Our team at spf.io sat down with our clients to see what others could learn from their success with online course accessibility. Read on to learn about the unexpected bonus win that saved them days of work!
How does a major online learning provider teach digital skills to an international community of learners? Not only do they need to effectively maintain partnerships with charities and organizations, but they also need tools that create inclusive and personalized classrooms. This space in online learning is where spf.io becomes a game-changer for many organizations and online learning communities.
When in-person events were cancelled, one of our clients had the opportunity to reach even more students through a unique online format using webinars and online trainers. Accessibility through captioning was critical to this approach. Our client wanted to prioritize inclusion even as they expanded their reach with new digital tools and platforms. In addition, they knew that captions increase learning engagement, accessibility, and comprehension. Captions make it easier for English language learners to interact with the material, and students with disabilities report that they are extremely helpful (Oregon State University Ecampus Research Unit, 2005).
At first, our client used OBS to stream classes, but the technological learning curve was steep and difficult for many trainers. Tech checks took up to 45 minutes, and trainers were getting burned out. When they switched to StreamYard, they found it simplified streaming, reducing the time trainers needed to prepare and learn the streaming technology.
However, they still needed to find a captioning service. The free one they had used previously could only produce open captions (onscreen all the time with no option to turn them off). It also struggled to handle the variety of accents from their trainers, who come from different parts of the world. These captioning mistakes started to create barriers to learning.
“It got to the point where the captions were more distracting than they were helpful.”
– Client using free captioning tool before switching to spf.io
When they switched to using spf.io, they suddenly had the option to choose a captioning engine that performed much better with their trainers’ accents. Caption quality improved dramatically, and they were able to leverage the tools available within the spf.io dashboard to enhance the accessibility and effectiveness of their programs.
How can you make online courses accessible to a diversity of learners?
Since spf.io integrates with YouTube closed captioning, viewers can choose the caption font colours and sizes they prefer for their courses. Students can also turn captions on and off, giving them the option to choose what works best for their learning style. Although these may seem like minor details, they make a significant difference in terms of accessibility and inclusivity.
“[We] have always had inclusivity at the start and forefront of what we do. All of the content that we create from the visual aspect is always inclusive in the colours that we use, the sizing that we use, that we avoid certain colours clashing with one another. So anyone with colour blindness or any impairments to seeing is able to absorb the content. We also keep the content live on YouTube for 24 hours, so anybody who maybe needs to go back and rewatch it or learn in a different capacity [can]. It’s just to ensure that there’s asynchronous learning available.”
– spf.io client
Using StreamYard and spf.io is a winning strategy
As part of improving their webinars, our client switched to a different streaming software that trainers could use more easily. To create online courses that focused on quality over quantity, they needed a better captioning tool than the free service they had used previously. This started their search for a captioning software that could work with StreamYard and accurately capture their trainers’ field-specific vocabulary and accents.
”We came across spf.io as it was the only way to caption using Streamyard. We’d been using OBS and a free online cloud captioning service which just was not reliable. It became incredibly distracting for users as the captions being spurted out were incorrect a good 20% of the time. So the accuracy we get from spf.io is amazing, and the AI…For example, when the trainer says SEO, we saw that actually [got] captured as opposed to See Ho or something along those lines.”
Changes like switching streaming software can often force organizations to choose a different set of tools that can work with their new platform. Since spf.io is browser-based and integrates with many platforms/providers, it’s easy to scale up with audience size, as well as switch from virtual to hybrid and in-person events.
Choosing a captioning service that serves an organization’s goals (for example, our client’s focus on quality over quantity) creates a better experience for its audience. Using the same tool for captioning and translation across all programs gives them the kind of consistency and quality viewers can come to rely on.
An added benefit of spf.io is that users can train it to recognize specific vocabulary, unlike other automatic captioning tools. Companies can ensure proper spelling and capitalization of names, specialized terminology, and commonly used phrases using this feature. The result is that the more they use spf.io, the better it gets.
A bonus win: Auditing courses quickly and efficiently
In addition to increased accessibility, one of the upsides of online learning is the ability to update coursework quickly. In the rapidly changing field of technology, this ability to keep up with new tools and techniques is critical.
Our client was tasked with updating a set of courses, including a set of 80+ videos, none of which had scripts. The first step was auditing the material. In order to do so, they needed to convert these videos to text. They predicted that transcription would make up a large part of this project, which they estimated would take a few months to complete.
When we heard about the task at hand, we suggested using spf.io’s AVCS technology to autogenerate transcripts. Instead of wasting a month on transcription, they finished the task in just a couple of days by merely uploading their videos into spf.io! The trainers could now use their valuable time working on updating course content instead of listening to hours and hours of video. In addition, we were surprised and excited to learn that AVCS was the difference that saved significant time and hassle for this project.
“In order to do the work we had to transcribe all of the videos, and that’s where spf.io really came in to help us…In the end, to download and reupload and have the transcribe tool work took a couple of days, which was really impressive [and] actually gave our trainers the ability to really focus…It really reduced our timelines down massively with that project because a lot of the heavy lifting [of transcribing] was just covered.”
How does spf.io help you with your mission?
We asked our client how spf.io’s tools help them stand out:
“[We] always [strive] to be inclusive – this starts with the design of the courses themselves from font size and colouring to ensuring the webinars are closed captioned so that everyone can learn.”
“We love the ability that Spf-io gives us from a translation perspective…Having this tool has given us the opportunity to expand to other… projects across the world.”
Note: spf.io offers translation for >60 languages and works for in-person, online, and hybrid events.
At spf.io, we are excited to keep supporting clients with goals like accessibility, digital literacy, equity and inclusivity, and more. We are grateful for the learning opportunities that result from collaborating with partners who can pivot quickly with us to meet the needs of their students.
Interested in hearing how we can help you reach your goals with captioning, translation, and more? Reach out and let us know what you’re looking for!
Spf.io is an all-in-one translation and accessibility platform. Our mission is to make every event accessible in any language.