload and place audio where you need it. So it's important to ensure you have an LMS that has this capability. An example is myskillcamp.
You can see that audio can be added as a standalone course as well as added to other courses. You should also have the ability to add audio courses to a learner's journey as myskillcamp does. After all, if you go to the effort of creating great audio courses, ensure they're being hosted correctly. You can book a demo of our LMS and even us to supplement your existing LMS.
Source the right audio equipment
To create audio you'll need the right equipment, a microphone, recording software and editing software may be needed (unless you want to outsource some of these processes of course). However, there's no need to buy the most elaborate versions on the market, or sign up to expensive software. Remember earlier when we stated how popular podcasting and audiobooks had become? Well, with popularity comes many companies looking to gain market share by offering cheaper, simpler, all-in-one solutions to audio creators. Horray!
Want to find the software and equipment that'll get the job done, without costing an arm and a leg? Check out our follow-up blog - The ultimate list of software, tools and equipment for audio courses.
From royalty free music to recording and editing, you'll find everything you need.