Skip to content

Improve the Quality of eLearning With Closed Captions & Subtitles

Improve the Quality of eLearning With Closed Captions & Subtitles

RevBlogEducationImprove the Quality of eLearning With Closed Captions & Subtitles

You’re intently watching a video lecture when the audio becomes muffled. You didn’t quite catch a few words the professor said. Mind racing, you try to make sense of what the professor is saying. But, by the time you give up, the professor is 3 sentences ahead and you have to rewind the video. 

This is a common and frustrating experience for eLearning students. One simple solution could avoid this whole situation. All that’s needed are closed captions or same language subtitles. With these tools, students can read along as they listen to or watch eLearning content.

Using closed captioning and subtitles eliminate many problems. Yet, that’s not all they can do. These tools also add to the eLearning experience. 

What are the benefits of closed captioning and subtitles and how can you use them? Learn the details below.

Benefits of Using Closed Captions & Subtitles in eLearning

Closed captions and subtitles can greatly improve eLearning in many different ways. Research supporting the use of these learning tools is very strong. Specifically, closed captions & subtitles can boost engagement and comprehension. Plus, they improve accessibility and also enhance learning experiences for ESL students. As a bonus, these services may even improve student perceptions of faculty.

Boost Engagement and Comprehension

One thing professors and teachers want more than anything else is for their students to succeed. That’s one thing subtitles and captions can help with! 

A national survey completed by Oregon State University asked students about their use of subtitles. Over half of the students reported that they use the closed captioning function at least sometimes. These students used subtitles for three main reasons:

  • To improve focus
  • To retain the information
  • As a solution for poor audio quality

Students also use subtitles so they can view and understand videos in public settings such as the library. Furthermore, students reported that the closed captions helped them with difficult vocabulary. Subtitles were also reportedly helpful when the speaker had an accent. 

The above benefits were self-reported by students. However, other research also supports the use of closed captions and subtitles. Studies show that subtitles “increase college students’ attention to lectures.” These studies also show that captions also help students:

  • Summarize main ideas
  • Recall facts
  • Draw inferences
  • Define words
  • Answer multiple-choice comprehension questions

Ultimately, captions and subtitles help students have a more successful eLearning experience.

Learn Sign Language Accessibility

Improve Accessibility

Do you have students who have learning disabilities or are deaf or hard of hearing? Captions and subtitles in eLearning are very important for reaching these students. With captions, these students can understand more and participate fully in their eLearning experience. 

Captions are preferred over subtitles for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. This is because captions also explain audio details that may happen during the video. For example, they might say “people laughing” when people in an audience laugh. 

In fact, it may be legally mandated to offer captions for students who need them. Learn more about your potential legal responsibilities in the Americans with Disabilities Act

Enhance Understanding for ESL Students

Many students speak other languages and English may not be their first language. Written content supports their learning experience. Many English words are not pronounced phonetically. So, a student may recognize a written word that they wouldn’t understand when heard. 

Instructors can also reach students who speak other languages with foreign language subtitles. In this way, eLearning becomes friendlier to ESL students. With a full understanding of the content, they can improve their academic performance.  

Improve Students’ Opinions of Faculty

study completed at the University of South Florida at St. Petersburg showed something amazing. They collected data about two eLearning courses offered without closed captioning. Then, they created closed captioning for those classes. Finally, they compared the results. They found that faculty evaluations were better for the classes with captions than those without.

Using Closed Captioning & Subtitles in eLearning

There are many online programs that can help you create closed captioning and subtitles. It’s easy to include same language subtitles in your eLearning videos, webinars, and other audio content. Yet, there are some things you should know before you get started. Here are some tips for getting the most out of these tools: 

Take a Second Look at Automated Captions and Subtitles

Automated captions, subtitles, or transcriptions turn audio files into text using technology. This can make the process much faster! If you choose to use these sorts of services, keep in mind that automated transcriptions aren’t 100% accurate. 

They can be a good place to start, but you should always review before posting them. There may be minor errors such as  “meet” being written as “meat.” This will confuse students or, at the least, appear unrefined. 

Consider Transcriptions

In addition to captions, you may also consider creating a transcription for videos, lectures, or webinars. A transcription is a document that students can read instead of or in addition to watching a video with captions. Students can then use transcriptions as study guides or to review class content in a visual format.

Closed captions and subtitles are a wonderful way to support students in eLearning. All students deserve to be able to focus, understand, and even enjoy eLearning video and audio content. You can boost their experience and performance with subtitles and captions.

Download Our Free Accessibility Checklist for Colleges