TEACHING NOTES: Videos in teaching – transformation or tragedy?

Much has been written about the use of videos in teaching from helping stimulate student interest and engagement in their learning to providing more flexibility for multimodal learning.  In our March 2017 issue we looked at  how you can create your own videos but this then begs the question:


Am I using videos effectively in my teaching?


Videos can be transformative (see Salman Khan’s TED talk on this) and can also be an integral part of blending or flipping your classroom. They can:

  • inspire and engage students
  • help with mastering learning
  • facilitate thinking and problem solving
  • provide an authentic learning opportunity.


So how can you use video to create the most impact?


Well, it depends in part on how long the video is and its intended purpose.

In the past, recommendations on using video have cautioned against the use of anything much longer than 10 minutes during class. The rationale being that face-to-face time with students is precious and you don’t want to spend it watching videos when they could do that beforehand.


However, a longer video during class may have some benefits IF you implement the following:

  • Prompt students on their focus areas beforehand and the rationale for watching. You can keep a visual reminder of prompts and maybe have an accompanying real-time quiz (e.g. Active quiz or Kahoot) or worksheet students complete concurrently
  • Stop the video as you go to tag or discuss important points. Engage the students in this discussion.
  • Debrief afterwards based on the prompts given – did the students achieve what you wanted in viewing the video?


This all helps to avoid the tragedy of students having to sit through a long and potentially boring video and ensures they are engaged in learning activities at the same time.


There are lots of other ways to think about using video. Here are a few popular ones:


  1. Lecture capture – make the most of it

Love it or hate it, lecture capture is here to stay. At its best it can give students a chance to catch up on missed lectures and revise needed content and the learners’ own pace. But how do you make the most of it, especially when students may have missed a very interactive engaging session that doesn’t translate well to a recording?

Well, Young and Moes (2012) offer some great ideas for using this medium for reflective educational practice. Some of these include:

  • Breaking up the video into “knowledge clips” so that information is bundled. It’s not as long so its more appealing to view.
  • Enriching the clips with extra information (e.g. quizzes, polls, links to other resources)
  • Use video as a basis for a webinar to value-add to the material
  • Consider how else you might include learner interactivity, integration of content and input from students (i.e. how else might they evaluate or create something with the content?).


  1. Desktop recordings – try it

Increasingly popular, a desktop recording allows you more flexibility to create your own content, especially for flipped classrooms. This saves time in searching through potentially hundreds for videos for ‘just the right one’ but will need careful planning and editing to ensure learners’ time is used efficiently.


Remember to:

  • name it well
  • specify its objectives
  • develop (and follow) a script
  • practice!
  • record, then edit


The Educause review – Screencasting to engage learning gives some more tips on use in flipped classrooms also.


  1. Variety – use it

Video can be used in so many ways; to disrupt thinking, challenge preconceived ideas or stimulate interest. Try:

  • Beginning or ending a class with an interesting video to debate
  • Showing only part of a video and ask students what would happen next
  • Creating dissonance by using a video that is contradictory or designed to disrupt students’ thinking.


There are many pedagogical benefits to video – how you use them has boundless possibilities.


For more help, contact  your CILT team here.


Written by Cassandra Hood

Lecturer in Higher Education – CILT

Posted in
Teaching Notes

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