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The DIY Narrator: For Instructional Designers Who Narrate eLearning

Josh Risser

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The DIY Narrator: For Instructional Designers Who Narrate eLearning
The DIY Narrator: For Instructional Designers Who Narrate eLearning

The DIY Narrator: For Instructional Designers Who Narrate eLearning

Josh Risser

1
Followers
6
Plays
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About Us

Narrating your eLearning is about more than just delivering information, it’s about engaging your learners. To get the most out of your time narrating, you need to make sure you’re focused on the things that will improve the conversationality of your narration and connect your learner to the message and intent of your e-learning project.

Latest Episodes

Home Studio Setup with Neil Zielsdorf

This episode is a change of format for DIY Narrator! In this episode, I'm joined by Neil Zielsdorf. Neil is an Instructional Designer for Amazon who has recently moved into a new house. As a result, he's been incrementally setting up a room in his home to be his new workspace for recording eLearning narration and videos over a green screen. We had a great discussion about sound reflections (echo), acoustic treatment, and attempting to keep the sounds of a household out of your space. In this conversation, we cover a number of approaches you can take to improving the acoustic quality of a room. Everything from bass traps, acoustic foam, and moving blankets to DIY acoustic panels and weatherstripping. As an added bonus, we had a quick conversation about VR and AR as well as how voice over fits into that format a bit differently than your typical eLearning narration. If you want to get in touch with Neil, you can reach him on LinkedIn. Links We talked about a number of things in this episode. Here are some links if you want to check any of them out! * The DevLearn Las Vegas Hotel Room Episode* Samson Q2U mic* Audio Technica ATR-2100 USB mic* Purple Panda Lavalier (Lav) mic* The Impulso App* Booth Junkie Acoustic Panels

39 MINJUL 27
Comments
Home Studio Setup with Neil Zielsdorf

The Magic of The Lead-In

Hmm... Title ideas... * The secret that Voice Over Talents don't want you to know!* These 5 things help you sound more conversational. You won't believe number 4!* Don't even think about recording your eLearning narration without doing this first! Oh wait, I'm producing valuable content here, not clickbait. But seriously, this really is one weird trick that most voice talents use on a regular basis and it will probably have an immediate impact on your eLearning narration delivery. And it is so simple. The "lead-in" is essentially a short phrase you add to the start of your read that keeps you from slamming into the first word after hitting record. It also has the added benefit of helping you keep your frame of mind on the key components of your narration scene: * Who are you?* Who are you talking to?* Why are you saying this? Check out the last episode for more info on those concepts and why they're important.

10 MINJUL 12
Comments
The Magic of The Lead-In

Nebulous Woo-Woo Stuff

024: AKA Method Acting for the Instructional Designer This episode picks up where last episode ended: My presentation at the Learning Solutions conference. Last episode, I talked about the Bad and Incomplete Advice you've been given and some pitfalls that can cause your narration to be not so conversational sounding. This week, we're going cerebral! Time to get in your head and figure out what you're thinking about when you're sitting down to narrate. I bet I can guess what you're thinking about: * "Time to knock out some narration before my meeting in 20 minutes!"* "I hope I don't stumble over my words! I hate starting over and having to edit!"* "I only had one [beverage of choice], I shouldn't slur my words... too much." You could probably guess that those kinds of thoughts are not helpful when you go to narrate your eLearning course. Listen to this episode to hear my thoughts on where your head should be when you go to narrate. Stuff In This Episode * A 3-part template for gettin...

