Use of audio narration in asynchronous courses

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As a developer of asynchronous web-based courses at a leading health care provider, I develop courses both with, and without, audio narration. My work group’s rationale behind whether to include narration in a course varies. For example, we may use audio narration when we think that a course is especially important, complex, lengthy, or potentially boring based on the subject matter. These are generalizations, of course. But it makes me wonder: when should a course developer use audio narration?

What do you think?

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2 thoughts on “Use of audio narration in asynchronous courses

    Pam said:
    June 24, 2012 at 3:27 am

    Such a great question Allan. I often wonder why a course has audio when it can be costly to create. It would also be more difficult to maintain a course with audio. With that, as a learner, I generally prefer the audio and find it more engaging. I think your rationale for when to use audio is also good….when content is boring, better to have a voice. One may fall asleep trying to read on the screen!

    elearnable1 responded:
    June 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Good point, Pam! I also generally prefer courses with audio narration, but I know some people who don’t. I recently completed a survey of 29 people in my workplace, and 25 of them ‘strongly favored’ or ‘somewhat favored’ the use of audio narration as well. I also received a lot of open-ended comments (which were optional) that suggested why. Learners said things like: it helps to hold my attention, makes the course more interesting and engaging, and makes it seem like a ‘live’ training. The responses were really interesting and seemed to confirm the use of audio narration, at least from a learner preferences point of view.

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