Audio feedback and sound is important to let us know if something has worked.
Here are some everyday examples of receiving audio feedback:
Camera shutter sound: A camera clicks once a photo is taken. With modern devices you can often turn off this shutter sound. Using an unfamiliar camera with the shutter sound is off can make it confusing to tell if the photo was taken or not. The instant audio feedback of the click is not available.
Games: a wrong response usually has a wrong sound and a correct response a correct sound. From the audio feedback the player quickly learns to either change tactic or keep doing what is working.
Modern electrical appliances: for example, my fridge door beeps when it’s left open, my washing machine has an error sound if something is wrong with it.
Vehicles: many cars and trucks have reverse beeping to let you know (and others) which direction your vehicle is going to move in. Some cars even have reverse sensors where the beeps get closer and closer together the nearer you get to an object. Interestingly with the advent of electrical cars, engine sounds had to be added to them to prevent pedestrians from walking out in front of these quiet cars! And then of course there’s the car horn which you can use to give other drivers immediate feedback (peep peep = thank you, beeeeeeeeep, beeeeeeeeeeep = #%*&#!!).
So why is audio feedback useful? One reason is that is stops the learner/user having to expend unnecessary cognitive energy and time in assessing if they have got an answer correct or not, as they get immediate feedback (can hear) if their answer was the correct one.
Have a look at these elearning activities. One has audio feedback and one does not. What difference does it make?
What are your thoughts on having audio feedback in elearning?