VoiceBox, Part of Wolfestone Group

Have you ever considered the impact that subtitles can have? New research seems to suggest that countries that choose to subtitle English-language TV shows and films instead of dubbing them produce citizens with better English-language abilities.

For example, more than 80% of people from the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, countries which subtitle even children’s films and TV shows, say they can hold a conversation in English.

When you compare this to a country like Germany, which significantly prefers dubbing, that falls to below 60%.

We previously wrote about the many reasons why certain countries prefer one method over the other, with historical and cultural factors all playing a part. But which method is better? Sure, subtitling seems to be the secret to English language-learning success, but which method should you consider using for your project: subtitling or voice over?

An eLearner studying hard in front of her laptop

The rise of e learning

The advancement of technology has been so rapid in recent years that many of us may have barely noticed it. We now take for granted the integration of technology in our daily lives, so much so that it’s hard to imagine life before smartphones, online banking and modern healthcare.

The eLearning industry is booming, proving itself as indispensable in today’s fast-paced world. Indeed, Research and Markets predicts that the eLearning sector will go on to triple its $107 billion revenue of 2015 and will grow to $325 billion by 2025.

You’d be forgiven at this point for asking: what exactly is eLearning? Simply put, eLearning is a method of delivering educational and training materials using digital technology and electronic tools, such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop.

Learning revolutionised

It’s no secret, then, that the benefits for both providers and learners are numerous. Firstly, it has been estimated that businesses who adopt eLearning methods, small and large alike, can save a significant amount of money; as well as cutting the costs of training venues and teachers, Training Mag reports that businesses could save up to 80% in printing costs, translating to thousands of pounds of savings a year. Furthermore, eLearning can transform the learning material into something that is personalised and engaging, leading to better-informed and more confident learners.

From the point of view of the learner, eLearning makes the material more portable than ever. Now, eLearning can be worked into the daily commute, accessed from abroad or simply take place from the comfort of home. If convenience is king, eLearning has revolutionised learning forever.

The secret to a successful eLearning project?

What, then, is the secret to producing successful eLearning material?

A high-quality voice over is key for captivating and engaging the learner, as well as educating them. What’s more, if you have an international workforce that speaks various languages, investing in multilingual voice over can ensure that your material is wide-reaching, impactful and professional.

74% of people use mobile devices for eLearning

On the other hand, subtitling is ideal for a project on a budget given that it is significantly cheaper than voice over. On top of this, it’s undoubtedly the best option if you have a tight deadline, since the turnaround time for a subtitling project is much shorter than that of voice over. This is because, once translated, it’s incredibly simple to insert subtitles in multiple languages onto your eLearning videos – meaning that you don’t have to produce several different videos if you want your learning materials to be multilingual.

Accessibility is the answer

However, did you know that many eLearning courses and materials are simply not accessible to those who are visually impaired or hard of hearing? If you truly want to produce high-quality learning material, it’s imperative that you consider the needs of all of your users.

It’s important to understand that, for those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, subtitles provide an invaluable service. They are crucial for ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to not only engage with the learning materials, but to excel.

Moreover, voice over is essential for those who have visual impairments and, like subtitles, will ensure that all learners are on a level playing field.

Making your eLearning materials fully accessible doesn’t have to be complicated. Investing in creating an eLearning course that integrates both subtitles and voice overs will break down the barriers that many people who have vision or hearing impairments face every day.

We know you’ve worked hard on your learning material – that’s why it deserves to be accessible to everyone.

At VoiceBox, we’re experts at taking your eLearning to the next level. Just get in touch to find out how we can help.