As a voice over artist, coach, and blogger I like to check in regularly. Check-in with others in the community, especially those in a position to hire me and my confreres. I want to make sure I’m offering the most relevant, up-to-date information in my blogs, coaching sessions, and in the voice booth.
In part 1 (which you are reading) of this series of articles, I unpack some of the new trends and developments in eLearning in a recent conversation with Connie Malamed. Connie is a thought leader in eLearning instructional design and I’ve had the good fortune to work with her as a voice talent and to be interviewed by her for her wonderful blog and podcast The eLearning Coach. She also heads up a wonderful community Mastering Instructional Design where she helps people learn and build instructional design skills. (see bio below)
In part 2, we will discuss one of the looming challenges facing voice over artists and actors: AI and text-to-speech and what it may or may not mean in eLearning creation. In part 3, I’ll provide advice on how to protect your career, and how a voice over artist can take advantage of trends and avoid being overshadowed by emerging technologies.
Keeping Up With Changes in the Industry
One of the things that interest me most about eLearning is its lightning-fast growth, its changeability, the constant onset of new trends and developments. In discussing these changes, we reviewed how often companies or smaller businesses and production houses discover cheap voice over from newbies in the industry, believing they might save a couple of bucks. But they make a mistake in failing to recognize that the quality isn’t there. “For example, if you want to make a YouTube video,” Connie explains, “They actually say people will forgive a visual that’s fair, but they won’t forgive poor audio. The audio has to be great.”
Insights from Connie into the Directions and Trends in eLearning
- Podcast – “Although I think they’re really underused now. Partially they may be underused because often visuals help explain concepts. But there are many times where audio alone can work and podcasts are a real time saver.”
- Gamification – “Generally, learning games sometimes requires a little bit more complex software. So we often see the use of maybe not super involved games but kind of light games.”
- Storytelling – In eLearning, “Storytelling is really getting big,” suggests Connie. (Voiceover artists take note)
- Explainers and animation – “Explainers are everywhere right now, from snippets on a company’s ethos to bite-size microlearning that a company sends out every day to explain something more complicated like a new regulation, or policy. They’re well thought out, cheaper than a full advertising campaign, and easily retained.”
- Better and better voice over and audio quality – “I’m always telling people to hire professionals. You can’t beat the results you get with pros.”
The Effects of the Pandemic on eLearning and Voice Over
What about Covid and how it’s affected the eLearning world?
“Because of the pandemic, every type of virtual learning, including zoom meetings, asynchronous-like videos, and podcasts are growing by leaps and bounds, and all kinds of people are doing it,” explained Connie. And she’s completely right, the pandemic eLearning boom has been massive.
Understandably so, many employees and companies would have been stuck in quicksand, unable to progress in their fields, upskill and develop while stuck at home without access to on-the-job training and even basic mentoring. eLearning is projected to increase from $101 billion in 2019 to $370 billion by 2026. It feels like every week we learn something new about learning, a new best practice, a better way to teach, and keeping on top of these trends is both exhilarating and daunting.
During the pandemic, I and many of my colleagues saw an uptick in the demand for eLearning voiceover. Companies and government organizations recognized that clear, engagingly delivered content in an eLearning format works, that training could happen in other ways than face to face. Instructional designers are shaking up the industry, finding new ways to encourage learning.
I asked Connie if she saw this as a trend that would continue. “People are into it,” she answered, “and it’s going to make a change. On the one hand, we can’t wait to see each other in person again but on the other hand, all the people who said you can’t work from home and we have to have in-person training are realizing that, oh, I guess we don’t.”
In part 2, I check in on AI (artificial intelligence) and text to speech software in voice over industry. Followed by part 3, which highlights tips and tricks to take advantage of new developments in the industry, creative directions, and ways to stand out.
About Connie: Connie Malamed helps people learn and build instructional design skills at Mastering Instructional Design. She is a consultant, author and speaker in the fields of online learning and visual communication. Connie is the author of Visual Design Solutions and Visual Language for Designers. She also publishes The eLearning Coach website and podcast. She was honored with the Guild Master award in 2018 for contributions to the learning technologies industry.