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Can closed captions and transcripts actually help students?

closed captionsWhen we think of closed captions and transcripts, a few things come to mind: they need to be included because they’re a legal requirement and that they can be treated as peripheral aids to your video content.

But apart from compliance and business-growth-related benefits, transcripts play an important part in how your educational videos are accepted, perceived, and comprehended.

Closed captions and transcripts are great for students with known disorders

And we’re not just talking about students and viewers with hearing disabilities. You need to know when you’re choosing to accurately caption your e-learning videos, you’re making learning easier and accessible for many communities with known disorders.

Holistic takeaways for students with dyslexia

According to this report, 1 in 8 student in the US has dyslexia. Dyslexia, a neurodevelopmental disorder, is characterized by slow and inaccurate word recognition. Since captions and transcripts are basically your video expressed in the written form, you may think the practice is counterintuitive. Moreover, the overall goal of reading is to comprehend the reading material.

So how do captions and transcripts help students with dyslexia?

Video material is great for engaging students with dyslexia, but note-taking can be hard from a video. So, captions and especially transcripts serve as great tools and learning aids for such students because they can simultaneously refer to the video and the transcript and retain much more at the end of it.

Help students with autism comprehend e-learning videos better

Prevalence of autism in U.S. children has increased 6%-15% between 2002 and 2010 and more than 3.5 million Americans are on the autism spectrum.

Both children and adults on the autism spectrum have difficulty engaging in complex conversations, part taking in activities in noisy environments, and comprehending social cues and emotions. So boosting learning comprehension through e-learning videos alone still leaves a huge gap for retention and understanding in such cases  Рin fact, 35% of young adults on the autism spectrum in the US do not participate in the labor force and have not pursued post graduate education because learning is still not as inclusive as it should be.

Captions and transcripts help students on the autism spectrum comprehend e-learning videos better as they can turn off the sound and refer to the written materials instead for better understanding.

Students with down syndrome heavily rely on captions and transcripts

E-learning videos are great for breaking down complex concepts. However, students with Down syndrome often have poor auditory retention capabilities. This makes closed captions and transcripts a great aid for understanding such educational materials better.

Helping students learn better beyond disabilities

According to a nation-wide study (with 2124 participating students across 15 private and public universities)  conducted by Oregon State University, captions and transcripts definitely go a long way to help comprehend e-learning videos better.

According to the study, 98.6% students claimed captions are helpful for learning better and that they used video transcripts as learning aids 85% of the time.

Here’s how closed captions and transcripts boost e-learning video comprehension and help students learn better.


Students may not catch a technical word or names correctly while watching a video. Captions and transcripts can remedy this by spelling out accurate technical terms and names and help students learn and retain accurate content.


Closed captions and transcripts are complementary to the higher level of engagement and ease of learning enabled by e-learning videos. Students can benefit from the easy breakdown and visualization of complex concepts and refer to transcripts and captions for better understanding.


Videos with closed captions and transcripts help in better retention as students can both watch as well as read at their own pace, helping them approach the content in a manner that makes them comfortable.

There are challenges (but also workarounds)

Overhauling an established system comes with its own set of challenges, but in this case, there are definite workarounds. Let’s see what they are.

Caption placement can be distracting

Some survey respondents (32%) claimed that captions can be distracting as they blocked a part of the visuals.

Essentially, this means that such captions were not compliant to FCC and ADA regulations for closed captioning, which specifically outlines font and placement details to root out distractions due to captions in e-learning videos.

Transcripts and captions include incorrect information

Incorrect closed captions in e-learning videos along with errors in an accompanying transcript can do more harm than good.

Now, this a testament to the fact that a lot of institutes and private e-learning video producers are resorting to automatic captioning, which can only provide accuracy levels of 60%-80%. In such cases, partnering with a reliable transcription company can be a prudent business decision.

At iScribed, we ensure 99% accuracy in our captions and transcripts, along with a rigorous quality assurance process that makes captioning your videos easy, streamlined, and accurate.

Captions and transcripts cause more cognitive overload

Several students cited cognitive overload as a factor when watching e-learning videos with closed captions. However, 41% of them claimed that it was momentary, and a significant advantage of closed captions is that they can be turned them off at any point if students don’t want to use them as a learning aid.

Captions and transcripts are the best next step in holistic education

The challenges of including closed captions and transcripts are minor compared to how much students benefit from their usage. Benefits that go beyond compliance and speculation, we’d say.

Are you looking for a trusted transcription and captioning partner to make the video production process easy for you? Let’s talk.