Audio Journeys – the new frontier of learning

Greek dramatists were aware that an audience gets more implicated in the action if they have to do some of the work. The power of imagination can do far more than any stage violence. This rationale has been confirmed by a recent study at University College of London that shows audio can cause a larger jump in heart rate and other biometric measures of emotion.

There is a reason songs move us to tears, fill us with hope, and why the laughter of a baby will always warm a soul.

As we’ve moved into a new state of play, we’ve been experimenting with new technologies and ways to expand on the skills of experiential learning by using devices more often found in the arts.

One of the ways we’ve discovered this is through creating engaging audio journeys.


An audio journey is a story or narrative told through characters, ambiance and sound effects. It can transform participants to other lands, worlds, or situations from their own lounge room, and most importantly, it can engage the imagination to create deep learning.


Here are three things we’ve discovered are essential to creating an impactful audio journey.


1. It’s all in the story -- Like many communications - a good story is key. The same can be said for audio. If you can guide your participant on a journey it will transport them, and according to the New York Academy of Science, create the same emotional connection as a movie or TV show by creating oxytocin in the body.


2. Characters are key -- If you want to incite oxytocin making, make sure there are characters your listeners can connect with.. Even if you are making audio journeys for critical conversations… we must feel for the characters in order to commit to the story


3. Add realistic ambiance -- Engineering background noises and sound effects is a really useful tool to engage a listener and help them connect to the story. But do it cautiously. If a sound effect is too loud, or out of place.. Our ears are incredibly sensitive and will focus on the ‘odd’ sound, rather than the story.



An impactful audio journey can take all sorts of learning programs to the next level. We have recently developed audio journeys to:


1. Create context to strict procedural training. On the surface, this training was DRY, BORING and at risk of people DISENGAGING. The audio journey provided participants a super-powerful WHY this was mission-critical training as it told the story of events that led to the development of the new framework.



2. Encourage conversation and debate at a large event The after-lunch spot is always a killer! We were asked to design a different way to compel participants to share their experiences at a large online event. Rather than death by PowerPoint, the audio journey quickly elicited memories and opinions to share to the group.


3. Provide a profound induction experience Words don’t always need pictures. An audio journey is a great way of organisational storytelling without the cost of filming. This project allowed new employees to create emotional connections and develop an understanding of the profound changes that had occurred over its history.


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