Transcripts and Captions: The Impact on Students’ Learning

Transcripts and Captions: The Impact on Students' Learning

Transcripts and Captions: The Impact on Students’ Learning

Education institutions are embracing new technology to help students learn. In the past few years, the largest breakthrough happened in remote learning. One of the first examples of distance learning occurred at the start of the 18 century. Students would learn through weekly mailed lessons. 

Since then, we’ve had the opportunity to utilize radio and television for formal and informal learning, but the majority of people have had the chance to experience remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Students worldwide had classes using video conference software or watching videos created by teachers. As much as 77% of public schools started using the distance-learning format. Many people had the opportunity to use videos for self-learning in the past, but during the pandemic, video content was one of the main ways of teaching for different levels of education. 

Whether you’re a teacher who wants to improve the experience for their students or a content creator that enjoys creating educational videos, transcripts and captions are a great way of helping your audience learn better. 

Transcripts and captions help with knowledge comprehension

Every student has a different type of learning style. Some students enjoy reading, while others enjoy listening. Videos are a great way of conveying visual and audio information at the same time. 

A transcription allows students to study outside of the class. When they want to review a piece of certain information, they can just read it and repeat that as many times as they find suitable. Reviewing lectures is much easier if they have them in textual form. 

In case you get sick and miss out on a few lectures, instead of getting notes from your colleagues, you’ll be able to learn directly from the documents created and sent to you by your tutors. 

According to some studies, students who use transcriptions to complement their studying perform better at exams and have better recall of information. 

Helps students find information more easier

Many people on YouTube utilize timestamps to split each video into multiple sections, and this practice is quite useful in helping people get the information they want. However, many educational institutions are using other platforms that don’t offer such features.

Lectures that have been recorded live in the classroom can be hard to separate into such sections as there might be breaks, questions, switching from subjects, and other occurrences that can stop the flow of the lecture. 

Transcriptions are fixing this by allowing the students to search for a certain heading or a keyword. It depends on the operating system and the text reader app that you are using, but a standard shortcut for finding a word is Ctrl+F. This shortcut opens up a text box in which you can type a word or more, and the application will lead you to every such word throughout the document. 

Finding a specific part of the lecture can take an unnecessary amount of time without a textual document to skim through. So, save your students some time that they would otherwise spend fast-forwarding and rewatching parts of the video and give them a transcription. 

Aids with homework and future projects

Students can easily work on their homework if they have a document ready for them to study. On the internet, transcriptions of a podcast can be used for creating other forms of content. For example, you can create infographics, blog posts, and social media posts out of the transcriptions that you’ve made.

Referencing guests of the podcasts, especially if they are high-authority figures in the field, is also made more accessible. Similar benefits can be seen in the use of transcriptions and captions in education. 

For example, creating PowerPoint presentations and doing digital assignments is much easier if you have a textual source that you can reference

Improves accessibility 

Improving accessibility is the method of making information available for understanding by as many people as possible. You’ve probably heard about this term in architecture, An “accessible entrance” is an entrance that allows people with disabilities to enter the building. 

This term has also found its use in the world of computers and technology. For example,  people with colorblindness, poor hearing, and low-level vision require certain features in a software so they can use it efficiently.

1. Hearing impairments

While there can be pretty easy-to-understand visual elements in a video, without the ability to understand the audio, much knowledge can be left out. You can help people with hearing impairments by implementing captions to help them comprehend the information in the video. 

More than 15% of people aged 18 and over have some level of hearing impairment. Whether your lectures or videos are going to be publish on the internet or sent directly to your students, helping at least one person with a disability has a significant positive impact. 

In certain countries, making resources accessible to people with disabilities is required by law. For example, in the United States, federal agencies have the requirement to give members that have some sort of impairment ways to access electronic information. 

While making information accessible doesn’t have to be required by law in your country, the lack of accessibility can have negative consequences on the reputation of your educational institution. 

