A Better eLearning Voice Over Workflow

Editing voice over work can be tedious and painful. For one recent course, we received a single 1 hour audio file from our voice talent that had to be chopped up and incorporated into almost 100 slides in Articulate Storyline. Listening to a 1 hour file, cutting it up and saving it manually to individual files for each slide is far too time-consuming, so I wanted to share our approach in case it can help other people save time editing.

Audacity playback speedFor audio editing we use Audicity. It’s free and works well. After loading the source file up in Audacity, the first thing I do is double the playback speed. At 2x the normal speed I can still understand what’s being said well enough to identify where slide audio begins and ends, and I can also make out potential recording errors. Listening to the audio at normal speed just to identify dividing points takes too much time.

The best way to divide audio by slide and do a batch export is by using labels in Audacity. Start at the beginning of the recording and press CTRL+B (command+B on Mac). This creates a label; name it “Slide 1”. Now listen to the audio and find the break point between the first and second slide. Press CTRL+B again and label it “Slide 2”. Continue doing this until all slides are labelled at the appropriate break points. The screenshot below show a labelled segment of audio.

Audacity labelsExport Multiple AudacityOnce everything is labelled, it’s time to export it. Audacity’s Export Multiple function makes this easy. Just go to the File menu, select “Export Multiple”, and configure the export options. Make sure you split files based on labels and use the label name as the file name; refer to the image on the right for an example. Export the files (just click through the metadata options) and you’ll end up with a folder full of audio files for individual slides. Import them into your favourite authoring tool and you’re ready to go.

Websites, LearnDash and More

At Uncanny Owl we do a lot more than just create engaging elearning programs. While that’s certainly our core business, we have completed some interesting work in other areas over the last month that’s worth sharing.

We continue to get a lot of attention for our LearnDash work. We’ve helped both a boating company and transcription business set up LearnDash platforms and course content recently (names withheld because they haven’t launched) and we start another big LearnDash project next week. Most of our inquiries for LearnDash work seem to come from California now; a number of startups are turning to LearnDash as a low-cost way to develop Minimum Viable Products in the edtech industry. For basic hypothesis testing and model validation, it works quite well—even if some manual interventions are still needed in the workflow. If you’re looking to build your MVP and need some LMS features, we may be able to point you in the right direction or lend a hand.

ManchesterCF LogoWe’ve also been busy with some web development projects recently (which does tend to go hand-in-hand with LearnDash development). A few days ago we launched a redesign of ManchesterCF.com, a Toronto-based company that provides financial crime training and advisory services. We also recently launched torontotrackdays.com, a pet project for Ken that helps Southern Ontario track enthusiasts find events and support. We’ve also taken over a marketing automation cleanup and reengineering project for a mid-sized software company.

The work is busy and diverse, but it keeps things interesting and really hones our ability to serve as a one-stop shop for everything elearning, from creating courseware to building the platforms to deliver it effectively (and profitably).