Today, education is a rollercoaster of possibilities and fun. The last few years, more than ever, have shown that the education industry has been a dynamic process rather than a static, know-it-all environment. Across the globe, schools and universities are implementing necessary changes to fit with the contemporary world that we live in. Educators are front and center in this endeavor, and help make this world and their classrooms a better, more inclusive place for their students. There are arguments to be had for both keeping the old status quo and adapting to today’s societal patterns. We’re not going into a debate of right and wrong here. Instead, we’re going to discuss a science-backed fact: if you’re in education, you must use captions and subtitles for all your video and training materials.
Let’s start by defining the terms:
Captions are same language subtitles, meaning the same language spoken in the video.
Subtitles are translated captions into other languages than the one spoken in the video.
Why should educational organizations use captions?
Creating quality captions can have a ripple effect. It helps educators reach more students and make a bigger impact in their learning.
A U.S. Department of Labor study showed a 65% increase in students’ retention of the information presented in video courses when both visual and auditory learning aids are offered together. Retention drops to only 10% when no visual aid is present. Multiple parts of the brain are used when visual and auditory aids are present, which reinforces the course material.
2. Captions improve comprehension and literacy
According to a study from San Francisco State University, captions can improve reading comprehension for everyone, regardless of age. Captions add an advantage to the learning experience and maximize educational benefits. Students who have access to closed captions for their course videos can decide on what learning style works for them: reading, listening, or both.
3. Captions improve student participation
A study by Oregon State University’s ECampus Research Unit says that 98.6% of students find video captions helpful to their education. Moreover, when it comes to online or remote courses, captioning videos provide an opportunity for students to have exposure to them in different ways, which leads to engaged and more interested students.
4. Captions clarify videos for all students and ensure accessibility
Captions help all groups of students better comprehend the videos and focus on them without getting distracted. Captions clarify the dialogue when the lecturer has an accent, there are specific technical terms, the audio of video is muffled, or there are distracting background noises, and more.
5. Captions help students with learning disabilities
Captioning is paramount to prevent disability discrimination and ensure accessibility for all. According to EducationData, 1 in every 5 students in the US has a learning disability (this number would probably be even higher considering students around the globe). Captioning videos is a helpful tool for students who have difficulties with speech or auditory elements.
6. Captions reduce distractions
Captions allow students to watch, listen, and read at the same time, which helps them maintain their focus. It also leads to more efficient studying and, subsequently, to higher grades.
7. Captions decrease stress levels
Captions offer students resources that lessen the pressure of constantly writing down. Captions redirect students’ attention to understand the material better. They don’t have to stress about missing details, hearing clearly the lecturer, or have a hard time understanding what is being said.
Why should educational organizations use subtitles?
Along with everything mentioned above on why educational institutions should caption their videos, there are some benefits and specific advantages in doing both: captioning and subtitling educational videos and course materials.
1. Subtitles help non-native students
Subtitles are a powerful solution to help non-native speakers understand course materials and key concepts. When a video has subtitles, everyone involved will better receive the message, comprehend the subject and, consequently, improve their learning experience.
2. Subtitles help students learn new languages
Quite a few studies have shown that using subtitles can be an effective and immersing learning tool to improve language skills. Subtitled videos help grow students’ vocabulary, increase the reading speed, and aid their comprehension. Listening to video while seeing subtitles helps students’ brains to pair what they hear with how it’s written.
3. Subtitles open your video to international students
Only 20% of the world’s population speaks English, and there are over 7000 languages around the world. Subtitling videos and educational materials help reach more students and increase enrollment.
4. Subtitles can increase collaboration and empathy
Being able to relate to what’s happening or is presented in a video is how students learn. In order to relate, they need to understand. Translating and subtitling videos help students connect better, thus increasing empathy levels, appreciating cultural diversity and collaboration.