11 MINJUN 8
Comments
Nebulous Woo-Woo Stuff

Bad and Incomplete Advice

023: Learning Solutions 2019 Presentation - Part 1 Note: I accidentally pointed the last post to the wrong file! This is a duplicate/new post to make sure everyone gets the right file downloaded. You might not have noticed, but in case you think you already grabbed this episode, that's what's up. First, a story: Once upon a time, there was a guy who had a podcast and was speaking at a conference. He thought, "Hey, I'll record my session and release it as a podcast." He bought a cool lavalier mic for his phone and tested it to make sure it worked. Session day came and before he started presenting he fed the mic through his shirt, plugged it in and tested it out. Everything worked! Then, about 35 minutes into his session he realized he forgot to actually start recording the session. The End. Sooo... At the end of March, I was honored to be allowed an hour to present at The eLearning Guild's Learning Solutions conference in Orlando. It was an amazing experience. If you made it to my session, thank you so much for coming. For those of you who didn't (which I think was most of you since I have a few thousand listens and about 40 people in the room), I want to recap my session over the next couple of episodes. This episode focuses mainly on the advice you've heard in the past and how it's lead you astray. Not because it was bad advice, but because it was incomplete. You've heard it all: * Billboard Important Phrases!* Speak Slowly and Steadily* E-nun-ci-ate Your Words These are all great pieces of advice, but I've found that there isn't enough context or understanding out there about how to properly implement them.

12 MINMAY 2
Comments
Bad and Incomplete Advice

What is Authority in eLearning Narration?

We should rethink the word "Authority" when it comes to eLearning Narration. Episode 22 of the DIY Narrator Podcast is here! Time to talk about sounding like an "authority" in your eLearning Narration. I'll be honest, I don't like the word "authority" as part of the direction for narrating an eLearning script. To me, "authority" too strong or negative. In my head, I see the grumpy professor standing behind a lectern and regurgitating information. Expecting you to sit quietly and take notes. Not like someone I'd enjoy learning from. When trying to add "authority" to your narration, you have to be really careful. Doing so can take you down the wrong path. You may end up with a less friendly read or you could even end up sounding condescending. No learner wants to be talked down to. People enjoy learning from a friendly person they trust and see as an equal. When I see "authority" or "authoritative" in direction spec, I mentally swap it out for the word "confident." I've found this sat...

10 MINMAR 7
Comments
What is Authority in eLearning Narration?

021 – More on “Who’s it for” – Part 2 – Conversational Style

Yer gonna wanna listen to this one! This week we continue with the question “Who’s it for?” and dig into how you can adjust your narration style to sound more conversational with the intent of appealing to and connecting with your audience. If you haven’t heard Part 1, check it out! And if you have heard the episode on how I failed by not answering the question of “Who’s it for?”, be sure to check it out here. I guess you could call that Part Zero. Oh, be sure to listen all the way through to hear my impression of the worst elements of conversational American English and a horrible pirate joke. In the next episode, we'll talk about your energy levels and sounding "authoritative"... whatever that means. ;) Things covered include: * Elements of conversational narration style * How they all fit together * When they don't work * What NOT to do! * A terrible pirate joke Subscribe! Be sure to subscribe. Find all the links here. Question? If you have any questions for me, please ema...

13 MINFEB 22
Comments
021 – More on “Who’s it for” – Part 2 – Conversational Style

020 – More on “Who’s it for?” – Part 1

"Who's it for?" You already ask yourself this question when you begin working on a training module. It should impact every element of your eLearning: the outline, the visuals, the length, the language, and the method of delivery. It should also impact your narration in a number of ways. This week, we're talking about scriptwriting and pace. I did touch on pace a bit in Episode 19, so be sure to check it out as well. In the next episode, we'll move onto how the conversationality of your narration will change based on your answer to the question of "Who is it for?" Things covered include: * Understanding the question "Who is it for?" * Approaching your script * Questions to ask to impact your performance pace Subscribe! Be sure to subscribe. Find all the links here. Question? If you have any questions for me, please email them over to host@diynarrator.com or send me a message on my fancy new Questions Page. That's all for now. Be sure to subscribe in your podcatcher so you can catch t...

9 MINFEB 8
Comments
020 – More on “Who’s it for?” – Part 1

019 – eLearning Fail! Who’s it for?

It's been too long since the last episode, but it was all for good reason! Apart from being crazy busy over the holidays, I spent a lot of time thinking about where I wanted to take DIY Narrator in 2019. I think you're going to like it. Also, near the end of 2018, I took on my first project with a brand shiny new client and quickly proceeded to make one serious mistake that caused a bit of extra work on my end and some unnecessary stress on their end. I want to tell you that story in this episode, along with what you can learn from it to improve your next narration project. Things covered include: * DIY Narrator Academy * DIY Narrator Podcast Changes * My eLearning Narration FAIL! * Who's it for? Subscribe! Be sure to subscribe. Find all the links here. Question? If you have any questions for me, please email them over to host@diynarrator.com or send me a message on my fancy new Questions Page. That's all for now. Be sure to subscribe in your podcatcher so you can catch the next epi...

