The effect of adding same-language subtitles to recorded lectures for non-native, English speakers in e-learning environments

  • Gordon Matthew Faculty of Humanities, School of Languages, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark Campus, Gauteng, South Africa
Keywords: same-language subtitles, e-learning, cognitive load, performance, information accessibility, non-native speakers


Globally, online (or e-learning) environments are growing in popularity in schools and universities. However, the language of instruction in these environments is mostly English. This is a problem as most of the students enrolling into online learning environments in South Africa are non-native English speakers. For these students, English is their second or sometimes third proficient language, which puts them at a disadvantage while accessing information for certain modules. A possible solution is to add same-language subtitles (SLS) to recorded lectures in these online environments to facilitate student learning. Unfortunately, previous studies provided no conclusive evidence of the advantages or disadvantages of adding SLS to a recorded lecture with regard to performance.

The participants in this study1 were first-year students (n = 64) in Academic Literacy, majoring in Economics. They were non-native speakers of English with an average English proficiency and were divided into four groups. Each group watched the same recorded lecture in one of the four presentation modes (PMs) (audio, video and video with two types of subtitles). The findings of the study showed no significant effect either on performance or on perceived cognitive load for the students watching a recorded lecture with added subtitles compared to watching without subtitles.


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How to Cite
Matthew, G. (2020). The effect of adding same-language subtitles to recorded lectures for non-native, English speakers in e-learning environments. Research in Learning Technology, 28.
Original Research Articles