26 May TCP’s Evidence-Based Practice: Audio
Whenever you think about using audio in an online course, think about your favorite movie. If there was someone speaking every minute — reading the signs, describing the background, constant talking, there’d probably be a tipping point when you could no longer pay attention or remain engaged in the story. The same thing happens with learning. (For more information, see Dr. Richard Mayer’s “Nine Ways to Reduce Cognitive Load“).
On the other hand, have you ever watched a movie with no speaking voice — just music. A few years ago, a friend gave me a Christmas present — a movie about this wonderful abbey where no one speaks (vow of silence!). OMG, after 15 minutes I turned it off and never watched it again. While there was some movement of people, walking — no talking and I was so-o-o bored. I lost interest. So I didn’t learn what I should have my friend did about this wonderful place.
So our answer about use of audio — as part of our evidence-based practice we always ask ourselves– will audio increase, reduce or support the cognitive load? Is it placed properly within the course? Does it conflict with what is happening on the screen? Just as good dialogue creates a good movie experience — good dialogue, correctly positioned narration can improve the learning outcomes.