As Instructional Designers and eLearning developers, we like to set the mood for our courses through the use of various types of elements. We use graphics instead of text to spark our learners’ interest, we incorporate interactivity to keep them engaged, and we add video and audio to bring life to our courses. One facet of design that is often overlooked or willfully ignored is that of adding the spoken word to our eLearning design. Often, due to expense or logistical difficulties, we forego using voice to get our point across. Captivate has a feature, though, that makes adding the spoken word much easier: Text-to-Speech.
Let’s look at how to utilize Text-to-Speech in Captivate
As an example, let’s say we want to tell the old familiar story of Little Red Riding Hood. We create our slide with the elements we want on it:
Here, I’ve placed an image on the slide and created a button that will start the audio when clicked.
Before configuring the button though, you need to create your text-to-speech object. To do that, select Audio>Speech Management from the Menu bar.
A dialog box appears with a drop-down menu containing all the built-in voice profiles available to you. I would recommend testing each of the voices to find the one best suited for your project. It is quite easy to change your mind if you decide later you want to use a different voice.
Make sure the slide where you want the audio to play is selected, then select the voice, then click the plus (+) sign.
In the line that is labeled Enter TTA text, type or paste the text you want to have read, then click Generate Audio to create your audio file and associate it with the slide.
Once the audio file is generated and placed on the slide, it can now be acted upon just like most other objects in Captivate.
In this case, I wanted to start the audio when a button was clicked.
The properties panel looks like this:
After selecting Play Audio from the On Success drop-down menu, click the yellow folder icon to select the appropriate audio track from the library.
If you’re not sure which audio file to select from the library, find the name of the object on the timeline for that slide (generally the bottom-most object).
That’s really about it. Once the text-to-speech audio file is created it acts very similarly to other audio files you might have worked with in the past.
One of the greatest benefits to using text-to-speech rather than voice talent is that if you need to make changes to the script, you just change them right in the Speech Manager interface and then generate a new audio file. Don’t forget to change the target for the button to the new file, though. It’s that simple.
Save yourself the headache and expense of finding voice talent (or a quiet room in which to record yourself) and start using the text-to-speech features available in Captivate 9!