Video Captions Benefit All Students, Not Just Disabled Students

on November 7, 2016

A survey by 3Play Media and Oregon State University, National Research Study: Student Uses and Perceptions of Closed Captions and Transcripts, found that video captioning benefits all students, not just students with disabilities. While students with disabilities were more likely to use closed captions and transcripts than students without disabilities, the difference was small. More than three-quarters (75.5 percent) of respondents said that closed captions were helpful as a learning aid, compared with 6 percent who identified closed captions as a disability accommodation.

Other key benefits cited by respondents included helping overcome poor audio quality or a difficult to understand instructor and environmental distractions. More than half (51.9 percent) of respondents said that closed captions helped with comprehension. The respondents also said that the closed captions helped them focus and retain information.

Closed captions were especially helpful for students with learning disabilities, adult learners, students who have impaired hearing or vision, first-generation students, ESL students and students who are eligible for a Federal Pell grant. More than 60 percent of the students in each of these groups said that closed captions were very or extremely helpful to them.

Respondents reported that closed captions were more available than video transcripts. About a third (35 percent) of respondents said that they always or often use closed captions when they are available and a quarter (26 percent) said that they never use them. About a fifth (19 percent) said that they always or often use transcripts, compared to more than half (55.5 percent) who said that they never use transcripts.

The report was based on a survey of 2,124 students at 15 public and private non-profit colleges. 

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