How to sync OST and narration, any guidelines?

Sep 04, 2015

Hi community members!

 I am a bit confused about how to match on screen text (OST) with the narration in an eLearning course. Should OST match the narration word to word OR should it just be a summary of what is being narrated? I have seen courses where OST and narration were totally different and I couldn’t follow either! Also when I saw entire narration piece as an OST, I didn’t find any value add since anyways I am listening to it. Any guidelines or best practices for what should go into an OST? I would appreciate your perspectives and inputs.

3 Replies
Rachel Barnum

This may help:

"According to recommendations in books like Elearning and the Science of Instruction, we shouldn’t narrate text that’s displayed on the screen. The redundancy interferes with learners’ ability to digest what they’re being fed."

There are some other recommended practices in her article as well.

Adele Sommers

As Rachel pointed out, Dr. Richard E. Mayer's redundancy principle applies in these cases, but mainly to the narration of text that appears word for word on the screen. This jams both the visual and verbal channels and causes learners to stop focusing on one mode to pay attention to the other.

A better alternative when using narration, graphics, and text together is to use a full-sentence caption or title for most slides to give the material needed context. When a combination of text and graphics is used to present the information and is also narrated, an accurate textual summary of the key points synced to the audio helps learners anchor the main ideas. This is especially helpful for learners who depend on visuals as much as audio for gaining clarity. This method comports reasonably well with Dr. Mayer's multimedia and contiguity principles, which focus on using the right combinations and placement of text and graphics to help learners build more robust schemas.

Some great sources of information include: 

E-Learning and the Science of Instruction, by Dr. Richard E. Mayer and Dr. Ruth Clark (summarizes research by Dr. Mayer and associates related to multimedia instruction)

Multimedia Learning, by Dr. Richard E. Mayer (more of Dr. Mayer’s multimedia research)

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