The Effects of Captions in Audiovisual Materials on L2 Learners' Listening Skills [article]

Petar Peltekov, University Of Calgary, Mary O'Brien
While captions in audiovisual materials are designed primarily for viewers who cannot hear the audio, they are also frequently used as a learning tool by second language (L2) learners. The beneficial effects of captions on vocabulary learning are well-documented in previous literature. However, it is less clear what effects captions may have on learners' listening skills. To address this question, the present study examined the effectiveness of captioned and uncaptioned videos on L2 learners of
more » ... German during a semester-long experiment. One group of learners (i.e., Group A, N=14) were exposed to captioned videos for five weeks, followed by five weeks of exposure to uncaptioned videos. Other learners (i.e., Group B, N=10) saw the same videos but in a reversed condition (without captions for the fist half of the semester and with captions for the second half). A series of tests (i.e., speech segmentation and word recognition tests, listening comprehension tests, caption reliance tests) were administered at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the semester. In addition, participants completed tests of overall proficiency, reading efficiency, learning styles, and working memory capacity. Moreover, their caption reading behaviours were recorded using eye-tracking technology. Finally, participants completed surveys and oral interviews to share their impressions of the effectiveness of captioned and uncaptioned videos. The results showed that there were no significant between-group differences in the rates of listening development. Group A showed a significant improvement in speech segmentation ability from the beginning until the end of the semester, suggesting the beneficial effects of watching captioned videos before uncaptioned videos. Individual differences in listening development were related to reading efficiency and time spent reading the captions, among other learner variables. Learners had generally positive perceptions about the effectiveness of captions in L2 video materials. The results have impor [...]
doi:10.11575/prism/39766 fatcat:xne3gvf6qncc5iqobdp4pudfai