Tom Kuhlmann has posted a thought-provoking demo that shows four ways to approach narrating a course.
The first three slides use some sort of narrated text. The final slide shows the best approach for that content, which is narration with visuals and no text.
My concern is that many people assume that narration is best for all content. However, research suggests that narration should be used only in certain situations.
I’ve included a Flash showing what I mean. It’s a big one, thanks to the audio, so out of pity for email subscribers I’ve linked it instead of embedding it. Click the image to launch the Flash.
Visuals + audio = persuasion
I think the Flash shows how a strong visual with narration can emphasize an important point (I’m thinking of the marionette in particular).
Text + silence = learner control
But most of our courses include information, not just persuasion. And that information is best presented in a way that gives the learner control. That includes a menu (notably lacking in my Flash) and text that the learner can read quickly, slowly, or not at all.
Narration narrows cultural appeal
Also, narration puts a cultural stamp on your materials. A Flash that could be global gets a blatant “Made in America” label when I narrate it.