Provide captions for any prerecorded videos with sound.

How do I comply?

  • Provide open captions (which cannot be turned off) or closed captions (which can be turned on or off) for all of your videos.
  • Closed captions are preferable as they give the learner more control.
  • Captions should be synchronised to the action that is happening in the video.
  • Captions should include any words spoken, identify who is speaking and include any sound effects which are important for understanding.
  • You do not need to provide captions for a video if there is surrounding text which provides the same information. For example, if there is a video of someone explaining a legal process, but the surrounding text also describes that process.


  • You need to provide captions for learners who have a hearing impairment so they can understand what is happening in the video.
  • Captions can also be useful for learners who have a cognitive impairment, or sometimes for second language learners.
  • Providing captions helps people who want to use your eLearning resource but cannot hear the audio because they don’t have a sound card in their computer, or headphones.
  • There are a lot of benefits of using captions in all your resources, not only eLearning. See further information in the Useful links section below.

eLaHub examples

1. Provide captions for an externally hosted video

If you are embedding a video which is hosted on a hosting site (e.g. YouTube or Vimeo), make sure that the video has captions added. Hosting sites normally give you the option to upload a caption file with their video file. Some hosting sites will add automatically generated captions e.g. YouTube (as long as the audio quality is good enough and the English is easy to understand). If you do use automatically generated captions you must always check and edit them. You will always need to add punctuation and correct errors.

Course Arc eLearning module with an embedded YouTube video. Captions appear at the bottom of the video. Underneath the captions are the YouTube functions for videos,including the CC icon to switch closed captions on and off.

Captions added in YouTube

Captions generated automatically by YouTube which contain no punctuation and many errors.

Automatically generated captions with no punctuation and errors

2. Provide captions for an embedded video

Some authoring tools allow you to add caption files e.g. Lectora.

Lectora authoring tool. In the Properties ribbon there is an Add captions field. The developer has selected a captions.xml file to upload.

Add caption file

Other tools allow you to add a caption file and also have a caption editing tool. This allows you to add and edit captions directly into your eLearning resource e.g. Storyline.

Storyline captioning tool. The tool allows you to see the video and add captions below it so that you can synchronise the captions with the action in the video.

Captioning tool

Storyline page with the captions which have been added by the captioning tool appearing underneath the video.

Captions added with captioning tool

How can I test?

  • Play all videos in your eLearning resource without sound and make sure you have an equivalent learning experience to a learner who can hear.
  • Some tools, e.g. Lectora, have an accessibility checker if you select the Use Web Accessibility Settings option for your title.  The accessibility checker  will identify any multimedia objects in your title and ask you to verify that they have synchronised text equivalents.

Further information

WCAG information

Guideline1.2 Time based media
Provide alternatives for time-based media
WCAG link
1.2.2 Captions (Prerecorded) (Level A)
WCAG textCaptions are provided for all prerecorded audio content in synchronised media, except when the media is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such.

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