• The Importance of Captioning Videos for the Flipped Classroom

    The Importance of Captioning Videos for the Flipped Classroom

    Flipped learning is growing popular in American schools, and videos are a key asset to the flipped learning model. As educators’ awareness of the teaching method grows, more schools are experimenting with the flipped classroom.

    With videos taking a more prominent role in the eLearning experience, it’s important to make sure all videos have closed captions. Here’s why.

    What is Flipped Learning?

    Before we explore why captioned videos are essential, let’s clarify what Flipped Learning means.

    Flippedlearning.org defines flipped learning as follows:

    Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.

    In other words, what would normally be assigned as homework (worksheets, writing, problem sets) is done in the classroom. And what would normally happen in the classroom (lectures) happens at home.

    For example, a student watches a video lecture at home, then comes into school the next day and has a discussion with other students, asking the teacher questions about things they didn’t quite understand.

    The teacher goes from lecturer to classroom tutor, helping students through the material and engaging them while they’re at school.

    How Online Videos Are Used in Flipped Classrooms

    In the flipped classroom, the lectures happen at home, often in the form of video recordings. These could be recordings of the teacher themselves, or videos culled from the web.

    Videos are of increasing importance to the flipped classroom. A survey by Speak Up and FlippedLearning.org found that:

    For the third consecutive year, 4,326 building and district administrators from 2,600 school districts are seeing a significant increase in teachers flipping their classrooms using videos they have found online or that they are creating themselves.

    Over the past three years, school leaders at all grade levels have seen increases from 23 to 32 percent of teachers using videos found online, with a slightly larger overall increase in the number of teachers who are creating their own videos moving from 19 to 29 percent.

    Why eLearning Videos Need Closed Captions


    There are several reasons why flipped learning videos need closed captions:

    1. Legal requirements: schools that receive federal funding are subject to Section 504 rules about video accessibility.

      Even if a school doesn’t receive federal funding, they must comply with ADA accessibility rules, which require reasonable accommodations be provided to make all resources accessible. For online videos, that means adding closed captions and downloadable transcripts for deaf and hard of hearing students.

    2. Better comprehension: students who speak English as a second language benefit tremendously from captions, since they ensure better listening comprehension while reinforcing spelling and even teaching new vocabulary.

      Even typical, native English-speaking student learn better from captions that display complex or unfamiliar terms.

    3. School leaders at all grade levels have seen increases from 23-32% of teachers using videos found online.

    4. Better focus: closed captions can be helpful for students with autism, ADD, or ADHD, since the text gives the student something visual to focus on while the lecture plays.

    5. Better retention: students with certain learning disorders (or simply different learning styles) absorb information better when speech is reinforced in writing. A video with captions achieves that instantly.

    6. Better efficiency: when a video is transcribed, the text content can become easily searchable, either by downloading a transcript or using a video search plugin

    For more on the benefits of transcribing and captioning online video, read:

    8 Benefits of Transcribing & Captioning Videos

    As videos replace in-class lectures in flipped learning education, video captioning becomes essential for a students’ success.

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