A Look Into the Intriguing World of E-learning

The world of E-learning has exploded over the past 10 years. With faster internet connections, learning a new skill remotely is now faster, more affordable and available to more people than ever before.

It is an exciting industry that is spread across almost every single sector of business. Any sort of training that can be done via an electronic device falls under the category of e-learning.

This has meant an increase over recent years in the utilization of voice talent for many of these courses and training modules. With many voice actors now recording from professional home studios, this has also meant that overheads have fallen, which has allowed for the process to become more affordable for many businesses and production companies.

[pullquote_right]Many e-learning courses can run for hours. And as many voice over professionals are aware, an e-learning course that has a final ‘play time’ of 3 hours, can easily take double that to record and edit.[/pullquote_right]

Rick Gordon is the Manager of e-learningvoices.com and has seen the need for talent intensify.“E-learning is becoming more popular as it is applied in more unique ways. There has been a huge increase in e-learning production companies. Hence, more and more VO talents are required to role play the many characters that can sometimes be incorporated into a production.”


Scores of voice actors associate ‘e-learning’ with medical narrations or even ESL (English as a second language) courses. But their uses are wide and varied, with many now incorporating one voice playing many characters.

Gordon explains that a voice actor must adapt to the change. “If your focus is on “Main Narrator” roles you will have to work tirelessly at self promotion and be successful minimally. Not to accent our unique business approach at E-LV but we target the entire project. In fact we target multiple projects being created by multiple ID’s (Instructional Designers). More often than not Main Narrators are selected as someone who previously played a small character role. These roles can be extremely small, 10 words in some cases, but your “tone” has been heard and noted.”

Many e-learning courses can run for hours. And as many voice over professionals are aware, an e-learning course that has a final ‘play time’ of 3 hours, can easily take double that to record and edit.

The long hours in the studio are just one of many challenges a voice actor will face when diving into the niche sector of the voice over industry.

Gordon elaborates. “By far the biggest challenge is getting heard by the ID’s who actually produce the productions. If you can get to that point hopefully the end user client will accept the ID’s recommendations for the various roles. The second challenge is the pay scale. There are no e-learning production companies who can pay you your $150 -$250 minimum to record a few words or sentences. Some projects incorporate 20-25 character and there may be one Main Narrator. The funds are simply not in the budget to pay scale rates. A voice over talent should look at a small character roll as an audition and hopefully larger or more numerous roles down the road. Also, the more character roles you can fulfill the more work you will find but that is another topic.”

For those still not daunted by the long hours and large character skill set required Gordon offers some further advice. “I would suggest that they do some research in how the system works. Much information can be found at www.elearningguild.com”

Are you involved in e-learning? What are your thoughts on the pay structure and the workload involved? Let us know in the comments below.

Kurt Myers

Kurt Myers is an opinionated, social media and voice industry expert. He has been involved in agency sales, marketing, and talent development for the past 9 years.

  • Rick Oconnor

    The rate needs to be set in advance and agreed upon by both the client and voice. As someone who employees voice talent to record e learning courses I was once screwed over by a voice invoicing me for 17 hours of editing for a 4 hour voice over. Now I get a set rate BEFORE we start.

  • Andrew Susay

    Been doing e-Learning since 2006 for the government of Malaysia. It was basically for the Malaysia schools and I covered a few subjects. The pay was just fabulous as we were the pioneers.

    However, having said that, the rerecords/inserts were a bit tedious as I had to drive 20 KM to a studio just to do a few lines which was NOT included in the pay structure.

    As Malaysia progressed where e-learning is concerned, a lot of part timers took note of it and started to flood the market with cheaper rates……eventually, every Tom, Dick and Harry became “voice talents”!!!!

    However, all was not lost because i realised that 100% of the VO talents, be it pro or part timers in Malaysia, lacked 1 thing…..a broadcast quality home studio to record, edit and file it for clients so as to save studio time and quick turnaround and not to mention money, which was impossible previously.

    As such, with my vast radio & post production experience, i decided to start off with one and the rest of it is history!!!

    As for my thoughts on the pay structure and the workload involved….well…it’s all about costing, quality of audio and turnaround time. The ones who want good quality work..money is of no concern and vice-versa.

    Work load?…..if you’re narrating in a foreign language, then it can be challenging as one needs to mark it, name it & file it individually…..especially if there’s 100’s of individual files. My record would be 6000 individual files for an online dictionary which took me 18 days to finish despite the ” below market pay”

    So!..why do I do it?….because e-Learning, to me, is the only consistent job there is and also most pro VO talents avoid it. BTW, I currently serve clients from 17 different countries.