1st, 2nd, or 3rd person? Which style of writing better “connects” with the learner?

I’ve worked on a lot of courses and this question comes up quite often. Some organizations want to be formal and think that a conversational tone is unprofessional. My thought has always been that self-directed learning is a “personal” activity. It’s just between the computer and the learner. So to me it would make since to speaking conversationally and directly to the learner.

In a recent Learning Solutions article Ruth Clark touches on this topic:

“Based on the work of Reeves and Nass, Mayer and others have established that learning programs that engage the learner directly by using first and second person language yield better learning than the same programs that use more formal language.”

Another interesting finding was that conversational audio had more of an effect than text.

“Learning was better when the agent’s words were presented in audio rather than in text and in a conversational style rather than in a formal style.”

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