Investigation of Student Understanding and Learning in Multimedia Presentations Using Human and Synthesized Voices Based on the ‘Voice Principle’

By Mohammad Issack Santally and Smita Goorah.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Studies investigating learning gains in students exposed to synthetic voice audio-narration versus natural voice audio-narration have yielded mixed results. This study was designed to further explore learning gains in an educational setting using synthetic voice audio-narration. The aims of the study were to quantitatively assess learning gains in students exposed to an educational resource narrated in a synthetic voice using Text-to-Speech, as compared to a natural voice narrated one and to qualitatively compare the two learning resources by using the following criteria: helpfulness, quality, warmth and familiarity and preference of audio-narration. This study consisted of 3 experiments. Experiments 1 and 2 were designed to compare a synthetic voice-narrated learning resource against a natural voice-narrated learning resource. Experiment 3 was designed to investigate learning gains and qualitative factors in a face-to-face narrated presentation. There was no significant difference in learning gains in students using a learning resource with synthetic voice audio-narration as compared to a natural voice audio-narration. Regarding the quality of audio-narration, results suggested that natural voice narration and face-to-face narration were perceived to be of higher quality than synthetic voice narration. Although all learning resources were perceived as being helpful, students preferred face-to-face narration with a PowerPoint presentation by the lecturer as their first choice followed by the narrated Power Points, whilst PowerPoint presentation only was the third choice. This study shows that synthetic voice audio-narrated resources could be a useful tool in educational settings.

Keywords: e-Learning, Educational Technology

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 11, pp.45-66. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 980.148KB).

Dr. Mohammad Issack Santally

Lecturer, VCILT, University of Mauritius, Reduit, Mauritius

Mr. Santally is a senior lecturer and officer in charge of the VCILT of the University of Mauritius. His area is educational technology. He has a number of publications in the field and he contributed to the VCILT to receive the COL award of excellence.

Smita Goorah

Senior Lecturer, University of Mauritius, Mauritius


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