I first read about this at Stephen Downes’ blog, a study entitled “The Effects of Captioning Videos on Academic Achievement and Motivation: Reconsideration of Redundancy Principle in Instructional Videos” by Muzaffer Ozdemir, Serkan Izmirli, and Ozden Sahin-Izmirli. In their abstract they state that “in contrast to the suggestion of the redundancy principle, motivation and achievement scores of students do not vary according to the instructional video type under investigation (captioned vs. non-captioned). Thereby, it was concluded that a moderating effect of the streaming feature of instructional material should be considered to interpret the redundancy effect.” I do agree with them that more studies should be done on this aspect of captioning BUT, this is NOT why we do captioning in the first place. This question of the redundancy principle completely misses the point of why we do it. Do you know whose motivation and achievement scores will suffer with no captioning despite this study? The deaf, the learning disabled, and ESL students. This is why captioning is the law. Also, according to the flowchart, captions are a distraction. I think these videos do not have to have the captions burned in. In YouTube for instance, you can turn them off. Further, we did captioning at College of the Redwoods and in viewing the analytics of the transcripts and the use of captioning, the users most often likely to use them were the students in the nursing dept. who are all top students (they have to be to enter or finish the program) and their number one reason was that it helped them remember what was said.
I am really hoping that articles like this will not discourage faculty and administrators from making their materials accessible. Please contact me if you would like to further discuss the tools and methods for making online materials accessible.
- A Handy Chart Featuring Some of The Best Tools and Apps for Creating Educational Screencasts (educatorstechnology.com)