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Are Your Training Videos Missing a Critical Component?

Creating and using videos for workplace training is a time-honored tradition for businesses. If you’ve been working in the corporate world for long enough, you’ve no doubt experienced an excited trainer wheeling out a chunky TV to play an hour-long, glitchy safety training video that cost the company more than it wants to admit.

Queue the audience falling asleep.

Fortunately, training videos and video technology has come a long way since then! Trainers are developing short, sharp and sophisticated videos on tight budgets and incorporating them into their courses and workshops for maximum effect.

However, there’s one big mistake many instructional designers and learning designers make when creating training videos - even if they’re veterans of their trade.

They forget to add captions.

Why Are Captions Essential for Training Videos?

What are captions? Captions (not to be confused with subtitles), are text at the bottom of the screen that relay any dialogue or important sounds to the viewer. Closed captions can be switched on or off by viewers as needed, while open captions remain permanently visible.

While some learning designers may forget about captions altogether, others assume they’re unnecessary, or put them in the “too hard” basket.

But not only are captions easy to add to training videos, they should be considered absolutely essential. Why? Here are three reasons you should be including captions in your training videos.

Meet Accessibility Requirements

Digital accessibility is the principle of making sure your digital assets (such as websites, eLearning courses, or - you guessed it - videos) can be fully experienced by everyone, no matter their abilities or disabilities.

By including closed captions in your training videos, you can ensure that learners who are hard of hearing can fully understand and experience your videos. 

With as many as 1 in 4 Americans living with a disability (and similar percentages in other countries), you should always assume that your learners include people with disabilities, even if they haven’t shared them openly.

And for an increasing number of companies and industries, ensuring all training content meets a high standard of accessibility such as the WCAG 2.1 guidelines, or 508 compliance is becoming a requirement. 

Enhance the Flexibility of Your Training

Even before the huge upheavals in the nature of work that have taken place over the past few years, employees were already coming to expect greater flexibility from their workplaces.

Offering flexible options allows workers to work more productively, as well as creating inclusivity for groups such as working parents and remote workers.

Adding captions to your training videos instantly makes them more flexible and available for all learners - not just those living with disabilities.

How? Just think - with closed captions, a parent with a sleeping child, an employee in a quiet office, or a worker riding home on a busy bus can easily watch your training video without disturbing those around them. Your learners no longer need to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment just to watch your video.

Improve Comprehension for Learners

Did you watch Christopher Nolan’s film Tenet in a cinema? Then you might have experienced the same problem as most viewers - struggling to hear half the dialogue in the film.

Apparently, the decision to make the dialogue so quiet was a creative one meant to keep the audience on the edge of their seat. But for most viewers, straining to catch any words was simply a frustrating experience, making an already complex movie even harder to understand. 

For learning and instructional designers, clarity and comprehension are far more important goals than baffling creative decisions. However, even when you take pains to deliver audible dialogue for your learners, you cannot control their viewing environment, hearing capacity or language proficiency.

Therefore, to ensure all your learners can fully comprehend the important information in your training videos, it is essential to include captions so they can easily follow along.

How to Add Captions to Your Training Videos

Closed captions exist as a separate file that sits alongside your video file. While there are many possible file types for closed captions, the most commonly used are VTT and SRT

The quickest and easiest way to create a captioning file is with an automatic transcribing service like Subly. With Subly, you can simply upload your video, let the platform transcribe your video into synced captions, then edit and download your preferred file type as you need.

If you are incorporating your video into an eLearning training course with an authoring tool like HowToo, you can easily upload your captioning file alongside your video file to automatically enable them on your video, as well as upload an accompanying transcript. Many Learning Management Systems (LMSs) follow a similar structure.

Adding captions or subtitles to a video on a USB stick or portable harddrive is as simple as giving both the video and captioning files exactly the same name and placing them in the same folder. This will allow you to turn on subtitles for your video when playing it on a TV.

Captions Are Essential for Training Videos

Whether you’re a veteran videographer or a learning designer just starting out, make sure that closed captions on your training videos for employees are a non-negotiable component.

Not only are they essential for improving the accessibility, flexibility and understandability of your learning content, they’re also so quick and easy to create that there’s no reason not to have them.

So, here’s what you want to do next:

  • Start transcribing your videos with Subly.

  • Create training courses with HowToo, the most accessible eLearning platform on the market.


This article is a contribution from the HowToo Team. HowToo is an AI-powered course creation tool - the perfect solution for corporate training creation

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