Experts and Elearning and Audio Narration

Another interesting assertion that Ruth Clark makes is that text may be better than audio narration for elearning directed at relative experts. Her argument is that experts can credibly scan and skip explanations they don’t need.

Interesting, and not necessarily where I would have expected her to go due to split attention effects.

Then again, it’s possible split attention is ameliorated by the expertise reversal effect. (Researching now…more to come on the expertise reversal effect.)

Clark’s reasoning makes sense to me. I wonder if even experts are prone to overestimating their own knowledge, like most learners do. If so, maybe the effect would be worse with text because it is so easy to scan ahead and judge that they don’t need what’s coming up? Hard to tell.

Plus, anything that saves an expert time is desirable, and it’s certainly true that people can read faster than typical narration.

The utility of all of this is somewhat hampered by the lack of a precise taxonomy for expertise to even give us a common language to talk about and compare levels of expertise.

Speaking of efficiency in teaching experts, I ran across this the other day: Spritz. Generally, speed reading kills comprehension, but this looks different because you are not skipping words. Then again, it wouldn’t let experts skim and skip around, so maybe it wouldn’t be efficient for experts.


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