Top Disruptive Business (www.topdistruptivebusiness.com) posted an article by Aniket Patil on Friday called, “Top E-Learning Trends 2020: The ELearning Juggernaut Keeps Rolling.” In this article, Aniket predicted that the traditional forms of learning will soon be obsolete. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
As a voiceover artist and business owner there’s a Imp on my shoulder doing jumping jacks and shouting “Yeah! More work for me!” As an information junkie, there’s another Imp, on that same shoulder, rubbing its hands enthusiastically calling, “Gimme, gimme, gimme!” But I have two shoulders. And there is another side. As a parent of a son who had many learning challenges in school, and as an instructor who has taught many business, theater, and art workshops for adults and kids, I’m concerned.
To teach anyone anything, you need to:
- capture their attention
- entertain and engage them
- be as interactive as possible
This applies to teaching in-person or virtually. It’s a guiding principle for everyone involved in creating training – from the content writers, technology builders, to the voiceover artist. To succeed, you need to connect to your audience, build a relationship of trust and support, and provide information in a clear, focused, meaningful manner.
For a voiceover artist that means you have to be a voice actor. You have to think about the role you play and who you audience is. You have to put yourself into their shoes and know what they need, what they feel, and what is going to speak to them. As a voice actor, you need to speak to them like they are sitting right next to you, as a friend. You need to carry emotion inside you that colors your tone and guides your pacing. You need to give them space to absorb what you’ve said.
So, what do these changing trends in E-Learning mean to the voiceover professional? Here are some of the top trends cited in the article I read and some of my thoughts about what it means for me as a VO and my business:
Content Curation – Making E-Learning opportunities are available across all platforms.
Users will be accessing eLearning through every available platform that is or becomes available. Gone are the days of only sitting at your desk watching online training videos. E-Learning has to be accessible on the go, on your Smartphone, tablet, and through audio. For this, the voice over has to have clean sound. There are going to be enough distractions for the listener and poor sound quality cannot be one of them. This is where a professional voiceover artist can provide a great ROI for a business. Market to it. A professional voiceover will give you clean, broadcast quality sound that an in-house production may not. And a trained VO can bring life to your brand and message on a human, emotional level, where a dedicated employee’s pleasant voice may not.
Focus on Micro-Learning – Focusing on the specifics, breaking down the learning modules so the users can quickly and easily find what they need to know and consume it in small bites.
In a white paper on E-Learning by Finance Online, they said that on average, an employee allots 24 minutes week to professional development. That’s not a lot of time in which to learn something. What does this mean for the VO? Well, it means you need to dig into the script and pull out the keywords and phrases that are really important. What’s the one line you need to nail to get the message across? It also means that you have an awesome opportunity to build a long-term client relationship with your E-Learning clients. Be their “brand voice” for all their training modules. Give them great customer service, ask for feedback after the training goes live so you can tailor your performance specifically to the needs of their employees. Go the extra mile.
Video-Based Content – Making learning more interesting and engaging.
Did you know 68% of consumers prefer to watch video content to learn about new products and services? They do. And according to Wyzowl.com, the video E-Learning and marketing is going to grow to over $100 billion by 2023 and it will account for 75%-82% of all Internet traffic. For voiceover artists, this means this is the space you want to work in. Hone your skills. Learn about video and animation production for E-Learning. Increase your value as the voice talent to hire. Find the space that you can lean in to and provide superior service. Become good at dubbing, syncing, and leveling multiple tracks (vocal, special effects, and background music) so you can offer assistance in the final creation and upsell your services.
Mobile-Based Learning – Providing access anywhere, anytime. We live by our Smartphones and that’s only going to increase. The content needs to look good on mobile and be responsive and flexible.
I don’t know that this changes how we, as professional voiceover artists, work on E-Learning, but it is a great reminder that as business owners and professionals we need to be connected. Take the time to setup your business communications on your mobile devices so you can be responsive to your clients and to new business inquiries. It goes a long way to establishing your brand.
Digitalized Learning Led By An Instructor – Replacing brick-and-mortar classrooms with interactive, virtual classrooms.
You might think that this doesn’t work in our favor as voiceover artists, but it doesn’t work against us either. Step outside the box to look at this for a moment. Even with led-by-instructor learning, there are going to IN/OUTs just like there is with podcasts. There are going to be voiceover opportunities accompanying slides and video segments where the instructor is not on camera. And while we’re outside of that box, what opportunities can you make? If you’re not voicing the entire e-Learning who is? In led-by-instructor scenarios, it’s going to be a subject matter expert – not a voice talent. Can you offer consulting services as a voiceover professional to the company or school producing these led-by-instructor modules? Studio setup in their space? VO coaching for the teachers?
Personalized Learning – Providing a personalized experience for all users. Focus on fulfilling individual needs. Make it an experience.
Ask for feedback. Find out from the learners what worked and what they think could improve the experience. The information you get back may not have anything to do with your voiceover work, but it helps you continue to build a strong, collaborative relationship with them by showing you care. Also, keep an eye on the emerging technologies of AR (artificial reality) and VR (virtual reality). These two areas provide immersive learning experiences and are growing arenas for high tech industry training. Seek out and build a relationship with tech companies specializing in gamification for businesses and AR and VR. Encourage them to build a VO roster starting with you!
Will the traditional forms of learning becoming obsolete? I don’t think so. I think there will always be a need for in-person, social teaching environments. I think it’s built into our DNA. People need people. That doesn’t just go away. External forces such as COVID-19, multitasking, tight time schedules, and dwindling attention spans will push us to change our methods, and we will develop new technologies around our new needs. Work-life and soft skills like problem-solving, communication, leadership, and collaboration may become more important. Our job, as business owners, executives, trainers, and voice over artists, is to watch for opportunities.
Opportunities to learn. Opportunities make things better. And opportunities to connect.