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Audio Cues In eLearning Ideas To Use Them Successfully

Audio cues in eLearning: How to use them effectively

Visually impaired fans can watch and enjoy a movie in ways that the hearing impaired cannot. If you can’t see the screen, you can still feel what is happening. You can highlight actors’ flexion, pregnant breaks, and background sound. Hearing impaired viewers limit themselves to lip reading and body language, which can be ineffective in the age of show-don’t-tell filmmaking. With that in mind, audio can add a world of nuance to your eLearning course, but only if you use it properly. Here are 6 suggestions for audio cues in eLearning.

6 insider tips for using audio cues

1. Use sound with purpose

You may have read that multimedia courses are getting the best response. That doesn’t mean you should use sound just for yourself. Think about where, how and why each decibel is. Do you want to generate a certain emotion? Are you simplifying a large block of text? Does the sound deepen the context of your scene? Before you record a single note or scale, justify its existence. Also, short clips work best, so they shouldn’t be longer than two minutes. After that, online learners are likely to be withdrawn from circulation. And when the audio is speech, use the correct inflection for additional context. Robot mono tones only work for GPS, and even then it’s pretty annoying. You should also avoid alarming audio cues in eLearning as they may surprise online learners. You want them to pay attention and not be stressed by high pitched pitches or alarms.

2. Insert the soundtrack

When writing a script or a television series, the soundtrack plays a huge role. It fits the storyboard and fits the plot and characters. It’s all planned in advance. Use the same approach in your eLearning course. Think about which chapters or pages need urgency, sharp focus, or a playful mood. Then select sound clips that evoke those responses. The correct audio cues in eLearning – whether it is an instrumental or a sound effect – can influence the emotions of online learners and therefore support (or prohibit) retrieval. Make sure you use the clay responsibly and with a lot of consideration.

3. Build an ambience

Try this experiment. Record reading some pieces of text. You can use your phone microphone. Now open any website and listen to audio, whether it’s an online video or an audiobook. Their sounds are more engaging than yours. Why? Ambient noise. It doesn’t have to be a background melody that is placed under the speaker. Sometimes the dishes clink, the wind blows, your fingers tap a keyboard. They add context, improve realism, and subconsciously make you focus on the voice. Whether it’s a parking lot in front of the window or the echo of an empty office, plug in ambient noise.

4. Don’t get distracted

Many of us like to work with music in the background. When we listen to a podcast or interview rather than a song, we feel like we are multitasking. Studies show that our brains can only focus on one thing at a time and everything else is a distraction from eLearning. Good multitaskers do not perform mental functions at the same time. They are just really good at juggling. You switch quickly from one task to another. You will notice this after you’ve “listened” for a while. Then suddenly you sit up when you hear a song or lyrics that you like. At that moment, your brain switches from the task and focuses on the song. The sound element of your eLearning course shouldn’t jar online learners this way.

In fact, the whole purpose of using audio cues in eLearning is to draw attention to certain aspects of the eLearning course design. Online learners need to remember this idea or concept. And the audio makes them aware so that they can take in the information and make an emotional connection. Remember, audio cues is about finding a balance between blending in in the background and sticking out to get their attention.

5. Use easy listening tools

This seems like such an obvious thing that you will likely ignore it. Audio cues in eLearning are useful for the visually impaired online learner or for studying while doing other things (housework, commuting, exercising, etc.). As you read, you can skip through a previous sentence or turn to an earlier / later page. Make sure your audio is just as easy to navigate. Include pause, stop, play, rewind and forward functions. Online learners should be able to return to specific sections of the eLearning course to improve understanding and capture any missed pointers. The clues direct them to food stalls that they may want to revisit in order to retain long-term memory.

6. Create an audio storyboard

For each eLearning module or activity, develop a storyboard to determine what topics and tasks you need to cover. Then decide where to add the audio cues in eLearning to get the most impact. For example, every time you recap the takeaways, you’ll put in subtle background music. Online learners will automatically know that this is a point of interest. Something you need to pay close attention to in order to really benefit from the eLearning course. With something like this in the storyboard, you can keep track of which audio cues you use and how often. This also helps you maintain consistency throughout the eLearning course design.


Audio cues are an important part of any eLearning course. Unfortunately, they are often overburdened or at least used in a less helpful manner. To get the most out of your audio features, connect them correctly. Decide why, where, and how to use them. Don’t just go to the “when”. Plan your soundtrack in advance, ideally as you storyboard. Focus on the ambience rather than the distraction and make it easier to play and review relevant sections of your audio throughout the course. It makes all the difference.

Are you looking for ways to motivate your adult learners during your eLearning course and meet the needs of your adult learners using the right instructional design processes? Download our free e-book. Designing Adult Learner eLearning Courses: The Complete Guide That will teach you the characteristics of adult learners, the barriers they must overcome, ways to motivate and motivate committed adult learners, and some amazing adult learning facts and statistics, you must know to be an eLearning professional.

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