Using audio in our learning solutions is becoming more and more of a requirement whether it is on-screen narration of our screens in an online module, or the audio that we are capturing when recording video. The sound quality can make or break the experience.


There are several ways to record audio and depending on the location where the recording is taking place and the quality required, you may opt for one or more of the following devices.

USB Microphone

These are becoming more and more accessible in terms of variety and price. With COVID requiring work from home and pivoting to quality recordings, USB style microphones became very popular. Essentially they plug in to the computer via the USB port and provide good quality audio recording. Like any audio recording, be mindful of external noise like planes, traffic, air conditioners etc. as the better the microphone, the more they pick up. Sometimes traffic or office noise could be expected, so don’t get too caught up on eliminating every decibel of external noise.

Field Microphone / Digital Recorder

I have had a field microphone for many years and find it useful for portability, especially with interviews or recording audio when videoing with a phone or other type of camera. They are quite reasonably priced. I have also plugged a lapel (or lavalier) microphone into a field recorder and clipped the field recorder on to my belt out of camera view and lapel microphone on the collar of my shirt. Most of my “talk to camera” YouTube videos are done this way.

How to record outside

This article is relevant for portable recording even though it specifically mentions “outside” recording.
Essentially recording away from your desk / PC.

Smartphone Microphone

You may even find that getting a smartphone microphone meets your expectations and requirements. Several key players are in the market which means the quality should be good. I personally don’t have or use a smartphone microphone, however they may very well satisfy your requirements and budget.

Editing Audio

There are several ways to edit audio, depending on what was recorded in the first place, and how much you need to edit.
I personally like to edit all the “ums”, “ahs” out of video/audio and make the end result more succinct.

I edit my audio files in Adobe Premiere and export as MP3 files, as I’m familiar with Adobe Premiere already.

Programs like Captivate (edit audio in Captivate) and Storyline (edit audio in Storyline) will allow editing of Audio files inside the program without relying on external software.

Open source tools like Audacity are available, and even PowerPoint has a basic audio trimming function.


You may not have thought of using the podcast format in your learning solution, especially if you don’t consume podcasts yourself. Podcasts are starting to become more and more prevalent in the design and delivery of learning. Understanding how they can fit within your broader strategy can help to build a more inclusive and accessible learning solution.

How to use a podcast in your eLearning strategy

“Podcast becomes, then, a new media for asynchronous training, which allows to take advantage of different modalities and enrich materials and activities, while keeping repeatability and freedom of access typical of self-paced learning.”

What Are Narrative Podcasts? Why Use Them in eLearning?

Narrative podcasts are story-driven audio recordings. As opposed to more traditional interview-style podcasts, where a single person or group is interviewed, narrative podcasts splice together a number of interviews, recordings, and sounds to present a more complete listening experience.

You can also Podcast via Office 365/SharePoint. One of the options discussed is to create a video with a placeholder image, but here they focus on creating an actual podcast.


Text-to-speech (TTS) has improved remarkably over the last few years with many solutions popping up as Artificial Intelligence (AI) improves.

TTS is a great solution if a narrator is not available or budget doesn’t allow for a professional voice over artist.

Management of audio assets is also improved if content needs updating quickly or regularly. You could also use TTS as a placeholder for your prototypes even if you are allowing for a professional voice over artist of a human providing the narration.

Here is an example of Adobe Captivate text-to-speech using inbuilt voices from the Captivate feature.

The above Test To Speech sample was made with

Some solutions available to try for free (or simply search for “AI text to speech”).

Speak Streams allows you to generate realistic sounding audio from text. We use a mix of machine learning algorithms to bring you the best voice generation technology.

As a non registered user you can generate files from text up to 300 characters. Login to generate longer audio files, up to 1000 characters.


I just discovered this a few weeks back and looks like an interesting solution when providing audio learning solutions.

Engage your audience on a whole new level

Giides can be experienced in the web browser (or an app.)

Combine your voice with an interactive feed. Create and share in minutes.

Click the image to experience a Giide


Automatically Turn Podcasts Into Shareable Videos. Take audio only and include images and audio waveforms to bring your audio to life.

Headliner App

Something similar achieved with Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects

Click the image to visit the Headline App gallery.

Below is a great 4 minute video that gives real examples of the different qualities of audio that can be achieved with certain equipment.

Scroll to Top