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Evaluation of the real time captioning program

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Background Information

Real-time captioning (RTC) uses technology to translate the verbal presentation of lessons and classroom discussion into text and display it on an electronic device within seven seconds, providing students with an immediate translation of speech into written text.

RTC was trialled by VDEI in three pilot programs April 2011-December 2014. The second and third pilot programs were funded by the More Support for Students with a Disabilities National Partnership initiative.  All pilot programs utilised voice-to-text technology. RTC was provided as an additional support for senior secondary students who are deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH), to ensure full access to curriculum information and class discussions.


Over fifty secondary school students who are D/HH, from across Victoria, participated in the RTC pilot programs. The students accessing the program attended specialist schools, specialist deaf facilities within a mainstream school, and a mainstream school. The pilot programs provided captioning for each student in two subjects for periods from six months to two years six months.


VDEI contracted the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) at The University of Melbourne to evaluate the effects of providing RTC for students who are D/HH. This study provides a foundation on which to base further research into the use of RTC in schools.

The evaluation methodology was developed in collaboration with sector stakeholders in 2011. The evaluation focused on outcomes relating to: access to curriculum materials, inclusion in the learning process through enhanced access to communication, and home-based learning and literacy levels.

The major finding from the Evaluation of the Victorian Deaf Education Institute Real-Time Captioning Pilot Program 2013 completed by MGSE was that RTC facilitates access to instruction and classroom discourse; which may increase student motivation, facilitate interactions with hearing peers, and support participation in classroom discussion.

Click here to view the executive summary of the RTC evaluation (PDF)   (Word - Docx)