With countless cases of teachers and professors moving to hybrid and online learning, it has become a necessity and an advantage to invest resources into adding captions to your videos. There is a presumption that you only need a caption for an audience that may experience hearing impairments. But, everyone can benefit from a caption when taking an online course.

Think about it for a second - whenever you watched a video, maybe on your favorite streaming site or a lecture on YouTube, did you have captions on? If so, did you find yourself more immersed in the content and it's delivery? Did you find yourself understanding what was happening on screen with more context?

I know I find captions useful, especially when I'm taking an online course.

Regardless of what your experience may be, there are many benefits pointing towards why you should add captions to your online course. In this post, we'll go over these points!

Accessibility & Learning Needs

When captions are included, it’s often associated with people who have hearing impairments – which is definitely one reason to caption your online course. But people who may have special learning needs or where English is their second language can use captions to bridge their understanding of the material will be another beneficiary as well.

It’s one thing to be able to listen to the material, but to further enhance your content, viewing text to what one hears can take it to the next level. Visuals ultimately make it a more complete experience.

Remember to account for all learners in your visual, auditory, read/write and kinesthetic learning groups!

Increased Presence and Wider Reach Online

Another reason why you should caption your online course is for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). By converting your video to text through captions, it can help with boosting your brand, getting found on search engines, and overall reaching a wider audience that might find your online course helpful for their goals.

Although video might be the main medium for delivering your online course, some educators might even consider having a podcast for their course. If that is the case, SEO can also help with that, too! If you are interested, read our post on how to grow your podcast audience with SEO.

If you want to increase your presence among the many courses that may offer similar content as you, captioning your online course with text can improve your SEO. By further improving your presence online, your name and course can now reach an even wider audience which could result in higher sales, growing your following, or whatever your goals for the online course may be.

Mobile Use

As online courses become even more prominent in an on-the-go lifestyle, people often download and take online courses with them during the commute.

More often than not, people listening in may be in loud or crowded places, thus disrupting their learning environment. However, with captions for your online course, it makes the learning a bit easier by having those visual cues and text to supplement the experience.

Legal Reasons

Depending on where you’re located, a transcript or caption of your content may be required for legal reasons. While there aren’t any significant legalities in the Canadian jurisdiction as it mainly applies to Television, the United States does have the American Disabilities Act (ADA). This states that auxiliary aids must be made available to anyone with a disability.

Closed captioning were required for:

·   Public Entities i.e. state and local governments

·   Places of public accommodation – private and religious organizations are exempted

Though this act was passed in 1990 (and online content was not considered at that point), it wasn’t until 2012 where a lawsuit involving Netflix was categorized as a place of public accommodation. Further acts like the Rehabilitation Act and the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act followed suit in ensuring all parties accommodated the necessary provisions for groups of need.

So, what do you think?

Do you have other ideas in your mind as to what you need to caption your online course? We'd love to hear from you!

Need to caption your course videos?

If you decide you'd like to add captions to your online course videos, make sure you check out Vocalmatic, an automatic transcription platform. We offer video to text conversion, as well as audio to text conversion.

When you register on Vocalmatic, you'll get 30 minutes free of automatic transcription to try it out!