Using Text-to-Speech in E-Learning

In this week’s e-learning challenge #223David asked course designers to share examples with synthetic voices in e-learning design. I’ve used text-to-speech voices to add placeholder audio in my courses. But I didn’t have any projects I could share for the challenge.

Articulate recently added their own text-to-speech voices to Storyline 360. So I used this week’s challenge to get meet Articulate’s synthetic character voices in Storyline 360.

Let me show you what I designed.

Interactive Soundboard for Storyline 360

The text-to-speech voices in Storyline 360 are excellent. It’s remarkable how far technology has come in a few short years.

To help e-learning designers find the best character voice for their projects, I built an interactive soundboard featuring Articulate’s text-to-speech characters.

Storyline 360: Text-to-Speech Soundboard

View the example | Download the Storyline source file

How I Built the Text-to-Speech Soundboard

The soundboard interaction uses a single slide and a lot of slide layers. How many? The project uses 48 slide layers.

I was about to count the slide layers when I remembered the Media Library. Since each slide layer has one text-to-speech character voice, I can count the number of audio files in the media library.

Storyline 360 Media Library

Adding Text to the Notes Panel in Storyline 360

Using the intro text on Articulate’s Converting Text to Speech page, I copied-pasted into the notes panel in Storyline 360. The notes panel is generally used for the course transcript. But it can also be used to convert to speech. Here’s what it looks like in the notes panel.

Storyline 360 Notes Panel

Converting Text to Speech

After adding the text to the notes panel, I opened Storyline’s text-to-speech window. You’ll find the feature by going to Insert > Audio > Text to Speech. From the Insert Text-to-Speech window, I clicked the Copy From Slide Notes button to pull in the text from my notes panel.

Copy from Slide Notes

The only thing left is to create a new layer for each text-to-speech character voice and repeat the text-to-speech conversion process.

You can download the audio soundboard from Articulate’s E-Learning Heroes community. As always, if you have any questions or need help with your e-learning projects, please feel free to contact me.

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