2. Helps foreign students 

With the growing number of universities that are offering online classes, students studying at institutions that are located outside of their home country are becoming common. Usually, this includes students from Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America studying at prestigious colleges in Western Europe or North America. 

Not all students are as proficient in English, so they can comprehend information just by listening. Captions in the videos help students get more context and understand more words

Let’s say that an international student is listening to a video and they hear a word that they don’t know the meaning of. They can only guess how to spell it, but there’s a low likelihood that they will guess it correctly. With captions or a transcription, they can easily look up the word in a dictionary or ask their teacher about it. 

Various accents are also something that can be a barrier for non-native speakers. English speakers from Australia and North America can hardly understand each other at times. This is an even larger problem for international students. With transcriptions, students can learn from the lectures free of accent and with the freedom to consume information at their own pace. 

3. Allows students with technical problems to learn

If you’re holding live online lectures, chances are that a certain number of students aren’t able to be present because of technological problems. Whether because of software problems that don’t allow them to connect, or a poor internet connection, transcriptions can help in multiple ways.

International students might not have a good internet connection which can make online lessons impossible to follow for them. Poor connection is also a problem for learners with a limited amount of mobile data or a slow download speed

You shouldn’t refrain from creating high-resolution videos, but they can take time to download. Transcriptions can help students learn the information from the lectures without having to spend time downloading the lessons. 

It makes lectures easier to translate 

We’ve talked about how beneficial it can be for international students to use captions to understand the material easier, but specific institutions or students can have a need to translate certain lectures. 

A transcription is significantly easier to translate than audio. Language learning schools can have a great need for translating their lectures. Students can be able to understand the context of the sentence with less effort. 

Automated vs. manual transcriptions 

Manual transcriptions have been a method that has been utilized for decades before we finally saw the growth of commercial transcription software. This software has been becoming more popular. 

Just like with any new technology, people are wondering whether it brings actual benefits. If they    transcribe audio file to text automatically, how accurate are the results going to be? We’re going to go through the advantages and disadvantages of such software and whether manual transcription is still better. 

1. Automated 

This method of transcription implies the use of software that automatically converts an audio recording to a textual file. This is achieved by using the technology of speech recognition and machine learning. Its accuracy will depend on factors such as:

  • Audio quality
  • Use of multiple languages
  • How fast the speaker is talking
  • Software’s algorithm

There are many companies that offer such software, and they differ in the quality of their services. You shouldn’t go with software that has an accuracy below 80%. On top of the accuracy, it’s always better to go with software that offers support for as many file formats and languages as possible. 

Automated transcription software is praised for its ability to transcribe videos quickly. Depending on the product you choose, you can save a lot of money that you would otherwise spend on transcription teams. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t software that can guarantee 100% accuracy, but we should look forward to the improvements in this technology. Depending on the factors of the audio recording mentioned above, the document will require editing. 

Keep in mind that poor-quality audio can lead to very inaccurate results. The end result can require hiring additional editors and proofreaders to polish the document so it can be presentable to the students. Do your calculations and see whether automatic transcription software will help you save time and resources or if the opposite is the case. 

2. Manual 

Manual transcriptions include a trained individual specialized in this field. Such experts can have a background in language, and it’s preferable that they have experience in reading or writing about the topic that the lecture is about.

A person that does transcribing will be able to decipher confusing sentences, write words down accurately, and be able to edit the document in a presentable manner. 

Medical, legal, and technical fields should always choose this method. These fields include very specific words and information, and even a slight change of words can significantly mess up the context of a sentence. 

Transcripts and captions can help students learn more

There isn’t a quick and easy way of creating textual documents of long educational videos. Also, there isn’t a way in which you can make students make the most out of their material if they aren’t motivated.

However, tools such as captions and transcripts are very useful in giving access to educational material to more people. Regular students, international students, students with certain impairments, and many different groups of people can find these methods helpful. 

Suppose your goal is to get the benefits mention in the article. In that case, you should consider either finding an individual specialized in creating transcriptions or finding the most suitable software that will do the job for you.