Introducing Interactive Narration
Imagine having your own personal teacher or private tutor in an e-learning course. A personal narrator that will explain the material at a pace that is comfortable for you, skip material you already know and explain difficult parts as many times as you need.
Good news: Developers can add the functionality of a personal teacher and private tutor to their e-learning courses today. We call it interactive narration or “i-Narration”. i-Narration empowers the individual learner by giving them complete control over the pace of the narration and the order of topics - turning passive e-learning into active e-learning with better understanding and retention.
Course developers can implement i-Narration with Articulate Storyline and Speech-Over using the developer resources below.
The Problem – The Narration Controls the Pace
Cathy Moore explains the problem that many e-learners have with narration: The pace of the narration controls the pace of the material. When you’re learning from narrated material, you can’t easily skim stuff you already know, or slow down and concentrate on the challenging parts, because the voice continues relentlessly at a pace that someone else established.
The Solution - Give Control to the Learner with Interactive Narration
With interactive narration, course designers break up or segment the slide narration into sections, parts, steps, or logical units where each narration section is associated with a visual topic heading, text bullet or graphic on the slide.
An audio control-bar lets learners access the narration either sequentially or interactively. The play button plays all narration sections on the slide in order, sequentially, as a learner might prefer when learning the material the first time.
The skip and restart/rewind buttons let the learner access the material interactively, skip sections of the narration and concentrate on others, go backwards and forwards and repeat sections, as a learner might prefer when reviewing the material.
In addition learners can vary the rate of speaking of the narration to match their rate of learning.
How Much Text to Display
Another challenge with narration in e-learning is whether to display the text on the screen at the same time. Says Cathy Moore: With the text on the screen, learners will read more quickly to themselves than your narrator can read to them, which can adversely affect the learning.
With the interactive narration model, the text is displayed as subtitles, synchronized with the narration so the learner can’t read ahead but can still read the text if needed. The subtitles are produced automatically by Speech-Over. The entire narration text is displayed in the notes section for those who prefer it.
Developer Resources for Interactive Narration
We've provided resources that help course developers introduce interactive narration into their e-learning.
Resource 1. Speech-Over to Storyline Interface
Developers use Speech-Over in PowerPoint to produce narration segments that are associated with topic headings, text bullets or graphics on the slide, and that play in their sequence. The narration segments, together with the subtitles and the narration text notes for the slide, are then imported to Storyline from PowerPoint.
Resource 2. Storyline Template for Interactive Narration
We've developed a Storyline template for i-Narration which includes the audio control bar and layers and triggers for the narration effects. After the Speech-Over narration is imported to the Storyline template, developers just need to copy the narration and subtitle effects to the appropriate layers and the i-Narration will work.
Download a set of interactive narration Storyline templates at no cost for various types and formats of e-learning and training.
Resource 3. Sample i-Narration Video
View a video presentation that was developed in Storyline with the interactive narration template and experience the interactive e-learning. (This is the same presentation that appears in the instructional video below.)
Click to view video:
Resource 4. An Instructional Video
The video below discusses the challenges of narration in e-learning, teaches the basics of interactive narration and explains how to develop interaction narration in a Storyline presentation using:
- Speech-Over to generate the narration, subtitles and lecture notes
- Storyline to develop the presentation based on our template for interactive narration, which includes the seek-bar.
Choice of Voices for Interactive Narration
With Speech-Over you can use a variety of voices for the narration
- Professional text-to-speech voices provided with Speech-Over
- Recordings of voice talents or your own voice
- Recording of actual courses that were presented by an instructor. Segment the original recording sound file into individual sound files for each topic and add the script text.