Content Delivery - Narrated Presentations

Overview | Instructional Use | Tips | Shortcomings | Technology required | Resources

Narrated presentations provide an online alternative to face-to-face presentations that make use of slideshow programs such as PowerPoint or Keynote. As its name indicates, in narrated presentations an audio file is embedded and synchronized within the presentation thus allowing students to open any slide and immediately listen to the audio associated with it.

Depending on the software used to create the presentation, this can include a variety of multimedia elements such as:

  • Navigation menu
  • Graphics, charts and images
  • Movies (either embedded or linked externally)
  • Ability to rewind and fast forward the audio within a specific slide
  • Narrator's video (aka "talking head")
  • Interactive activities such as mutiple choice questions
Faculty members and instructors at Indiana University can download Adobe Presenter and Adobe Captivate from for free to create interactive narrated presentations.


Narrated recording

Presentation SampleTime Flexibility. Students can access the instructional content at any time.

Self Paced. Students have full control of the speed in which they assimilate the content. They can re-play a particular slide as many times as needed and they can skip or fast-forward materialt that they have already mastered.

Rich media. Contrary to plain text or podcast audio files, narrated presentations allows for the combination of mutiple media which have the potential to facilitate learning in those areas in which students require visual elements accompanying the instructor's voice. The combination of multimedia elements also has the potential to address multiple learning styles - aural, visual, and read.

Instructor's social presence. The instructor's social presence can be promoted by providing students the opportunity to listen to your voice as well as to see your face in a few of the slides in the presentation.

  • Narrated presentations have the potential to replace synchronous lectures; however, to increase its effectiveness, presentations should be the outcome of a detailed plan process.

  • Presentations are most appropriate for topics in which visual components are essential for facilitating students' understanding of the content. If no visuals are needed, other alternatives might be more viable such as an audio file.

  • To promote students' engagement, it is recommended to:
    • use text sparingly in the slides; however, provide the alternative to see/access the narration script either as subtitles or as an external file.
    • make the presentation visually appealing; however, don't overuse graphics that might hinder or distract students' attention.
    • balance the amount of content provided per slide.
    • keep presentations short, addressing just one main topic or learning objective per presentation.


Development Time. Planning and developing a quality narrated presentation involves a considerable amount of time since it includes several steps such as: a) Writing the script, b) Selecting or creating the media components (graphics, charts, videos, etc.), c) Creating the presentation, and d) Recording your voice while narrating the slides. The trade-off is that the final product could potentially be used in several sessions or courses.

File Size. Due to the several embedded multimedia elements, including the audio narration, in the presentation, the file size tends to be quite big which might represent an issue for those students trying to download the file using a low bandwidth Internet connection.

Device Compatibility. Depending on the program used to generate the final product, in might not be compatible accross all different devices, especially portable ones. For instance, the final product of an Adobe Presenter file is a Flash movie which will not play in iPhone or iPads.



To generate narrated presentations, it is needed:

  • A computer

  • A microphone (some desktop microphones will produce noise, test your mic first)

  • A webcam (only if you want your face embedded within some slides of the presentation)

  • Slideshow programs that allow narration (PowerPoint, Adobe Presenter, Captivate, etc.)

  • There are several online websites that allow the creation of video presentations directly from the browser such as Screencast-o-matic or SlideShare

Narrated recording