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2. Is training school-age students different from training adults?


Yes. Current training protocols and materials developed for voice recognition are designed to move adults toward independence with the system at a relatively fast clip and provide few accommodations for individual differences. In my experience, younger students can rapidly become overwhelmed during the training process unless modifications are made. In fact, training goals and methods need to be reconceptualized for students, and a slower, more incremental approach is often more successful with this population.

When initiating voice recognition training with students, trainers should consider building knowledge and mastery of three distinct, but interrelated aspects of the task.

First, students must learn how to dictate in a word-by-word manner and at the same time maintain some vocal consistency. To accomplish this, students could dictate in a "free-writing mode" or even practice this skill while reading from a text.

Second, students must learn how to master the voice recognition program itself. This involves learning a relatively complex set of commands and editing procedures that must be applied in conjunction with the word processing program. Again, the composition tasks should be relatively simple while the student is learning to operate the system.

Third, as students gain mastery in using the system, they can begin the task of becoming better writers. Students who have struggled with writing do not automatically become accomplished writers with voice recognition. Students will continue to need help with such skills as idea generation, organization, grammar, and vocabulary.

Click here to view an illustration that will help you visualize the various aspects of training.

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