Choosing the right voice for eLearning

2 min read

The best elearning courses all have one thing in common: they’re engaging. They make course material seem interesting no matter how dry the subject matter is. When choosing the right voice for eLearning, both gender and certain vocal qualities will come into play.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

While content is king, the voice actor narrating the script also plays a critical role. He or she must help learners settle in. He or she must motivate learners to complete the course. Or watch the whole instructional video, etc.

Male versus female voices

Research into audience perception of voices focuses mainly on sales. The findings also apply to the eLearning industry, however. After all, it’s not hard to find similarities; both are selling something, aren’t they?

Studies & polls

A University of Glasgow study presented some 60 voices to a group of 600 widely diverse people. It found that softer, higher-pitched female voices are more trustworthy. Lower-pitched male voices are the least trustworthy.

Consequently, audiences trust gentler, easy-going female voices.

Similarly, 50% of Americans believe a female voice is more soothing and a male voice more forceful.

That said, male voices are more convincing to audiences watching commercials aimed at men. Studies conclude that more people get swayed by male voices selling cars than female voices.

Other studies found gender irrelevant for products that are gender-neutral — or aimed primarily at men.

Interestingly, an Adweek and Harris Interactive Poll of 2,195 U.S. adults found that no one type of voice is more or less likely to have consumer impact.

In contrast, a CXL Institute experiment tested four different voices: a professional female, professional male, amateur female, and amateur male for explainer videos. The experiment found that:

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
  • Viewers watching videos narrated by females found them significantly more trustworthy than those narrated by males.
  • Viewers indicated an overwhelming preference for the professional female voice over.
  • Vices the viewers heard first impacted their preferences. There was an increasing likelihood that viewers would prefer the voice they heard first.

After broadly considering these survey and experiment results, female voice actors are probably more suitable when choosing the right voice for eLearning. They’re soothing, instill trust, and sound helpful. These are critical attributes.

There’s an equally good chance that learners will prefer the clarity and natural melody of the female voice when putting across new ideas and concepts. In fact, female voices are more engaging because they get processed in the part of the human brain that processes music. Go figure!

Voices for elearning: Qualities that matter

Image: Shutterstock

Experienced and professional voice actors are well-versed in key voiceover techniques. Here are 3 important factors to keep in mind:

Pacing: Teaching is a science and an art. Proper pacing builds a natural rhythm and creates a seamless learning experience. Pausing frequently, or reading the script too slowly will detract from the learning experience. This will result even if the pace gets slowed to benefit learners who are unfamiliar with a complex topic.

Inflection: Voice actors must find a balance between modulating their intonation and pitch without creating unnecessary drama. Drama will distract learners who must absorb information rather than get entertained.

Effective narration depends on a voice actor’s ability to:

  • Stress those words and phrases that need emphasizing,
  • Modulate their tone to the storytelling aspects of the learning material, and
  • Establish and maintain a consistent cadence throughout the video.

A bit of personality: Of course, if you want to create an entirely different kind eLearning experience, there’s nothing wrong with adding a bit of character. But there’s a proviso: make sure the narration is consistent with the instructor persona the voice actor creates!

Many of the experienced and professional voice actors you’ll find on Voice123 narrate for the elearning industry. They’ll definitely do justice to your elearning project. Book one today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *