ESL learners

How ESL Learners Can Benefit From Captioning

Captioned videos are beneficial to a multitude of people for a variety of reasons. Captioning makes video more accessible to students with disabilities and different learning styles. It also keeps students engaged and can improve retention and literacy. Another group that can really benefit from captioning is those who are learning English as a Second Language (ESL Learners).

There are a few problems ESL learners struggle with that captioning can help solve. First are the different accents that can make English harder to understand in some cases. Captioning improves comprehension of strong accents. Similarly, captioning can help if the speaker is not talking clearly, is talking too fast, or is using slang and abbreviations or jargon. Another aspect of language ESL learners have trouble with is syntax, or the order words are spoken, which often differs depending on the language.

Points Where Captioning Can Help ESL Learners

  • Information Retention
  • Improved Literacy
  • Accents
  • Fast or Unclear Speech
  • Slang / Abbreviations / Jargon
  • Syntax / Sentence Structure
  • Grammar / Spelling

When the viewer can read the text being spoken it can help them learn and better understand the structure of sentences. Watching a video in a language that is not familiar enough can be frustrating, but captioning provides a backup that can help encourage and engage the viewers. Lastly, learners who are more practiced in spoken language than written can improve literacy skills, grammar and spelling.


  1. I appreciate your information on how captions can be beneficial for viewers who have hearing disabilities and people who don’t have English as their first language. I like how you mentioned that captions help with comprehension, especially if the speaker has a strong accent, or is speaking too fast. My sister is a person who is hard of hearing and I personally think captions make a lot of material accessible to her despite her disability. It’s a good thing that there are services that offer live captions that people can access in real-time as the video is playing.

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