I am always on the lookout in finding opportunities to learn and advance my skills. However, sometimes it can be a frustrating experience at times. Whenever I see an exciting learning opportunity online, I go check it out in curiosity. People like to use videos for educational reasons. Many of these videos are not captioned which makes the information inaccessible to D/deaf and HOH people.
The Importance of Captioning
“Captions are words displayed on a television screen that describe the audio or sound portion of a program. Captions allow viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing to follow the dialogue and the action of a program simultaneously.”-National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
This is the definition of closed captioning. Closed Captions are not just only for TV entertainment but needed for educational reasons. As I look through many people who offer online courses to teach people many topics. Most of the time, the learning is through the use of videos. These videos are often not captioned. This leaves out a group of people that do not have access to useful information that can help advance their skills.
While captioning is not just for the D/deaf and HOH community, Christopher Pappas, from e-learning industry explains the six benefits of why captioning are so important:
- Better accessibility for many other people, such as second language learners and people with different learning needs.
- Appeals to people who are not just auditory learners.
- Ability to retain information better.
- By not captioning, you can risk being subjected to law penalties and fines.
- Increased Visibility as captions can improve your SEO ( Search Engine Optimization) and sales.
- People who are in places where they don’t have access to sound can benefit from it too.
Captioning is seen as an afterthought which it is a shame because reaching out to a broader audience should be the main goal. Captioned videos would show more impact and assist with learning with your audience.
What can you do to avoid this missed opportunity
- Research the untapped target market: The ones who can benefit from captions. ( Fun fact: Captioning your videos can increase page views, search traffic, audience engagement, and etc.)
- Learn and research anything you can about closed captioning then apply it to your product and course.
- Make captioning a part of your plan from the beginning to end when developing a product or learning course.
- Be open to feedback. If someone points out anything wrong about the captions, be responsive to customers who address problems.
As more people are engaging with videos, it is important to caption videos. Just promoting to one group shouldn’t be an option. Everyone should have the chance to learn, advance their careers, and improve personal life. Learning should be inclusive and this helps your business.