Program Design: The Four Phases of Talking Book Project
Updated: Apr 29
Photo: UNICEF Ghana/Joseph Mills
What does it take to design, launch, and run a Talking Book project? Here's the short answer: planning, content creation, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. While the program design phases are fairly standard, the details are unique to Amplio's technology. Our team provides support throughout the process, from technology training and content design to quarterly conference calls to review data.
1. Planning Phase
During the planning phase, we define the overall program goals and behavior change objectives. What do you want program participants to do as a result of what they hear on Talking Books? This will help guide the message development. We also decide how the Talking Books will be deployed in the communities. Will you distribute Talking Books to groups, community agents, or directly into households? Or a combination?
Based on the program listening model, we will help you develop an implementation plan, rotation schedule, and timeline. During the planning, you will also identify the list of specific people who will receive and manage your Talking Book devices in the field. For example, this might include agricultural extension agents, community health volunteers, a VSLA group, teachers, or lead farmers.
Not least, we work with you to develop a monitoring and evaluation strategy. Taking Books collect usage data for target groups or communities. How do you want to put that data to use?
We recommend developing a strategy for taking advantage of the Talking Book's user feedback function. What do you want to learn from participants? Do you want to prompt people to record their questions and feedback in response to what they're learning? Who will translate, process, and analyze the user feedback?
Watch a short video about how to launch and run a Talking Book program.
2. Content Creation Phase
After the planning phase, it’s time to create the audio content that will go onto your Talking Books! During the content creation phase, you will develop the message topics, create the scripts, and produce the audio recordings.
Remember, the Talking Book is similar to community radio, so you'll want to consider using various formats to keep your listeners engaged and help them remember the new information that they're learning. So, you'll choose the format for each message: Is it a song, drama, or interview? Or an endorsement message from a community leader or influencer?
As a best practice, we recommend that testing message effectiveness with your target audience(s) before you deploy the content onto your Talking Books.
During the content creation phase, you will also record the Talking Book audio system prompts to help guide your listeners. Remember, the Talking Book is fully customizable. Your program may target communities that speak more than one language. So, if that's the case, you'll need to record the system prompts in each language.
What is a system prompt? These are the audio instructions that help guide the Talking Book users through the various topics, select the playlist or message, record their feedback, etc. For example: “To hear the next message, press the tree.”
In most cases, content creation is done by our partners or local experts who understand the culture and context. Our Amplio Ghana team does content production for Talking Book programs in Ghana and West Africa. In addition, we share best practices, offer consulting services, and can help support local content creation, as needed.
A Talking Book training session for community health volunteers in Kenya.
3. Deployment and Implementation Phase
During the deployment and implementation phase, the Amplio team will train you on how to use our software to manage your content and load it onto the Talking Books. We also have an online learning portal with interactive lessons and resources. You will also conduct Talking Book training and sensitization activities with communities, to generate excitement and prepare them for successfully using Talking Books.
And now you are ready to send your Talking Books into the field!
For USAID's Afya Timiza project implemented by the Centre for Behaviour Change and Communication, community health volunteers used Talking Books and visual aids.
Depending on your program model, you can facilitate listening and discussion groups, conduct community outreach and door-to-door sensitization activities, and/or rotate the Talking Books among households in target communities. Some partners have also attached Talking Books to outdoor speakers to reach even larger audiences in places such as community health centers, lorry stations, and markets.
4. Monitoring and Evaluation Phase
Because we work with hard-to-reach communities, many partners choose to update their Talking Books and collect data on a quarterly basis. This is about the right amount of time for everyone in a community or group to engage with the Talking Book content. And often, partners update their Talking Book messages to align with the time of year, such as for an agriculture extension project or an education program.
Remember, program staff can use Amplio's app for Android smartphones to update Talking Books and collect data in the field without requiring internet or electricity. When you attach your mobile phone to the Talking Book's USB port, the app will update the content and collects data at the same time. The app automatically sends the data to Amplio's dashboard the next time your phone goes online.
You can access your Talking Book usage data on the Amplio dashboard, and create and share visualizations. We also have a new system for processing and learning from user feedback recordings. In addition, Amplio provides quarterly data summary reports and conference calls to review and discuss your data and lessons learned.
Because Amplio's technology collects usage data and user feedback, you can gain a deeper understanding of those you serve, identify issues and trends, and continually update and improve your Talking Book content for greater impact.
Contact Amplio for a Talking Book consultation
If you would like to request a Talking Book demo or program consultation, contact the Amplio team. Tell us about your project! We're happy to schedule a call.