Why Do 29% of Hearing Students Never Use Closed Captions?
Updated: June 3, 2019
In early fall of 2016, 3Play Media and Oregon State University released results from a nationwide survey — the largest of its kind to date — about student uses and perceptions of closed captioning in higher education.
Of the 1,569 student respondents who did not self-identify as having difficulty with hearing, 70.8% use closed captions. Of that same demographic, 31.4% said they “always” or “often” use captions.
In contrast, the remaining 29.2% of hearing students claimed they “never” use closed captions when available.
That last figure really got us thinking: Why do those 29.2% of hearing students who never use closed captions refrain from doing so, even when those captions are available? Is it because they just don’t like using closed captions?
Or, maybe it has more to do with a lack of exposure to closed captions in everyday life. Besides, it’s hard to rely on a study tool when it’s not usually available.
Let’s Look at the Facts
While it is impressive that 70.8% of hearing students use closed captions at least some of the time when they’re available, consider this graph made from the entire pool of student responses (with and without hearing disabilities):
We already know from the survey that almost 100% of students use video in their coursework.
But as the graph shows, after being asked how many courses with video included closed captions, 27% of students responded “I don’t know” — the most common response for that question.
Low Exposure to Closed Captions
So, 27% of students don’t know whether closed captions are available in their courses, 11.5% claim “none” are available, and 15.2% claim “just a few” are available.
Adding that all together, we see that 53.7% of respondents either had little or no exposure to captions in their courses.
So, it would appear that most hearing students probably don’t encounter closed captions in their course-work often enough to rely on them. Even if they are available, almost a third of hearing students aren’t aware.
Would More Students Use Captions If There Was Greater Exposure?
Our results also show that 75% of all students surveyed use closed captions as a learning tool, and 98.6% of students who use captions find them helpful.
So how can it be that almost a third of hearing students don’t use closed captions when they’re available?
More research will need to be done before any conclusions can be drawn showing a relationship between closed caption exposure and the degree to which they are used and appreciated by students in higher education.
But our study tells a unique story, and it makes one consider the possibility that the reason 29.2% of hearing students don’t use closed captions is because they were never exposed to them enough to properly appreciate, or use them as a learning tool.
For more on the research study findings, click the image below to download your copy of the full report.
How to Handle Live Closed Captioning – and the Challenges
Technological innovation has paved a new way to conduct business, education, and life in general – particularly in a world forced to adapt to virtual substitutes during the pandemic. And most of the time, the technology we use is very helpful! Like…
3 Ways Video Has Changed for the Better
Decades ago, video’s uses were mostly limited to entertaining, informing, and advertising. Today, video has all but replaced classrooms, text books, work travel, and meeting rooms. 2020 brought upon countless changes to the world – and one of the reasons people maintained…
4 Tips for Creating an Accessible and Engaging Virtual Graduation
Graduation is a big milestone for students and their families and every year, colleges and universities prepare to ensure the ceremony is as special as possible. After a long and arduous academic year, students feel rewarded for their hard work and dedication…