Why Captions Matter for Everyone

Why Captions Matter for Everyone, Caption.Ed

It’s often assumed that adding text or captions to visual learning materials only benefits deaf or hard of hearing learners. But studies show this isn’t the case. 

In a US survey of 2,000 students who used captioned media, less than 20% reported having a disability. And across both disabled and non-disabled students, the top three reasons for using closed captions were:

  1. Improved concentration
  2. Boosted recall and retention 
  3. To overcome poor audio 

Evidently, captions benefit people beyond any barriers to hearing. And that’s why we’ve outlined some of the key reasons why they matter for everyone, not only those who need it. 

Adding captions increases literacy levels

When text or captions are added to video they can help with closing gaps in vocabulary and literacy levels. 

For children in particular, reading subtitles motivates them to read more. Plus, it boosts their ability to identify words, understand what they mean and retain them for the future.  

To highlight the impact of adding subtitles for children aged 6 to 10, a UK campaign called ‘Turn on the subtitles’ recently launched. And it aims to lobby broadcasters and policymakers to ensure captions are possible for every programme. 

And this is for good reason. Because adding subtitles can double the chances of a child becoming a great reader. 

Adding captions boosts learning and engagement 

During a two-year study by the San Francisco University, researchers found captions boosted students’ engagement levels. And when their educational videos included captions, students’ comprehension levels significantly improved.

Adding to the evidence for their ability to increase engagement, over 60% of adult learners said the inclusion of captions increased their focus and concentration.

Also, research from Facebook reveals subtitled video will boost viewing time by 12%. And this suggests captioning makes commercial sense too.

Second language learners improve recall with captions

For students learning English as a second language (ESOL), studies show English subtitles increase their vocabulary, comprehension and word recognition.

In a 2000 study of Japanese higher education ESOL students, all participants showed a marked increase in memory recall when tutorial videos included English captions. 

Why Captions Matter for Everyone, Caption.Ed

Captions and transcripts are helpful learning aids

Oregon State University surveyed over 2,000 students across 15 different universities to understand the impact of captioned learning. 

Their findings revealed almost 100% of students found captioning helpful. Furthermore, 75% of students used them as a learning aid and 85% downloaded video transcripts to support their ongoing learning. 

Both transcripts and video captioning are such powerful learning tools, they’ve become mandatory requirements of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). And this means any video-based learning must include options for both.  

CareScribe’s Caption.Ed offers on-demand captioning and editable transcriptions for live and pre-recorded media. The platform is easy to download onto Mac or PC and integrates with Zoom, Teams and even YouTube. Plus, it’s fully compliant with WCAG 2.1 regulations. 

Why not take a look at how Caption.Ed could improve your learning?