14 MINJAN 18
Comments
019 – eLearning Fail! Who’s it for?

018 – Audio for Training Videos

Video is BIG in L&D. But I don't have to tell YOU that. All you have to do is think about the last time you visited YouTube and you'll realize how engaging and effective video content can be when done well. Or how ineffective it can be when done poorly. Specifically, I'm talking about poor audio quality. Knowing how effective video can be for training, I wanted to discuss how you can get started taking steps to improve your audio quality. With how great cameras are getting on phones these days, in my opinion, audio quality is the low-hanging fruit when it comes to improving the effectiveness of your training videos. Things covered include: * A short rant about audio in videos * Camera Audio * Mic Solutions - Upsides and Downsides * Lav mics * Shotgun mics * Recording Solutions Subscribe! Be sure to subscribe. Find all the links here. Question? If you have any questions for me, please email them over to host@diynarrator.com or send me a message on my fancy new Questions Page. That's ...

20 MIN2018 DEC 8
Comments
018 – Audio for Training Videos

017 – Tips for Getting Into Voice Over

When I was at DevLearn back in October and introduced myself as "voice talent" often their response included some variation of the following question: "My friend/My spouse/I've always wanted to explore voiceover. Do you have any advice?" Lucky for me, I love to talk shop. For a long time, I've avoided this question on the podcast, but I wanted to cover it and get it out of the way! For the most part, those of you in L&D are passionate about learning and teaching and aren't looking for another career. But that's what this episode is all about. How can you, as an Instructional Designer narrating your own eLearning, get into other areas of voiceover? You have the equipment and you've improved your space and skills based on advice from the DIY Narrator podcast. Why not try your hand? Here's my advice, which doesn't really differ at all from my own path into voiceover. Things covered include: * Listening to commercials! * Coaching * Getting Auditions * Agents? * A special announcement! S...

22 MIN2018 NOV 16
Comments
017 – Tips for Getting Into Voice Over

Latest Episodes

Home Studio Setup with Neil Zielsdorf

This episode is a change of format for DIY Narrator! In this episode, I'm joined by Neil Zielsdorf. Neil is an Instructional Designer for Amazon who has recently moved into a new house. As a result, he's been incrementally setting up a room in his home to be his new workspace for recording eLearning narration and videos over a green screen. We had a great discussion about sound reflections (echo), acoustic treatment, and attempting to keep the sounds of a household out of your space. In this conversation, we cover a number of approaches you can take to improving the acoustic quality of a room. Everything from bass traps, acoustic foam, and moving blankets to DIY acoustic panels and weatherstripping. As an added bonus, we had a quick conversation about VR and AR as well as how voice over fits into that format a bit differently than your typical eLearning narration. If you want to get in touch with Neil, you can reach him on LinkedIn. Links We talked about a number of things in this episode. Here are some links if you want to check any of them out! * The DevLearn Las Vegas Hotel Room Episode* Samson Q2U mic* Audio Technica ATR-2100 USB mic* Purple Panda Lavalier (Lav) mic* The Impulso App* Booth Junkie Acoustic Panels

39 MINJUL 27
Comments
Home Studio Setup with Neil Zielsdorf

The Magic of The Lead-In

Hmm... Title ideas... * The secret that Voice Over Talents don't want you to know!* These 5 things help you sound more conversational. You won't believe number 4!* Don't even think about recording your eLearning narration without doing this first! Oh wait, I'm producing valuable content here, not clickbait. But seriously, this really is one weird trick that most voice talents use on a regular basis and it will probably have an immediate impact on your eLearning narration delivery. And it is so simple. The "lead-in" is essentially a short phrase you add to the start of your read that keeps you from slamming into the first word after hitting record. It also has the added benefit of helping you keep your frame of mind on the key components of your narration scene: * Who are you?* Who are you talking to?* Why are you saying this? Check out the last episode for more info on those concepts and why they're important.

