Does my educational video need a professional voice over?

The credit to this amazing photo goes to Prince Abid on Unsplash.


In the same way that buyers 
judge (and buy) books by their covers, eLearning or educational videos are often judged by the quality of their voice over. It’s not hard to understand why; consider the importance sound plays in a dramatic film. LA Film School goes so far as to say that poorly planned sound engineering (including Foley) can ruin an otherwise spectacular movie.

As a professional video producer or experienced course creator, it’s normal to question whether you really need a pro voice over for your educational video. That’s especially true if you’ve created what you believe is the most compelling, visual eLearning content imaginable. Online searches are likely to present arguments either way and ultimately, the choice is yours. It stands to reason, however, that the purpose of an educational video is to impart knowledge in the most impactful, memorable way possible. There’s little doubt that a great voice over—coupled with a great script and visuals—will do just that.

Here are some compelling arguments why a professional voice over will bring quality to your educational video:

#1 – The Contiguity Principle

In their work published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, Richard E. Mayer and Richard B. Anderson highlighted how students would do better at both retaining course content and developing problem-solving skills when the educational information allows them to build both representational connections and referential connections. With an educational video, educators have an advantage when it comes to delivering on both.

However, simply presenting an image to represent a concept isn’t enough, even for visual learners, just as showing printed text on a slide won’t allow the most verbal/linguistic learners to create representational connections. Likewise, presenting both imagery and text is also insufficient without sound—particularly when it comes to developing referential connections.

#2 – The Signaling Principle

Using a voice over professional for your educational video is an essential element in helping students create both representational and referential connections, and the signaling principle demonstrates this. Columbia University quotes the signaling principle as one of the leading contributors to helping people make the connections necessary to learn.

A voice over professional will provide cues for learners, instead of forcing them to seek that information for themselves. Also, rather than read referential material in your educational video, your voice over professional will guide learners to critical aspects of your content. It’s important that learners are ‘signaled’ to the proper information. Otherwise, they may be left feeling lost, confused and, ultimately, unsuccessful.

#3 – Returning Learners

For eLearning to be successful, learners need to feel that it’s for them. Without a sense of achievement that comes through improved problem-solving skills and knowledge when learners make the representational and referential connections needed to demonstrate the benefits of your educational video, they’re unlikely to return for additional courses.

Four out of five satisfied learners who complete an educational video and feel like they learned a new skill or developed new knowledge will enroll in future eLearning courses. Those who felt like the format wasn’t for them are unlikely to enroll again.

Enhancing the experience the eLearning experience through professional voice over narration also satisfies the dual-channel principle. This principle states that people learn through both auditory and visual channels.

(If you’d like to know more about educational theory, check out DevLearn repository for an abundance of leading-edge information that can help make your educational video complete).

#4 – Consider the intangibles

A voice over professional can help you achieve the following goals when it comes to the success of your educational video:

  • A seasoned voice over actor will interpret the script and material of your educational video and emulate the tone required, regardless of whether your video calls for a male or female voice actor.
  • A voice actor has the hardware and software to lend a professional touch to your educational video. Additionally, a voice pro will know the fundamentals of delivering eLearning material according to current standards, such as those presented and discussed at DevLearn.
  • If you choose to go with a VoiceBunny voice over professional, your project is backed by a comprehensive support and control system that ensures the highest quality standards.

Since many people feel that eLearning courses might not be for them, voice over professionals will ensure that learners become engaged and make the essential connections discussed above. In doing so, your educational video will not only increase learner engagement and satisfaction by adhering to standard conventions, but it can also improve the potential for return learning.

Summary: A professional voice over CAN make ALL the difference to your educational video

Many learners believe that spending time on an educational video isn’t for them. In many instances, you can trace this belief back to inadequate production. Whether the material failed to present representation or referential content, or some other basic principle (like the dual-channel principle) was ineffective or omitted altogether, chances are a voice over professional was never engaged in the eLearning project. In cases where a voice over was engaged, it’s likely the wrong actor was chosen for the project.

VoiceBunny allows educational video producers the opportunity of matching the best voiceover actor for their specifications, or to have three actors (at least!) audition for the eLearning project. That way, it’ll be a much easier choice. Only the actors who meet the initial criteria will participate and, ultimately, the Pro you choose will add considerable value to the final product.

Given the importance of attracting repeat learners, it’s crucial to work with someone who knows how to engage and guide students through eLearning courses. Helping you find the actor your material both needs and deserves is where a service like VoiceBunny truly shines.

A writer from WritingBunny co-wrote this article.

Author: Laura Varon

Content creator, marketer, translator. I studied advertising because I wanted to know a little about everything and I am a translator because I want to know a lot about a lot. I co-write with WritingBunny.