A new study found that students are happy to use captions when learning new information, because captioning helps knowledge retention. By testing two groups the researchers found a significant improvement in learning outcomes by those who had videos with captions vs. videos without captions. With more teaching and learning happening online, this is one technique that can benefit all. Captions are not just for people who are hard of hearing.
The title of the article is, Captioning Online Course Videos: An Investigation into Knowledge Retention and Student Perception. Access the article via ResearchGate and request a copy of the paper. It is also available from ACM Digital Library.
Captioning and transcripts
A similar study on the benefits of closed captions for learning was carried out by Oregon State University. They surveyed more than 2000 students in 15 institutions and found more than half said captions help by improving comprehension. The most common reasons for using captions were: to help them focus, retain information and overcome poor audio quality of the videos. Transcripts are often used as study guides and to find and retain information. Interestingly, in this study, 13% of respondents indicated having a disability, but only 6% were registered as such.
Various reasons were given for the benefits of closed captioning – noise in their listening environment, unclear speech in the video, spelling of new or unfamiliar words, and being able to take notes just by stopping the video and not needing to rewind to listen again. Students with English as a second language also benefitted.
Researchers found there was a 7% increase in student results compared to the previous year’s students who did not have captioning. The article also discusses the cost of captioning and other options, such as speech recognition. The title of the article is, Closed Captioning Matters: Examining the Value of Closed Captions for All Students, and is published in the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 2016.
Editor’s note: Captioning has evolved significantly in the last two years and there are many ways to include captioning. Zoom, YouTube and other platforms now offer captioning as standard. AI captioning has improved significantly.