Influence of voice in multimedia: Effect of voice gender on recall and transfer
Charles A. Foat, Capella University, United States
Capella University . Awarded
The cognitive theory of multimedia learning offers specific guidance to instructional designers and educators on how to best combine words and images to increase meaningful learning. The voice principle is one of 12 theoretically grounded, empirically validated ideas that were recently added to the updated Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning. The voice principle has the least amount of research and, as a result, needs additional research to better understand it and its associated boundary conditions. Currently it is believed that certain attributes of the speaker's voice can convey a social connection with the learner. The social connection is thought to potentially increase meaningful learning outcomes. This idea has been tested in experimental studies, and it has been shown that meaningful learning increases when a real person, instead of a computer-generated voice, narrates a lesson. A separate experiment, comparing a nonaccented human voice to another with a heavy foreign accent, found a significant effect in favor of the nonaccented voice. The theoretical framework has led to several other characteristics of voice that may prime this social connection and lead to deeper learning. Narrator voice gender has been identified as one potential characteristic. This study used a quantitative experimental design that replicated the design of the original study, which consisted of 120 participants recruited from a community college setting. The participants participated in watching a short multimedia lesson that provided the evidence for the voice principle. Following the lesson, they completed a recall and transfer test. Results demonstrated that voice gender of the narrator does not significantly affect recall or transfer of the participants. The results reflect that narrator voice gender may not be an important consideration when designing multimedia lessons for increased learning outcomes.
Foat, C.A. Influence of voice in multimedia: Effect of voice gender on recall and transfer. Ph.D. thesis, Capella University.
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