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Enhancing Accessibility: The Power of Captioning

Enhancing Accessibility: The Power of Captioning

One vital tool that has emerged as a cornerstone of accessibility in higher education is captioning. According to the National Library of Medicine, “More than 100 empirical studies document that captioning a video improves comprehension of, attention to, and memory of the video.” By integrating captioning into various educational resources, schools can significantly enhance the learning experience for all students. 

Diverse Learning Styles

All students can benefit significantly from captioning. Students have different learning styles and some are visual learners who find it easier to understand and retain information through reading. Captioning allows these students to reinforce their comprehension by reading along with audio or video content, which leads to improved retention and overall learning outcomes. 

English as a Second Language (ESL) Learning

Captioning services are especially valuable for students who are not native English users. The combination of auditory and visual input helps clarify complex language structures, idiomatic expressions, and nuanced pronunciation, which can be challenging to grasp solely through listening. Captioning empowers students to navigate language barriers and participate more actively in classroom activities. 

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students

Captions provide additional context to the visuals and audio, making it easier for Deaf and hard-of-hearing students to follow complex discussions, lectures, and presentations. Captions can clarify technical terms, unfamiliar names, and other challenging elements, leading to a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Video captioning allows Deaf and hard-of-hearing students to review course materials at their own pace. They can re-read captions to reinforce their understanding of key concepts, ensuring they do not miss critical information.

Fostering Inclusivity and Diversity

Captioning not only benefits individuals with specific needs but also contributes to a more inclusive and diverse campus community. By prioritizing accessibility, we can create an environment that celebrates individual differences and promotes empathy and understanding among students and faculty alike. This approach enriches the overall educational experience and cultivates a sense of belonging for everyone.

The Educational Benefits of Captioning

  1. Enhanced Comprehension: For all learners, captions enhance comprehension of information. By presenting both auditory and visual cues, captioning reinforces understanding, especially when dealing with complex subject matter or technical terms.
  2. Attention and Focus: Captions can help keep learners focused on the content, reducing distractions and improving memory. Visual reinforcement of the audio can help maintain attention during lectures and videos.
  3. Improved Retention: When students can read and hear the information simultaneously, they are more likely to retain the knowledge. The dual-channel input created by captioning helps students reinforce their memory, leading to better recall of important information during exams and beyond.
  4. Improved Literacy Skills: Reading along with video or audio content can enhance students’ language development and vocabulary. It encourages literacy growth, word recognition, and language comprehension.
  5. Better Test Scores: A two-year case study conducted at San Francisco State University found that captioned video content helped students significantly improve their grades. The study also found that captioning helped students focus better and take better notes. 

Choosing A Captioning Provider

When choosing a captioning provider it is important to consider accuracy. There are many methods to providing captions and some are more accurate than others. Many captioning providers use speech recognition and artificial intelligence to convert speech to text. These methods are typically 60-80% accurate, meaning one in every three words could be incorrect.

Deaf Services Unlimited partners with captioners who transcribe speech in real-time. All of our captioners hold NCRA (National Court Reporters) certification. These certifications require an accuracy level of at least 95% and speed levels ranging from 160 to 260 words per minute. This skill set, along with our captioners’ experience in higher education settings, leads to better accuracy and improved outcomes for students.

We’ve Got You Covered

Our dedicated captioning team can support live events or add captions to pre-recorded videos or audio.