Students using audio transcripts in a virtual learning environment

The Role of Audio Transcripts in the 2020 Learning Environment

Using audio transcripts in the learning environment has taken on a whole new meaning this year. Prior to COVID-19, 70% of educators had never taught an online course before. Whether this is due to institutions being resistant to adopt new technology or a lack of need for online classes, many instructors find themselves ill-prepared for the upcoming semester. As administrations continue to develop Fall 2020 programs, it’s unsurprising that many teachers and faculty are not aware of the full benefits of technology in today’s online learning environment. 

From new software development such as Zoom video-conferencing or our own cielo24 transcription service, the education sector has the opportunity and the means to create a high-quality online semester. Transcripts for lectures, discussions, office hours, and all other instruction are a major component of this. In 2019, The University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) conducted a study showing that interactive transcripts improved student test scores by 8%. By providing students with access to class content in multiple forms, educators and institutions can provide distinguished online education programs that match traditional in-person learning.

Ways Educators Can Utilize Audio Transcripts In Their Classrooms

Provide students with accurate notes and study guides

Regardless of how clear your lecture is, students will miss important keywords or misunderstand concepts that lead to decreased comprehension of the material and lower grades. Transcribing your lectures provides clarification for both you and your students. This will also save you time answering semantical questions and allow you to focus on important overarching topics. Students can also then adapt these transcripts to create searchable study guides or flashcards.

Keep students engaged 

Do you ever start lecturing and then 15 minutes later notice your students’ eye wandering around or dozing off? On average, university students’ attention span ranges from 10 to 15 minutes, yet most lectures are more than 50 minutes long. This attention span is even shorter for K-12 students. A lecture-style teaching structure is not conducive to keeping students focused on the material. With transcripts, students can keep themselves mentally engaged by reading along with the audio. 

Adhere to different learning styles

Not every student is an auditory learner. If your online class is merely a recording of you speaking to the camera, you are missing an opportunity to reach a significant portion of your class. Providing a transcript along with audio allows students to learn using the style that is the best fit for them, whether this be reading, listening, or both! Transcripts also provide kinesthetic students with the opportunity to print and physically interact with your lecture, such as highlighting or marking important information.

Accessibility for disabled or ESL students

You may have more students with accessibility needs than you think. Two-thirds of students with disabilities leave high school and do not self-disclose to their university, leaving gaps in their equal access to education. Transcripts create a level-playing field for all students by providing resources for those with disabilities or who struggle to understand spoken English, even if you don’t know who they are. 

Aid in course planning

Transcripts also have benefits just for instructors. Audio transcripts allow you to visualize the information that you actually speak, rather than what you plan to say. You can then be sure that you have covered all the topics you need and edit out the unnecessary content. This is an opportunity to reflect on whether you are meeting the course goals and objectives a benchmark for tenured instructors. 

Transcribing your course content also makes it easy to reuse course materials from semester to semester. Investing your time and energy now on transcribing all lectures, videos, and other recordings has a big payout in the future.

Grading assistance

As instruction moves to remote learning, many instructors have sought out less traditional ways to test their students’ knowledge, such as student presentations or recordings. Listening to your students’ audio can often be unclear or confusing. Transcripts provide a searchable, visual representation of their message. This will help you assess whether they addressed every topic and skip around to the parts that you missed, making grader both easier and more accurate.

Higher student evaluations

94% of students find interactive transcripts helpful in learning new material, according to the USFSP study. Instructors who listen to their students, adapt their teaching styles, and overall put their students first are likely to receive raving student evaluations. By providing students with helpful study materials such as transcripts, educators will see that both their students’ grades and overall course satisfaction improve, leading to administration recognition and praise. 

As a majority of institutions plan for a virtual Fall 2020, educational tools such as audio transcripts have become increasingly important. Students cannot rely on walking into their professors’ office hours or other in-person opportunities to receive the high-quality education they are used to. Instead, administrations need to turn to the newest technology and tools in education, such as audio or video transcripts, to provide the same esteemed educational programs your students pay for and expect. 

How cielo24 Works with Learning Institutions to Utilize Audio Transcripts

cielo24 proudly works with learning institutions across the United States and beyond to create a seamless and accessible remote learning experience. Our video captions and audio transcripts also help to increase engagement, improve SEO, and increase conversions for your digital content.

Begin captioning course video immediately at less than $1/minute. Contact us for a Free Enterprise trial based around your unique business needs. Or contact us online or call us at 1-855-243-5624.

You can also check out our new standard Audio Description solution, which helps schools meet compliance requirements and includes the audio track and visual description of what is happening in the video.


Nicole E. Flynn, CMO at cielo24, is deeply interested in exploring and communicating the ways in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) intersects with various aspects of our daily lives. She is passionate about exploring the ways in which AI can be ethically harnessed to improve the quality of life and make our world a better place. Nicole seeks to educate and inform audiences about the potential of AI technology and how it can be used to drive innovation and growth.