3 Ways that Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) Will Improve Your Echo360 Experience!


By Bill Holding

You may not realize it, but you’re probably already using Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) in your daily life today. ASR is fast becoming a common consumer technology through services such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Hey Google, and it is now also a part of Echo360. Built on the same speech recognition engine that powers Amazon’s Alexa, Echo360’s ASR solution is available now through a simple click of a button by an administrator. Better yet, we are including a significant number of ASR transcription hours with every existing Echo360 license and offering affordable pricing for purchasing additional hours for our heaviest users.

ASR automatically creates text transcripts from the audio track in your videos and makes them available for students and instructors to view directly from within our Classroom player. This new capability provides significant new benefits, including a pathway to affordable closed captioning, improved learning, and simplified search and navigation. Let’s take a look at these three powerful ways that ASR will improve the Echo360 experience for all users.

Scalable Closed Captioning

ASR is surprisingly accurate today, even on complex subjects, and it continues to improve as these learning algorithms are used globally. While it does not yet meet the 99% accuracy required by most accessibility laws around the world, it is a good starting point for in-house editing into compliant captions. This has been one of the top requests from our clients who are looking for a more cost-effective and scalable approach to closed captioning, and it is now possible to get started with your own captioning program.

Transcript window (right) and closed caption (under video)

The video transcript files produced by the platform are highly readable and easy to edit and we are working on a built-in editor that will be available soon. There is no reason to wait though. You can get started today by downloading video transcripts into any text editor and simply uploading the edited file into the caption track of the video. Once you do, the transcript will still be available in a separate pane and viewers will have the option of toggling closed captions on and off directly on the video.

Immersive Learning

We have all heard the distinctions between visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners, but modern learning theory tells us that most learners still do better with multimodal learning. That means that watching a video animation and listening to the voiceover is better than either one individually, no matter which kind of learner you are. Now, with the video transcript window, students have yet another way to engage with their content – what we’re calling “immersive learning”.

Highlight moves along transcript with audio

You may have already experienced something similar with Amazon’s Immersion Reading on the Kindle, where you can read and listen to a book at the same time. There is a moving highlight in the text to keep you in sync with the audio. Now with the transcript pane open in Echo360, students can read along with the audio track to any video. There is a moving highlight that helps to keep their reading focus in sync with the video and audio content, and they can even copy phrases out of the transcript into their personal notes.

Immersive learning will open your content up to more learning styles and it may be particularly useful to students with certain learning conditions like dyslexia. ASR transcripts are an easy way to make your video learning content more engaging and effective, and it may make it more accessible as well.

Search and Navigation

Echo360 videos have always been searchable if they were closed captioned, but we know that only a small portion of content is captioned due to the costs associated with it. ASR transcription enables a scalable and cost-effective way to make all videos searchable.

Clickable search results in the transcript window

Not only are transcripts searchable, but the search results are easy navigation links too. You can search for a key term in a video and click through the search results to go to each moment in the video where that term appears. This form of navigation should be invaluable to students as they study important concepts in a course.

We hope you are as excited as we are about the new ASR capabilities in Echo360. Instructors and students will recognize immediate benefits of ASR in the platform and we will continue building out the features associated with it to make it more and more valuable, so be on the lookout for more innovative features in our upcoming releases. If you have any questions about ASR or would like to discuss your ASR package and how it relates to your current usage profile, please reach out to your Echo360 representative or contact us here. As always, thanks for your support!