Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Educational Technology


Educational Technology

Major Advisor

Ross Perkins, Ph.D.


Kerry Lynn Rice, Ed.D.


Lee Ann Tysseling, Ph.D.


This developmental research study explores the effects of audio-visual feedback and user input mechanisms on user behaviors and satisfaction, through development of a first-grade reading program for the computer. Specific design elements investigated include human vs. synthesized audio feedback, segmented vs. whole-word pronunciation, format of supporting graphic (image vs. animation), use of automatic speech recognition (ASR) to encourage or enforce oral reading of an e-book, and effect of tutorial with mouse-click word identification or ASR-controlled word synthesis games. The study examines a variety of quantitative and qualitative measures including use logs, recorded screen-capture videos of use sessions, one-on-one interviews, and satisfaction surveys. The results of testing for each design element are analyzed and most appropriate design choice is implemented for subsequent design phases in an iterative manner. Design guidelines are given confirm the existing literature's findings of user preference for human speech over computer-synthesized speech (TTS) and that supporting graphics can increase user satisfaction of e-books, but also have the potential for distraction and reduction of active reading tasks. ASR was found to be ineffective as an input mechanism due to user error and low success rate in this study, but was found to be better-suited as a tool for smaller discrete tasks such as word synthesis practice and games, and may be effective for practice or support when offered as an optional tool to be used voluntarily by users. (Keywords: literacy, reading, e-books, CAI, educational technology, elementary education, animation, synthesized speech, TTS, ASR, developmental research)