Prompt: What is different about developing instruction with audio? Is it more efficient? Do you think about how you instruct someone differently? Are there limitations? Benefits? If so, what are they?
For this phase of the project, I had to recreate my instructional set using only audio instructions. To be honest, I must admit that I dreaded this assignment. I do not like hearing myself speak. I think I sound funny and so I approached this topic with a negative mindset. Once I started recording though it went much smoother and was easier than I expected. Putting the audio instruction set together was surprisingly simple and straightforward with only minor technical updates needed. After listening to my recordings, I am pleased with how I sounded and how the instructions turned out.
Before beginning recording, I had to think about my tone, pitch, vocal indicators, navigational cues, and pacing (Koumi, 2003). I wanted to make sure that I did not speak too fast for listeners to understand but that I also did not speak too slowly so that they lost attention. I also had to ensure that when I did begin recording that my area was free of distractions and noise. I followed Koumi’s (2003) advice, recorded first, and then adapted my script from my recordings. I also tried to make my recordings as conversational and personal as possible, using “you” instead of the third-person.
Recording with audio benefits a wide range of learners as they can pause, rewind, slow down, or speed up the recording at their leisure (Barron, 2004). This is in line with Koumi‘s (2003) recommendations to allow the learner control of the instructional process by providing audio controls. This way the learner sets the pace for the instructions. In addition, Barron (2004) found that auditory information is processed differently than visual information and that when comparing the two side-by-side, learners remember auditory information longer than visual information.
With digital recordings, learners also have the added benefit of downloading the recording to listen to them using a mobile device or in a vehicle. With digital recordings, the learning environment becomes anywhere the user is, which make audio instruction a very powerful educational tool. It is important to keep in mind that when bringing audio instruction into the classroom that hearing impaired individuals will need either a translator or the recording will need to provide closed captions to include them in the instructional process.
Limitations of audio instruction are that it can overwhelm the learner, especially if abstract or difficult concepts are explained solely through audio (Barron, 2004). With abstract or technical concepts, research has shown that pairing audio with a corresponding visual increases learning and helps to explain the concept (Barron, 2004). In addition, when using only audio recordings, learners miss out on facial expressions and bodily gestures, which are an important part of the communication process, and interpersonal communication can be an important component of learning.
Overall, I find that the benefits of audio instruction outweigh the negatives. Audio is a popular form of learning that is familiar to people of all ages. People listen to the radio, use podcasts, listen via the phone, or attend webinars to learn on a regular basis. Incorporating audio instructions into the classroom is a sound decision.
Barron, A. E. (2004). Auditory instruction. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (2nd ed.) (pp. 949–978). Mahwah, N. J.: Erlbaum.
Koumi, J. (2003). Synergy between audio commentary and visuals in multimedia packages. Journal of Educational Media, 28, 19-34. doi:10.1080/1358165032000156419