How to Improve Learning Retention Using Voiceover - female student chewing pencil
Nov 22, 2020
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How to Improve Learning Retention Using Voiceover

Learners need educational content to build their knowledge and skills, but reading or hearing a piece of information one time may not be enough for them to remember what they learned.

Learning retention is a complicated topic, and it’s critical for teachers and trainers to do everything in their power to help learners retain as much information as possible.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some key aspects of learning retention and how professional voice actors can help you craft content that’s easier for learners to retain.

Every voice actor on our team has been thoroughly vetted, so make sure to visit our website for more information about hiring a voice actor for your next project.

What Factors Affect Retention?

How to Improve Learning Retention Using Voiceover - Student studying-using-laptop

You might assume that content is more important than form when it comes to retention, but research indicates that students respond to material differently depending on how it’s presented to them.

While everyone has different learning tendencies, learners are significantly more likely to remember certain types of content.

The key finding of Mayer and Anderson’s 1992 study was that students learn more reliably when they’re exposed to both visual and auditory content.

Voiceovers and visual content are far more effective in combination than either one can be on its own.

Of course, some people may get the same effect by audio alone, but providing both at the same time will lead to better results for as many learners as possible.

Kinesthetic learners may get even greater benefits by writing notes as they follow the visual content and voiceover.

 

Voiceovers in E-Learning

How to Improve Learning Retention Using Voiceover - A voiceover artist

E-learning has been growing for a number of years, and it became even more important after the coronavirus pandemic began to spread in the early months of 2020.

Universities and grade schools were forced to transition to e-learning or hybrid learning with relatively little preparation or advance notice.

It’s impossible to perfectly recreate the traditional educational experience through e-learning, but e-learning providers recognize that audiovisual content is the best way to imitate that kind of teaching.

This phenomenon fits perfectly with the dual-coding theory, which provides a vital framework for any teachers trying to optimize the e-learning experience.

The dual-coding theory asserts that human cognition codes information in two different ways depending on whether the information is linguistic.

In other words, language-based content can only affect the “linguistic side” of our minds, and other types of sensory content are similarly incapable of being remembered in language.

With that in mind, neither type of content will be able to produce maximal learning retention on its own.

A simple voice over will be limited to linguistic memory, while an animation or video will miss the linguistic component.

It’s crucial for data to be stored in both ways in order to increase the chance that a learner will remember the information for a longer period of time.

 

Keeping Learners Engaged

How to Improve Learning Retention Using Voiceover - Learners in front of monitors

E-learning providers can improve retention in a variety of ways, but retention is only possible when learners are engaged in the content.

Effective voice actors can cover even relatively complicated topics while using vocal techniques to keep the listener’s interest and focus.

One of the most common mistakes in e-learning voice over work is having voice actors read text word for word.

If you’re walking learners through a PowerPoint, for example, there’s no reason to have your voice actor repeat the same content verbatim.

Instead, they should expand on the most relevant topics or cover other pieces of information that didn’t fit into the slides.

Furthermore, a professional voice actor will provide a unique perspective that may not be available within your organization.

Experienced actors know how to communicate information in a clear and concise manner without getting overly technical or dry.

 

Tips to Improve Learning Retention

How to Improve Learning Retention Using Voiceover - Learners pointing to computer screen

Find ways to make the experience interactive

One key difference between traditional education and e-learning is that students are often relegated to a passive role.

They might simply watch a recording or listen to a lecture, having relatively few opportunities to ask their own questions or engage more actively with the material they’re learning.

In the example above, the e-learning module frequently asks questions to confirm that learners are keeping up with the subject.

If the student provides the wrong answer, they’ll quickly be corrected and receive an explanation of the mistake.

This strategy also improves retention since topics will automatically be reiterated until the student recognizes their error.

On the other hand, students who understand the content the first time they hear it won’t need to waste time with additional repetitions.

Quizzes are the simplest way to ask for student input, but educators are experimenting with a wide range of interactive learning modules to match a variety of subjects.

Simulations, for example, give students the opportunity to respond to dynamic situations and apply their knowledge in an e-learning environment.

 

Give learners more breaks

While e-learning comes with its own drawbacks, it has also exposed some shortcomings in conventional educational practices.

In-person classes often last an hour or more, while many experts believe that student attention snaps can be as short as ten or fifteen minutes.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that more and more educators are beginning to design learning modules with short periods of instructions followed by quick breaks.

This approach breaks complicated topics into brief sections that are more manageable for learners who are less experienced with the topic.

 

Optimize your pacing

With fewer opportunities to interact directly with individual students, e-learning providers need to design content that’s paced for every learner.

This is an incredibly complex challenge, especially since each student will assimilate some topics quickly while needing more assistance on other subjects.

Professional voice actors with experience in e-learning and other forms of informative content understand the importance of pacing in educational content.

Providing a clear, concise explanation at a moderate speaking pace will make it easier for learners to follow the module while also improving overall retention.

 

Come back to important points later on

You don’t want your e-learning content to be overly repetitive, but it’s still important to repeat critical points more than once during a session.

Rather than reiterating them again and again, try to reference them later on by drawing parallels or relating them to the current topic.

To keep key points involved throughout a lesson, consider using a mnemonic or pattern to reinforce their relation to the larger whole.

For example, you might model each point as a step in a process or use the first letter of each one to spell out a word.

From there, you can come back to the pattern between each point and keep the overall picture fresh in your students’ minds.

 

Relate your topics to real-life examples

Learning about a topic in an e-learning environment is one thing, but understanding how it fits into your life is another.

Tying your subjects to real-life examples that your learners can relate to will increase the chance that they can remember the information for longer periods of time.

Of course, this process starts with showing your audience that the topic is actually worth learning about.

It’s critical to motivate students before asking them to remember new information. Each learner should understand how the subject relates to questions and issues in their own lives.

 

Make modules as quick as possible

As mentioned earlier, the amount of information a person can retain depends on how it’s presented to them.

The average student won’t be able to absorb an entire new topic at once, even if you tell them about it for several hours.

On the other hand, they’ll have an easier time piecing it together if it’s broken up into a longer series of quick modules.

Along with intermittent breaks, you should also try to avoid overloading your audience with too much material in a single day or week. This will also help you keep each lesson narrowly focused on a few key topics.

 

Ask students to take notes

Reinforcing a memory in as many ways as possible is an incredibly effective strategy for boosting retention.

While it’s difficult to require note-taking in an e-learning module, it’s still worth encouraging learners to take notes for their own benefit.

While typing the information is better than nothing, it’s even better to write it down on a piece of paper.

This is especially true for kinesthetic learners who need to reinforce what they’re learning through physical motion.

How to Improve Learning Retention Using Voiceover - A teacher and student

Learning retention can’t be reduced to a single factor, especially when different people learn in such different ways.

That said, these elements have often been linked to increased retention, and professional voice acting can help you produce even better e-learning content.

Make sure to check out our website for more information about our team of vetted voice actors.

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