Some things to consider in order to maximize video use with your learners.

Why video in the classroom?

There are many reasons to use video for learning:

  • Video combines visuals and audio to get a message across very effectively
  • It provides another voice for our learners to hear so we can stop talking so much
  • It allows students to control the pace of what they are learning by pausing, rewinding, or even fast forwarding through content they already know
  • It allows students to access content outside of the classroom if they had to miss a day or if they want a refresher of what they saw earlier

So, why should they watch the videos we choose?

Video can be an excellent way to help our students learn the content of our courses however it is not enough to merely ask our students to view videos.

Every resource we include in our courses helps to tell the story of our course and so we want to make sure they contribute to the story we want to tell!

When we are intentional about the videos we use, we can ensure that they answer to the needs of our students as well as the requirements of our curriculum.

Video: As you watch this short video (1 min), think about the importance of intention when you ask your students to watch videos.

Why should we choose short videos?

Short videos get to the point and stick to it!

Short videos generally do not go past 2 minutes long. They have a high impact on learning because:

  • they help with memory processing by presenting manageable chunks of information at a time
  • they capture student interest
  • they include only the necessary information

Shorter videos are especially important when learning new concepts. The longer a video is, the more easily a student may lose track of the main idea or just stop watching altogether.

Tip – to manage the viewing of a longer video, you can break it down into shorter chunks.

Video: As you watch this short description (1 min, 24 sec.), think about the videos you share with your students. Do they get to the point and stick to it?

What theories support the use of video for learning?

Practically speaking, when we watch a video that has a good balance of what we are hearing with what we are watching, it is easier to take in. If the visuals move too quickly (or too slowly) our brains have a difficult time paying attention to what we are watching.

There is theory that the supports this idea that when sound is well balanced and structured with visuals better learning happens. This short video illustrates that theory in under 40 seconds!

This is a very rudimentary description of the structured sound theory – read this article to delve deeper! The Evolution of Multimedia Sound (Mann, 2008.)

Another implication this has for choosing video is that it is best to choose videos that have supporting audio. Some videos rely only on the visuals and the research suggests very strongly that videos without sound do not have as high an impact on learning as those that have a good balance of audio and visual elements.


Resources created by Tracy Rosen (RECIT Consultant, CSSMI), 2017.

These resources were originally created for a course in Campus RECIT.

Thank you!

If you would like more information about these resources or if you have something you would like to add to this tile, please contact Avi Spector or Tracy Rosen.

All materials are expected to be reused and shared according to this Creative Commons license: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0