eLearning And Padded Rooms

July 20, 2023 08:30 AM By Paul Boucher

A voice actor with a track record of success in eLearning is NOT a one-trick pony in the conventional sense. 

Undoubtedly, actors working actively in eLearning record that sort of content more than any other. That's a function of the time and dedication it takes to get it right.


They've arrived at their chosen way to spend time talking to themselves in a padded room via unique attributes and convergence of circumstances.


In a word: experience.


I should add here that by "unique" and "experience," I mean attributes that are unique to the specific voice actor's journey to the craft of narration - not just distinctive versions of expected voice acting skills like interpretation, clear enunciation, versatility, pacing, and some subject matter knowledge.


In my case specifically, since English was my second language, I LOVED, for lack of a better expression, "showing off" that I could get all the words right and knew what they meant. It meant incessant reading while learning the language. I still read voraciously on various subjects, which serves my clients well. I usually arrive with at least a notional frame of reference for the content, no matter how esoteric. This saves Instructional Designers and clients time by not having to explain anything other than jargon that may be specialized and client-specific.


It meant perfecting the accent (as in NOT having one in Canadian and Standard American English) and refining my Canadian French to reflect a Quebecois sound more than anything else.


As a successful broadcaster (I started speaking into microphones professionally when I was 15), I looked for work like commercials further afield. Still, it was natural for me to specialize in non-broadcast narration in the market I live in.


That specialization began for me in 1997 because Alberta, Canada, is home to the world's third-largest proven oil and gas reserves. The scale and scope of the energy industry assured a steady demand for onboarding, compliance, and many technical narrations on process, chemistry, engineering, etc.


Pause for a moment and think of everything within hand's reach that the energy industry produces: materials for your smartphone, technical clothing for your workout, the soles and fabrics of your runners, the paint used in your decor, and the hair products used in your next hair appointment.


You can imagine the variety of topics covered in eLearning related to the energy industry.


Talk to any eLearning narration professional, and you'll discover a remarkable, sometimes extraordinary, path to their daily work for their clients.


That experience is why they can make your content live and breathe for learners.


There's an old saying, "If I do a job in 30 minutes, it's because I spent 10 years learning how to do that job in 30 minutes."


That experience makes your chosen voice actor an expert and engaged narrator, which helps to complement instructional design with excellent educational fundamentals, often with winning results for companies the learning was designed for, and awards within the profession. I've been the narrator for two award-winning eLearning series for global and national companies.


Those recent successes are part of my journey to the next project. Perhaps yours. So, now, back to enjoying my padded room, and learning and teaching.