Let’s admit it. Writing an audio script is not simple. In fact, it can get pretty frustrating!
Writing for traditional eLearning itself is not easy, but writing for microlearning modules is more difficult because of their short duration – how to say it all in the very short time available, how much to say, how to make sure the audio complements the visuals, animations, infographics, etc.
Audio Scripts for Microlearning
Context matters for your microlearning audio scripts!
The short nature of microlearning requires you to choose your words carefully. Narration also depends on the features or formats of the microlearning lesson. For instance, you could be narrating audio with an animation, a video, an infographic, a quiz, or even a podcast.
Your learner could be ‘only listening’ to, or ‘listening and watching’ the microlearning lesson.
A microlearning podcast is an example where there’s no video, where it’s all about the audio. That means that your script must work as both the eyes and ears for your listener, requiring it to be more descriptive!
Also, you don’t want your learner to miss what’s being said. Clearly, you must get it right the first time. This makes writing an audio script for a microlearning lesson a great balancing act.
Here are 10 tips to get it right…
1. Use the Right Tone
Use a conversational tone in your script. Avoid excessively formal language.
Here’s an example:
- Formal: Kanban strives to save companies time, money, and other resources by ensuring there is minimal downtime between tasks.
- Informal: Kanban saves time and money. It brings down your downtime!
Write like you talk. That means using small words and even smaller sentences. It also means you need to use contractions (‘don’t’ instead of ‘do not’).
2. Be Succinct
There is no time in a microlearning lesson for longwinded writing as learners don’t have the time. Good narration is clear and does not require a second listening to understand the meaning. Get to the point—quickly. In case of content heavy slides:
- Shorten the text in the audio script and put it:
- On the screen
- In an additional document for download
- Split the content into two screens.
- Discuss only 1 key idea/sentence and 1 big idea per slide or page.
3. Write Audio to Complement Visuals
The narration should never read out what’s on the screen. It must only explain the on-screen visuals:
- Providing context to what’s being seen.
- Drawing attention to important points on the screen.
- Giving more details about a point as it appears.
Don’t use audio where a picture works better! For instance, simply show a picture of a newly launched car instead of trying to describe it in words.
4. Try to Use Active Voice in Sentences
What does this mean?
- In active voice, the subject is performing the action.
- In passive voice, action is being performed on the subject.
Use active voice as much as possible in your audio script. It’s clearer and more direct.
Here’s an example:
|Active Voice||Passive Voice|
|He’s ready to pull the trigger!||The trigger is ready to be pulled by him!|
Clearly, active voice wins, as it’s so much easier to listen to understand.
5. Decide on the ‘Person’ and Stick to It
Decide how you’ll be writing –Is it from a 1st person, 2nd person, or 3rd person point of view?
- Use ‘I’ or ‘we’ when using your point of view (first person).
- Use ‘you’ to refer to your readers (second person).
- Use ‘he’, ‘she’, or ‘it’ to describe someone or something (third person).
Do not confuse listeners by switching from ‘1st person’ (I, we) to ‘2nd person’ (you) or the ‘3rd person’ (he, she, it, they, etc.).
Stick to one, and be consistent in how you write your microlearning script.
6. Ensure Your Script Matches the Screen
Audio scripts are meant to facilitate learning, making the content clearer and easier to understand.
Your microlearning script needs to match what’s happening on the screen. Otherwise, the learner will focus more on trying to figure out what to do than what you are trying to teach them.
7. Don’t Forget Transitions
Your script must make the transitions or switches to the next learning smooth.
For example, ‘Now that you know about Kaizen, let’s see how Kanban fits into it.’
When you want to introduce a change from the previous slide, use transition words like ‘yet, but, however, therefore and meanwhile’. They work as cues to clarify your message.
8. Do Not Talk in Bullet Points
Using lists is common in online lessons. But remember that we don’t talk in bullet points. So, when using lists, make it into a paragraph and add appropriate words.
Use transition words to tell the listener you’re coming to the end of the list. For instance, ‘coffee, milk, sugar and some ice cream’. Here, the transition word ‘and’ works as a clue for your listener that you’re approaching the end of your list.
9. Check Twice for Errors
Errors in the script can occur due to incorrect content or grammar. So, go over your script, at least twice and weed out the errors.
Use a 3-phase editing process:
- Reduce: Make big changes in content.
- Rearrange: Make revisions.
- Reword: Revisit the script. Change words that don’t go well!
10. Finally, Read it Aloud
Read your audio script aloud to check for awkward wording and if the sentences are flowing smoothly from one to the next.
Reading aloud also helps decide when best to use contractions, if juxtaposed words are difficult to pronounce, and whether the whole script is well-connected. When you read your script aloud, you can improve its rhythm by listening to the words, and assess their flow and timing. A pleasing rhythm holds the listener’s attention and enhances the entire experience.
So those were the 10 tips that will help you write great scripts for your microlearning lessons! Go on, start writing!