10 MINJUL 12
Comments
The Magic of The Lead-In

Nebulous Woo-Woo Stuff

024: AKA Method Acting for the Instructional Designer This episode picks up where last episode ended: My presentation at the Learning Solutions conference. Last episode, I talked about the Bad and Incomplete Advice you've been given and some pitfalls that can cause your narration to be not so conversational sounding. This week, we're going cerebral! Time to get in your head and figure out what you're thinking about when you're sitting down to narrate. I bet I can guess what you're thinking about: * "Time to knock out some narration before my meeting in 20 minutes!"* "I hope I don't stumble over my words! I hate starting over and having to edit!"* "I only had one [beverage of choice], I shouldn't slur my words... too much." You could probably guess that those kinds of thoughts are not helpful when you go to narrate your eLearning course. Listen to this episode to hear my thoughts on where your head should be when you go to narrate. Stuff In This Episode * A 3-part template for gettin...

11 MINJUN 8
Comments
Nebulous Woo-Woo Stuff

Bad and Incomplete Advice

023: Learning Solutions 2019 Presentation - Part 1 Note: I accidentally pointed the last post to the wrong file! This is a duplicate/new post to make sure everyone gets the right file downloaded. You might not have noticed, but in case you think you already grabbed this episode, that's what's up. First, a story: Once upon a time, there was a guy who had a podcast and was speaking at a conference. He thought, "Hey, I'll record my session and release it as a podcast." He bought a cool lavalier mic for his phone and tested it to make sure it worked. Session day came and before he started presenting he fed the mic through his shirt, plugged it in and tested it out. Everything worked! Then, about 35 minutes into his session he realized he forgot to actually start recording the session. The End. Sooo... At the end of March, I was honored to be allowed an hour to present at The eLearning Guild's Learning Solutions conference in Orlando. It was an amazing experience. If you made it to my session, thank you so much for coming. For those of you who didn't (which I think was most of you since I have a few thousand listens and about 40 people in the room), I want to recap my session over the next couple of episodes. This episode focuses mainly on the advice you've heard in the past and how it's lead you astray. Not because it was bad advice, but because it was incomplete. You've heard it all: * Billboard Important Phrases!* Speak Slowly and Steadily* E-nun-ci-ate Your Words These are all great pieces of advice, but I've found that there isn't enough context or understanding out there about how to properly implement them.

12 MINMAY 2
Comments
Bad and Incomplete Advice

What is Authority in eLearning Narration?

We should rethink the word "Authority" when it comes to eLearning Narration. Episode 22 of the DIY Narrator Podcast is here! Time to talk about sounding like an "authority" in your eLearning Narration. I'll be honest, I don't like the word "authority" as part of the direction for narrating an eLearning script. To me, "authority" too strong or negative. In my head, I see the grumpy professor standing behind a lectern and regurgitating information. Expecting you to sit quietly and take notes. Not like someone I'd enjoy learning from. When trying to add "authority" to your narration, you have to be really careful. Doing so can take you down the wrong path. You may end up with a less friendly read or you could even end up sounding condescending. No learner wants to be talked down to. People enjoy learning from a friendly person they trust and see as an equal. When I see "authority" or "authoritative" in direction spec, I mentally swap it out for the word "confident." I've found this sat...

10 MINMAR 7
Comments
What is Authority in eLearning Narration?

021 – More on “Who’s it for” – Part 2 – Conversational Style

Yer gonna wanna listen to this one! This week we continue with the question “Who’s it for?” and dig into how you can adjust your narration style to sound more conversational with the intent of appealing to and connecting with your audience. If you haven’t heard Part 1, check it out! And if you have heard the episode on how I failed by not answering the question of “Who’s it for?”, be sure to check it out here. I guess you could call that Part Zero. Oh, be sure to listen all the way through to hear my impression of the worst elements of conversational American English and a horrible pirate joke. In the next episode, we'll talk about your energy levels and sounding "authoritative"... whatever that means. ;) Things covered include: * Elements of conversational narration style * How they all fit together * When they don't work * What NOT to do! * A terrible pirate joke Subscribe! Be sure to subscribe. Find all the links here. Question? If you have any questions for me, please ema...

