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Adult Learner

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Adult Learner > Strategies > Text-to-speech

Text-to-speech

Overview

Text-to-speech technology reads the words on a screen aloud. This can support learners with vision difficulties or provide a bimodal experience when combined with reading text. Adult learners may be faced with vision decline, which can impact Attention, change color perception and sensitivity, and create contrast sensitivity. Text-to-speech can mitigate the negative effects of these declines while also supporting learners with reading challenges such as dyslexia. The assistive technology can also improve Foundational Reading Skills such as decoding, vocabulary, and reading rate.

Use It In Your Learning Environment

Products can add features that support text-to-speech to enable all learners to hear the text read aloud. Many products are bimodal, highlighting text as it is read aloud, enabling learners to see the text and hear it at the same time. That combination can improve word recognition, Attention, and aid Short-term Memory. It can also support Composition as learners proofread. It is important to chunk the highlighted text aligned with natural phrasing to ensure learners do not lose focus, which could negatively impact comprehension. Text-to-speech assistive technology supports English language learners by providing a model of the target language and increased exposure to vocabulary in context.

As the technology continues to improve, voices are becoming more natural and provide options for language output. It is important to note that text-to-speech software usually does not differentiate between different interpretations of the same sentence by emphasizing specific words to illustrate meaning as in human speech. Another factor to consider with text-to-speech software is how voice quality impacts preference and Attention. Visually challenged adult learners tend to prefer lower-pitched, mature-sounding voices with neutral emotional expression citing lower levels of listening fatigue and higher intelligibility.

Factors Supported by this Strategy