Examining the Effects of Presenter Coach on Students’ Oral Presentation Verbal Delivery
2023-09-13, 09:20– (Asia/Tokyo), Terrsa Hall A

Oral Presentation is a core communication skills competence in Singapore polytechnics. Proficiency in delivery skills, in pitch, volume, and pace requires personalised feedback. Feedback closes the loop between students’ actual and desired performance (De Grez et al., 2012; Ko, 2019). However, students may not get enough personalised feedback in their practice sessions (Van Ginkel, Gulikers, Biemans, & Mulder, 2015).

Recently, AI has taken centre stage to enhance presentation effectiveness. Microsoft’s Presenter Coach (2019), with an improved version, Speaker Coach (2022), is a mechanism for oral presentation feedback. Students click “Rehearse with Coach” and get on-screen guidance on pace, volume, pitch, word stress and filler words, for better delivery (Microsoft, 2019). Personalised feedback is through a detailed metrics-based actionable insights report, also highlighting strengths. Research suggests that positive feedback directed at task performance enhances students’ self-efficacy (Hattie & Timberly, 2007).

A pilot study was conducted in 2020, with 125 part-time students, to measure the effect size of Presenter Coach on students’ oral presentation delivery. A quasi-experimental design was used in two formative assessment trial presentations, with comparison. For Trial 1, students presented without exposure to Presenter Coach. Tutors rated students’ delivery using standardised rubric. After Trial 1, students were exposed to Presenter Coach via a demonstration and practised asynchronously with Presenter Coach. In Trial 2, tutors assessed students’ presentation delivery, using identical rubric. In 2021, the study was replicated with 175 part-time students. Students completed a perception survey on the usefulness of practice with Presenter Coach. In 2022, 392 full-time students completed the same survey for the subject Effective Communication.

The results show that AI positively impacts delivery practice. The effect size for the pilot test was huge (d= 2.732), and in 2021, it was large (d= 1.206). Students in 2020 (97.3%) and 2021 (94.9%) found Presenter Coach useful. The top three areas of benefit were pace, filler reduction and intonation in 2020 and pace, pitch, and volume in 2021. 87.2% of the full-time students benefitted from Speaker Coach practice. Pace, filler reduction, and pitch were the top three benefits. The study will interest those keen on exploring oral presentation feedback, with AI data-driven insights for effective delivery.

According to a US study, public speaking phobia is greater than the fear of death. Before we die many deaths teaching oral presentation, AI can rescue us. This paper explores how just-in-time, focused feedback helps students improve their verbal delivery. Presenter Coach (renamed as Speaker Coach in 2021) was used in a quasi-experimental study with two cohorts, to measure its effect size on students’ verbal delivery and determine the benefits of practising with Speaker Coach. This paper will share the results of the study, to help our students stand on the presentation podium with confidence!


AI, oral presentation, vocal skills, presentation delivery, Speaker Coach

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Asha Kumaran is a Senior Academic Mentor with the School of Humanities & Social Sciences. She is a pedagogy leader, responsible for mentoring staff, operationalising research projects and implementing programmes that help lecturers adopt new learning and teaching approaches. Asha has a keen interest in oral presentation and communication skills development, having written several microlearning courses (MLC) to develop presentation and communication skills in adult learners, and students. A proficient communicator, author and materials developer, she has also been involved in adult training for corporations. In her previous position as Editorial Manager at Oxford University Press (Singapore), she worked with several organisations to develop customised packages. A formally trained teacher, she worked at the Ministry of Education (Singapore) to develop curriculum packages for schools. She has extensive experience conducting workshops for various levels of staff both within Singapore and in the region.