Do you have an e-learning project and are looking to hire a voice artist? Need to know how much to budget for this? Are you wondering if the cost of having a voice over artist for your e-learning would be worth the added costs? And can a voice over make your e-learning more effective anyway?
Reasons for Hiring a Voice Over Artist
If you are wondering if a voice can be more effective for your e-learning course then consider the following. Studies have proved that including voice over in your training materials reduces the cognitive load on your learners allowing them to focus more of their attention on the message itself. Producing an e-learning course with a professional voice over artist is extremely beneficial. Let’s be honest, nobody really wants to sit and scroll through 2,000 words of health and safety training on a mobile device. It's no fun! The text is tiny and it’s hard to read. Using voice over will make for a far more comfortable experience, especially for learners on the go.
Do you have drivers or staff who travel a lot? This could be the ideal way to deliver your internal communications to staff who aren’t office based. Adding voice over to your explainers makes the content far more accessible to your audience who might struggle with text and it provides another channel for them to absorb all of that crucial info. One only has to look at the use of radio and podcasting to know how popular and easy this way of taking in information and retaining it has become.
Also another reason to use a voice over artist in your e- learning project is that it provides your learners with that human connection and might help the learning feel more genuine. In today’s struggle to keep learners engaged you should be employing every tool to help them stay focused. You could even help deliver your next learning module by Podcast? There would be no need to be sat at a computer and it would give your learners the freedom to choose a comfortable and convenient time to take part.
So here are the top 5 reasons you should use a professional voice over artist in your e-learning course:-
What goes into the finished audio
So now that I have persuaded you into saying yes to the use of a voice, what would you expect to pay for one? And what goes into creating your finished audio file?
When asking for a price for your project, most voice artist will quote by the finished word, per finished minute or per finished hour. By finished means that the audio will have been cleaned from extraneous mouth noises and background noise. Extraneous mouth clicks are picked up by the microphone when recording and these have to be edited away which is time consuming. If you have an hours worth of script then editing that script would typically take another 2 hours to clean. It really is very time consuming.
Another aspect of work which goes into finishing your script is compressing and normalizing the audio. This ensures that the volume and quality of the voice is maximised and it takes skill and patience to achieve this from RAW audio. A compressed file lessons the dynamic range between the loudest and quietest parts of the audio signal. The quieter audio troughs are boosted and the louder signals are lessened. Then when it is normalized the squashed audio file is made louder. This is an important step in producing finished audio. It is a process which takes time but is crucial to creating a professional sound to the voice.
Lastly another facet of finishing the audio would be to edit the breaths. Some engineers would take out the breaths completely and some would soften them. I personally like to soften the breaths so that the audio sounds as natural as possible without the breaths being prominent. However, editing each breath takes time and a certain amount of skill and patience is involved in this but the end result is worth it and creates a professional audio file that anyone would be proud of.
So this is what is meant when the audio is describe as being finished. It will have been processed so that it is ready to be used directly into your programme and can be delivered either as a WAV or mp3 file. Or any format that the client may wish.
Pricing for E-Learning
So how much would a finished audio cost for an e-learning project? There are a few resources that voice over artists refer to, in order to give you an accurate quote for your project. “Gravy for the Brain” (a world class resource for voice over artists) is one of them and offers a rate guide that is considered to be industry standard. You will find that a lot of voice actors will refer to it in order to give a price that is fair. You could expect to pay anywhere between 15p per word to about 60p per word with the higher end being for more complex medical narration. This is due to the words in medical narration being far more complex and more challenging to pronounce and therefore it would be charged at a higher rate.
E-Learning scripts that are usually charged per-scripted-word may often have a minimum fee that is included (e.g £150 to make small jobs worthwhile) Some voice artists use a sliding scale, e.g. 0- 1000 words = £0.60 per word, 1001-2000 words = £0.40 per word, so this is something to bear in mind.
I hope this article gives you an idea of what to expect to pay for your e-learning scripts so that you can budget accordingly. Having a professional voice actor for your e-learning project really is a solid investment. It is quite possibly one of the best insurance policies that you can have for your e-learning because you want to make sure your audience is listening and you want to make sure that they are engaging in your course. Hiring a professional voice over artist is the best path to follow. Cutting corners at this stage by using Eric from your accounts team recording into his phone would leave your listeners bored to tears and throwing paper aeroplanes around because it didn't sound great and nobody wanted to listen to it. Your hard work creating the course would be futile if you didn't invest properly at this stage. So be confident about hiring a professional.
If you would like me to record your next e-learning project for you I would be delighted as it is an area that I specialize in. Please reach out to me and I will be happy to give you a quote based on the rate guide quoted above. If there are more than one e-learning scripts then I am always happy to offer a discount and offer a buy three get one free offer! I can also send you a sample of your script for free so that you can be confident my voice is right for your project. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I promise there will be no paper aeroplanes flying over you!
Look at how engaged this young girl is here in her work. She is likely listening to a professional voice over artist delivering a great e-learning module. No paper aeroplanes there!
Sarah Jackson is a trained professional voice artist living in the UK. She loves playing the violin as well and walking her "Long Haired Lurcher from Liverpool" dog who doubles up as her booth buddy!