Transcripts: pedagogy beyond accessibility

Applying automatic speech recognition (ASR) to recordings of lectures means students can view the transcripts of the recordings. This process is well-understood in terms of improving accessibility, but there may be some other pedagogical reasons to enable/facilitate the production and availability of transcripts.  

Transcripts of lessons may improve student outcomes in 4 ways:

  • Most lectures involve spoken explanations of ideas whilst students view slides. Effective design of such a presentation acknowledges dual coding theory and minimises the amount of reading the learner engages in whilst listening to the lecturer. But a lecturer may fear that reducing the amount of writing on slides will result in students missing/not hearing key ideas. Providing transcripts remedies this concern and therefore encourages adherence to dual coding principles in slide design.
  • Transcripts engage another sense and mode of learning, facilitating the potential development of elaborative connections in the schema, ‘seeing’ key words triggering memory of heard words. Sometimes a learning sequence can be a lot to take in. Despite paying attention, some things have quickly left the memory. Using the transcript as the primary learning tool and comparing it against the video highlights what bits the student missed the first time round. The combination of the two modes dual codes the knowledge, which then manufactures more potential cues for retrieval. Students then have the ability to be able to explain their understanding in two ways; which facilitates analogy. *
  • Transcripts provide another opportunity to engage with what was heard. Nuthall suggests this is important because it takes more than a single exposure to content for it to transfer into the long-term memory. This in turn facilitates Willingham’s notion that understanding is remembering in disguise, repeated attention to concepts and ideas greatly assisting in the ‘understanding’ of a concept.  
  • Transcripts allow the student to highlight or take notes on key points and ideas, furthering the chance of deepening understanding.

Of course such outcomes are dependent on the quality of the transcript, and if it’s accuracy is checked by the lecturer.   

*Thanks Helen Hinde 🙂 Your example of you creating your own transcript by vigorous notetaking allowing you to see what you may have missed is a perfect example of it being useful. It made me immediately think how much more I would have enjoyed my lectures if I was able to actually sit and listen.

I’m Paul Moss. I’m a learning designer at The University of Adelaide. I’m on Twitter too

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