The use of video in higher educational settings is accelerating rapidly in departments across all disciplines from humanities, sciences, and arts to continued professional curricula. Video can be used not only for teaching, but also for studying and learning in and outside the classroom.
Video in particular is often attractive as a means to capture lecture content and present direct instruction. Of all the technological components involved in the learning experience, it is often the most visible and the most resource intensive. It is easy then to assume that it will be the most impactful.
It is indeed a powerful medium, but as with anything else, video must be created with an eye for strong pedagogical choices in order to be most effective. Likewise, just as video is one tool in the media toolbox, lecture is one strategy on the instructional palette. Video can also be designed for presenting case studies, interviews, digital storytelling, student directed projects, and more. Choosing the appropriate instructional strategy and pairing it with an effective media format is part of the analysis performed during your course design process.
The aim of this resource is to identify a number of best practices to apply to the kinds of video you might produce as supportive material in relation to students’ learning task to ensure that your video is as effective and engaging as possible.
It is important not to fall into the trap of considering that the use of technology or media is going to be the “silver bullet” that will make students learn or be more motivated. The learning activities that students perform with videos are a critical part of the learning outcomes and motivations (Boyle, 1997). That is, simply presenting information in a stimulating digital video format will not automatically nor necessarily lead to in-depth learning (Karppinen, 2005). Rather it is the pedagogy, the well crafted message, the whole approach, and design that are the critical elements, not the media.
It is the instructor’s task “to create a coherent narrative path through the mediated instruction and activity set such that students are aware of the explicit and implicit learning goals and activities in which they participate” (Anderson et al., 2001, p.6). For the specific design and organization of learning activities with instructional material, answering these questions can help you to plan your lesson:
Download this template to help you plan your lesson with video
Before you even begin to design a video, take time to consider some basic questions.