13 MINFEB 22
Comments
021 – More on “Who’s it for” – Part 2 – Conversational Style

020 – More on “Who’s it for?” – Part 1

"Who's it for?" You already ask yourself this question when you begin working on a training module. It should impact every element of your eLearning: the outline, the visuals, the length, the language, and the method of delivery. It should also impact your narration in a number of ways. This week, we're talking about scriptwriting and pace. I did touch on pace a bit in Episode 19, so be sure to check it out as well. In the next episode, we'll move onto how the conversationality of your narration will change based on your answer to the question of "Who is it for?" Things covered include: * Understanding the question "Who is it for?" * Approaching your script * Questions to ask to impact your performance pace Subscribe! Be sure to subscribe. Find all the links here. Question? If you have any questions for me, please email them over to host@diynarrator.com or send me a message on my fancy new Questions Page. That's all for now. Be sure to subscribe in your podcatcher so you can catch t...

9 MINFEB 8
Comments
020 – More on “Who’s it for?” – Part 1

019 – eLearning Fail! Who’s it for?

It's been too long since the last episode, but it was all for good reason! Apart from being crazy busy over the holidays, I spent a lot of time thinking about where I wanted to take DIY Narrator in 2019. I think you're going to like it. Also, near the end of 2018, I took on my first project with a brand shiny new client and quickly proceeded to make one serious mistake that caused a bit of extra work on my end and some unnecessary stress on their end. I want to tell you that story in this episode, along with what you can learn from it to improve your next narration project. Things covered include: * DIY Narrator Academy * DIY Narrator Podcast Changes * My eLearning Narration FAIL! * Who's it for? Subscribe! Be sure to subscribe. Find all the links here. Question? If you have any questions for me, please email them over to host@diynarrator.com or send me a message on my fancy new Questions Page. That's all for now. Be sure to subscribe in your podcatcher so you can catch the next epi...

14 MINJAN 18
Comments
019 – eLearning Fail! Who’s it for?

018 – Audio for Training Videos

Video is BIG in L&D. But I don't have to tell YOU that. All you have to do is think about the last time you visited YouTube and you'll realize how engaging and effective video content can be when done well. Or how ineffective it can be when done poorly. Specifically, I'm talking about poor audio quality. Knowing how effective video can be for training, I wanted to discuss how you can get started taking steps to improve your audio quality. With how great cameras are getting on phones these days, in my opinion, audio quality is the low-hanging fruit when it comes to improving the effectiveness of your training videos. Things covered include: * A short rant about audio in videos * Camera Audio * Mic Solutions - Upsides and Downsides * Lav mics * Shotgun mics * Recording Solutions Subscribe! Be sure to subscribe. Find all the links here. Question? If you have any questions for me, please email them over to host@diynarrator.com or send me a message on my fancy new Questions Page. That's ...

20 MIN2018 DEC 8
Comments
018 – Audio for Training Videos

017 – Tips for Getting Into Voice Over

When I was at DevLearn back in October and introduced myself as "voice talent" often their response included some variation of the following question: "My friend/My spouse/I've always wanted to explore voiceover. Do you have any advice?" Lucky for me, I love to talk shop. For a long time, I've avoided this question on the podcast, but I wanted to cover it and get it out of the way! For the most part, those of you in L&D are passionate about learning and teaching and aren't looking for another career. But that's what this episode is all about. How can you, as an Instructional Designer narrating your own eLearning, get into other areas of voiceover? You have the equipment and you've improved your space and skills based on advice from the DIY Narrator podcast. Why not try your hand? Here's my advice, which doesn't really differ at all from my own path into voiceover. Things covered include: * Listening to commercials! * Coaching * Getting Auditions * Agents? * A special announcement! S...

22 MIN2018 NOV 16
Comments
017 – Tips for Getting Into Voice Over
hmly
himalayaプレミアムへようこそ聴き放題のオーディオブックをお楽しみください。