keyboard_arrow_left Making Educational Videos Searchable and Accessible keyboard_arrow_right

September 27, 2021

Educational videos play an important in personal and professional development. From a video lecture series for university courses to online seminars, clear communication matters. One way to ensure learners can search for and understand the content is through textual cues. Learn how to make your content more accessible in minutes. 

Why you need to create accessible content

Studies show that adding more opportunities to learn (visual and audio) can improve outcomes for students. If this isn’t enough of a reason, however, there’s the law to consider. There are laws that now require higher ed teachers to practice “reasonable accommodation.” While vague, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) further adds that “All non-text content that is presented to the user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose.” There are exceptions, but most video lessons would do best to comply. states that in order for multi-media content with speech to be accessible, captions must:

Be synchronized with the audio

Be equivalent to the spoken words

Be accessible and available to those who need it

Following these guidelines not only keeps you from running afoul of continually changing laws, but it also makes sense. Adding text, such as closed captions, to your pre-recorded audio helps students learn. It also makes it searchable. Using text keywords in your content helps people find your work. It’s a win-win for students and teachers.

How to create accessible video lessons

Creating an online course that more students can understand doesn’t take a lot of technical knowledge. Past methods include painstakingly typing out text or using poor-quality automated closed captions. With more learning communities turning to text enhancements, it’s a must for classrooms. Luckily, these steps can be completed in a day for an accessible learning experience.

Record your lesson video

Whatever platform you eventually upload your video to, a quality video with a clear audio track is a must. Use a sound-proofed room, if possible. Consider a podcasting microphone to filter out background noise. Save your video file in a common format, such as MP4.

Create a transcription file

Pulling the audio from your video used to take work and special software. Now, you can easily upload your entire lesson video to have the audio pulled and transcribed. Choose from two options:

a. Have human transcribers process your audio with up to 99% accuracy. Get files within 12 hours. This is the best choice for audio files with background noise, heavy regional dialects, or breathy sounds.

b. Use the AI option for automated transcription. This is a cheaper and quicker option with up to 80% accuracy in 5 minutes. Your results will vary, however, based on audio quality.

Upload your file by going to Vocalscript’s order page. You can upload by clicking the “upload” button to navigate to computer files.

Allow time for the file to upload, usually a few minutes. On the checkout screen, enter any coupon codes and select whether you want the human or AI option. You’ll be given a final price to confirm and pay, along with an estimated time of delivery.

Use your transcription file in your lessons

With your text file ready, you can upload it along with your original video file to the Lesson Management System (LMS) of your choice. Many of the top platforms support closed captioning. Your video and captions should line up together. In addition to on-screen text, consider uploading the text file for reference. Students may like to print out the transcription. They can refer to it during video playback and use it to enhance notetaking.

Make sure students know how to access captions

If your videos aren’t set to automatically show captions, include prompts to do so. You can refer to these tools in your lesson plan, syllabus, and again in the web interface for your LMS. Captions are only useful if people know to use them.

Making Educational Content Accessible and Searchable

Online education grew significantly in 2020 and has shown no signs of stopping this year. As educators and professionals consider how to better meet student needs, text will become more important. If this is your first video lesson – or fiftieth – the steps to getting it right are simple. Use a quality transcription option to make courses accessible to more students, and watch your efforts lead to better outcomes.