Captioning videos is incredibly important for hearing impaired students. UTS acknowledges this, and has made a commitment to follow accessibility standards provided by WCAG 2.0 section A. Now thanks to machine learning and AI, captioning is easy to do – just check out this simple guide for Kaltura captions. At this point, there’s basically no reason why you shouldn’t be adding captions, right? But what if I told you there are other benefits to captioning videos that affect all students? Keep reading to find out!

1. Captions = better engagement

Captions are eye-catching, they grab your audience’s attention and help to maintain their focus, leading to increased watch time. Research has also shown presentations that combine visual and oral instruction improve retention. Studies gathered by the U.S. Department of Labor show a 65% increase in retention three days after receiving instruction.

This shouldn’t be a surprise – thanks to social media, your students are becoming programmed to love captions. Surveys have shown that about 85% of Facebook videos are watched with the sound off – this could be happening even in your own classroom! As a result, many viral videos have subtitles burnt into their videos for increased engagement. Some people, (including myself) even prefer to watch Netflix with subtitles on to ensure they don’t miss any important plot details. Subtitles have now become a natural part of the viewing experience for many, so it’s not surprising to see that captions can improve the user experience.

2. Captions = better grades

Yep! You read that right! With better engagement, that makes a lot of sense though, doesn’t it? A two-year case study on video captions from San Francisco State University shows that video captions can improve reading comprehension for all learners, often by a full letter grade. In this case, captions led to more engaged students, better note taking, better exam grades, and they were more responsive to questions.

Still not convinced? This paper by researchers in Kaneohe, Hawaii argues that captions lead to better reading comprehension in secondary school students, while another study in India has also found that captions lead to improved literacy skills in children as well. Overall, studies show that captions can help improve reading speed, reading fluency, word knowledge, vocabulary acquisition, word recognition and listening comprehension.

3. Captions make your video accessible to everybody – not just hearing impaired learners

Often when we think of captioning, we think of it for people who have trouble hearing. But captions make your content accessible for many other people as well.

At UTS, we’ve found that many of our students who speaks English as their second language appreciate captions, as it allows them to learn at their own pace. They can stop, start and rewind the video and use captions to help understand when they have trouble keeping up. This helps break down language barriers and gives them the opportunity to pause and look up words they don’t understand.

As you can see in Nicole Flyns amazing article 10 Reasons Why Closed Captioning for Education Is a Must, captions help all students better understand and clarify dialogue when:

  • the speaker has an accent
  • technical terms are used
  • the audio is muffled or too quiet
  • the environment is noisy

Long story short – captions aren’t just for people with hearing disabilities, everyone can benefit from them. So if you haven’t already, get started today! Even auto-captions can be useful. Check out our guide for captioning with Kaltura, and here’s a useful tutorial on captioning in YouTube. Happy captioning!

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