Captions and subtitles improve numbers for educational institutions
1. Captions and subtitles enable search across video platforms
Educational institutions can use their video course platform as an online database. With uncaptioned videos, students have to sometimes scroll through the entire website to find what they need. Using captions helps your videos be discovered easier and faster. Potential students can search for keywords, lecturers, subjects, ideas, concepts, and so on. It also allows you to gather data on student access and interests.
2. Captions and subtitles improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Although search engines are working on interpreting and understanding dialogue in videos, they still heavily rely on text and metadata to analyze the information and content. Adding captions and subtitles helps you secure a better positioning on search engines. Google and other search engines index video captions and subtitles, and can increase your keyword depth, but it doesn’t index automatic closed captions, such as the ones you see on YouTube or Instagram. In short, adding captions and subtitles to your educational videos makes them searchable and readable.
3. Captions and subtitles boost recruitment
Educational institutions can use captioning videos to improve their recruitment efforts. Potential students can watch campus tours, look at sample lectures, check out admission resources, and upload interview videos. Captioning and subtitling all your recruitment and onboarding videos ensures that you reach potential students in a welcoming and inclusive way – whether they speak the language in the video, have a disability, or are neurodiverse.
4. Captions and subtitles provide quality E-learning experience
According to a study from Oneclass.com, 3 out of 4 students were unhappy with the quality of E-learning (online courses, remote learning) experiences, mostly because the educational institutions did not utilize accessibility solutions like captions and subtitles. Captions and subtitles provide added value to your course materials by improving student experience ensuring accessibility and inclusion.
5. Captioned and subtitled videos perform better in the digital age
Captioned and subtitled videos outperform videos without.
✓ 85% of videos are watched on mute.
✓ 91% of captioned videos are watched till the end compared to just over 60% of uncaptioned videos.
✓ 98.6% of students prefer videos with captions.
There is no debate: captions and subtitles are the way to go.
6. Captioned and subtitled videos make students feel valued
When you have an educational video without captions or in one language only, you tend to exclude many potential students. By captioning and translating your videos, you make your potential students feel valued, heard and appreciated. Feeling valued and feeling like they belong helps potential students choose your educational institution over others that don’t put the same effort into this.
How does Amara work with educational institutions to help them gain and retain students, and elevate the education system across the world?
Amara is a project of the NonProfit ‘Participatory Culture Foundation’. We strive for accessibility and inclusion for all. Our mission is to help build a world where everyone feels like they belong: people listen to each other, and our voices are being heard.
In order for us to achieve this goal, we work with educational institutions across the globe providing captioning and subtitling solutions. We have a unique team made up of hundreds translators with native language proficiency and localization expertise. We also have an award-winning captioning and subtitling editor, along with a team management platform.
But that’s not all. We’re also creating a new initiative called Amplifying Voices, where volunteers from all over the world help translate informational and educational videos in as many languages as possible, thus offering access to relevant information to communities across continents.
Khan Academy is a nonprofit educational organization that became our client in 2020. They use our Amara Community solution, where their contributors and volunteers translate their educational videos, lessons and course materials into a multitude of languages, making them accessible to students around the world.
Algonquin College is the largest Applied Arts and Technology institute in Eastern Ontario, Canada, and an Amara client since 2016. They use our Amara on Demand service, where our expert team of captioners and subtitlers caption their promotional and educational English videos to make them accessible to all their students.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong is a top public research university that became our client in 2022. They use our Amara Enterprise solution where they have access to our award-winning editor, as well as our team management platform that includes team workflows, assigned requests and customizable language guidelines.
Hetet School of Maori Art is an institution open to people worldwide that teaches traditional arts of Māori weaving and carving. They have been an Amara client since 2018, and they use our Amara Plus solution. It allows them to caption and translate their educational and training videos in various languages themselves, ensuring global access for their students.
We’re working towards a global change, and we want you to join us. If you’re working in the educational system or online training, reach out to us, and let’s discuss how Amara solutions can help you achieve your accessibility and inclusion goals. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!