VoiceThread fills the social presence gap found in online learning interactions

VoiceThread offers a natural online interaction that lends itself to students presenting & defending their work before experts and peers.

— Educause Learning Initiative

One of the things I felt was missing from our curriculum was the real seminar like we had back in college where you read some heavy material and then sit around the table and dig into it together as a class. ... Because the seminar-style course [I was] desigining would be delivered completely online with no face-to-face component, [I] needed a way to recreate the seminar table virtually...

— Adena Schutzberg, Penn State University

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Those in multi-sensory environments always do better than those in unisensory environments. They have more recall with better resolution that lasts longer, evident even 20 years later.

— John Medina, author Brain Rules


Over the last decade a great deal of research has been conducted on the impact of multi-sensory interaction on learning in general, and VoiceThread in particular. Below are abstracts and links to some of this research, and a more complete listing can be found here.

in Dr Mairead Seery, Department of Social Science & Design,
Faculty of Science & Health, Athlone Institute of Technology


This case study presents how VoiceThread, an online application used to create multimedia presentations and conversations, was used to enable first year students to give and receive feedback. In the process, the presentation skills of the student are enhanced.

Retrieved from: http://y1feedback.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/AIT-3-Mairead-Seery-2.pdf

in Journal of Professional Nursing January–February, 2017, Volume 33, Issue 1, Pages 20–26. Ola H. Fox, DNS, CNL, Spring Hill College.


The movement to advance the clinical nurse leader (CNL) as an innovative new role for meeting higher health care quality standards continues with CNL programs offered on-line at colleges and universities nationwide. Collaborative learning activities offer the opportunity for CNL students to gain experience in working together in small groups to negotiate and solve care process problems. The challenge for nurse educators is to provide collaborative learning activities in an asynchronous learning environment that can be considered isolating by default. This article reports on the experiences of 17 CNL students who used VoiceThread, a cloud-based tool that allowed them to communicate asynchronously with one another through voice comments for collaboration and sharing knowledge. Participants identified benefits and drawbacks to using VoiceThread for collaboration as compared to text-based discussion boards. Students reported that the ability to hear the voice of their peers and the instructor helped them feel like they were in a classroom communicating with “real” instructor and peers. Students indicated a preference for on-line classes that used VoiceThread discussions to on-line classes that used only text-based discussion boards.

Retrieved from: http://www.professionalnursing.org/article/S8755-7223(16)30124-7/fulltext

in Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, Vol. 10, No. 1, March 2014, Aimee deNoyelles, Janet Mannheimer Zydney, Baiyun Chen.


Asynchronous discussions are often utilized in online courses to provide a venue for students to openly communicate and build shared understanding, and for instructors to skillfully facilitate the process. While discussions can be invaluable toward creating and sustaining an online community of inquiry (CoI), they are not effective if not optimally designed. It is the authors’ position that it is helpful to identify research-proven online discussion strategies and conceptualize them into the CoI framework, which has been extensively studied and validated. This framework posits that there are three interrelated presences – social, cognitive, and teaching – that must be perceived by members in order to facilitate a successful educational experience. Classifying strategies within this framework may guide instructors to purposefully select and employ methods that encourage productive, efficient, and meaningful discussions. Strategies, such as providing prompt but modest feedback, peer facilitation, protocol discussion prompts, and providing audio feedback, were found to support multiple presences in a review of the literature. Based on these findings, it is argued that educators need to employ discussion strategies that integrate all three presences in order to support an effective online CoI.

Retrieved from: http://jolt.merlot.org/vol10no1/denoyelles_0314.pdf

in THE JOURNAL OF TEACHER ACTION RESEARCH, Volume 3, Issue 1, 2016, Beatriz G. Glick
Pennsylvania State University-Hazelton


The purpose of this action research was to assess the pedagogical value of the software program VoiceThread (VT) as compared to classroom discussions in developing and enhancing student production of the Present Subjunctive at the Intermediate level of Spanish language courses.

Retrieved from: http://www.practicalteacherresearch.com/uploads/5/6/2/4/56249715/beatriz_glick.pdf

in Research Highlights in Information Technology and Teacher Education 2010 (pp. 9-18). Chesapeake, VA. Gao, F. & Sun, Y. (2010). Supporting an online community of inquiry using VoiceThread. In C. Maddux et al.(Eds.)


Using the community of inquiry framework proposed by Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2000), this paper examines how to use a Web 2.0 tool – VoiceThread to support online learning communities for professional development in teacher education. In this paper, we discuss the unique features and affordances of VoiceThread, and propose possible learning activities to enhance social, cognitive and teaching presence in online learning communities.

Retrieved from: https://www.scribd.com/document/29576716/Supporting-an-online-community-of-inquiry-using-VoiceThread

in Journal of teaching and Learning with Technology, Vol 5, No 1 (2016), E. Gail Kirby and Nancy Hulan


This paper investigates student responses to two tools used to create learning environments that encourage the sharing of ideas and discussion in online asynchronous university courses.

Retrieved from: http://jotlt.indiana.edu/article/view/19411/28302

in Indiana Reading Journal Volume 44 Issue 1, pages 36-45


This article explores VoiceThread as an online tool for supporting literacy and Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) within the top three levels of the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy.  VoiceThread is a collaborative Web 2.0 tool allowing users to create, share, and comment on images, documents, and videos.  Readers are first provided with an overview of VoiceThread followed by curriculum opportunities for using VoiceThread to analyze, evaluate, and create.

Retrieved from: http://www.joomag.com/magazine/indiana-reading-journal-volume-44-issue-1/0804259001441217311/p36?

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