What Is ROI?
ROI is an acronym for ‘return on investment’. For example, hiring instructional designers is investing money into a business endeavor, an e-learning course. Calculating ROI helps everyone understand the value your course creates. Within e-Learning courses, are you asking about ROI for hiring a professional voice actor?
Let’s put this in the hands of the experts – the Instructional Designer. You are ready to develop your virtual reality, game-based, micro-learning or video-based eLearning course. You’re drafting design elements, and pondering…
Will you hire professional voice talent (VO)?
Using a pro voice actor has positive effects for your learners within an excellent instructional design. VOs work as hired actors, narrators, and characters of varying ages in mock scenarios.
But what’s your ROI with hiring a pro VO? Are these challenging questions popping up:
- The budget is set… So leave out the VO and save on that budget line item?
- Some colleagues pull aside an in-house person to save funds.
- Others say it adds time to hire a professional VO.
What’s your ROI if you do or don’t hire a VO? Are there hidden costs? Apply top-level considerations to your unique project.
Pros and Cons of In-house Recordings
Is your project a short course with limited audience, limited use, and the audio recording quality is not an issue? Then it probably makes sense to keep it in-house. Whoever does the in-house recordings will do their best with the experience, time and focus they can offer.
On the flip side, there are a few typical issues that can cost more time or produce sub-standard audio quality:
- Usually non-pros require more recording time, and fixing errors time, compared to pros. The average unskilled person needs about 4-5 hours of work to create 1 finished hour of audio. A pro can get it done in 2-3 hours.
- Will they edit for you, or is that your chore? More demands on your time?
- Using in-house doesn’t mean ‘free’. Their regular work is being delayed. Whose budget does that hit?
- Audio can be distorted with office background noise, or from non-professional equipment, or both. Will you receive clean undistorted audio?
- Vocal expression may not fit the course. For example, monotonous tone, or inability to engage the text vocally, or not sounding authentic or conversational. Will the spoken word recording be vibrant and appropriate?
Audio should enhance the instructional experience. The spoken word recordings should enhance the script you’ve developed. Audio should never detract from the course nor distract the participant. Still, a non-pro may be your only option. For some projects, if you can live with these results, then stick with in-house audio.
Professional Voice Talent Recordings
Is your course for a larger audience, with broader use, and high audio quality a requirement? You probably already know it’s time to consider using professional voice talent. A course like this is representing the brand of the company it’s created for.
Here are typical benefits of hiring a pro voice talent:
Spoken Word Experience
A professional voice talent offers many years of experience with all different types of e-learning projects. She understands what you expect.
Professional voice talent have pro studio equipment and deliver high-quality audio recordings of your script. She stays up with trends in her industry, from varying styles of vocal performance, to the latest technologies for recording. If you need audio edits after the initial recordings, your VO talent should provide new audio that seamlessly blends into the project.
Pro VOs are experts delivering a performance in front of a microphone (as compared to on stage or in front of a camera), and speaking to the intended audience when recording, to generate and maintain audience interest. Additionally, gaming and scenario-based courses often incorporate re-enactments or dramatizations that require acting skills.
Pro VOs are a business people that will aim to quickly turn around your projects and readily accommodate your deadlines.
Consider the impact that a professional production will have on your brand identity. It’s a business investment signaling to participants of the course that you value quality. Professional audio can convey a brand’s message in mere seconds.
What’s the ROI?
The most common ROI formula is net return divided by the total cost.
The simplest way to think about the ROI formula is to add up the value of benefits (return) and dividing it by the cost.
If you say something has a good or bad ROI, then explain how you measure it. Each ROI case will be specific to the course you’re creating.
In conclusion, the choice of VO for e-learning projects is one of many crucial elements within the design process. The ROI will depend your budget, your experience with either in-house or pro VOs, and what the overall experience should be for your course participants.
Let me know if you think I’ve missed anything, as I’m always happy to hear from you.