Guest post – DigiLearn Sector: A picture is worth a thousand words… and a video is worth a million pictures (Ankala Subbarao)

Published by Caroline Carlin on

Author: Beverley McCormick – Advisor, ClickView 

During the last two years, the consumption of video as a valid means for supporting learning has skyrocketed.  As the nation downloaded video on a scale never seen before, the quest to seek out and use higher quality digital media content also grew.  Many teachers demonstrated their digital prowess by creating their own attention-grabbing videos, while others made use of pre-recorded high-quality content.  Of course, this not only took time, but also raised many questions about what exactly constituted a good quality educational video.   

For some, it was the need to entertain or hook the attention of learners before entering into the lesson.  For others it was to create a learning opportunity that they themselves could not provide, such as providing specific information relating to a topic that might previously have been obtained through a field trip or classroom visitor.  Others simply used video to bridge the gap between the classroom and home during periods of remote learning, through a ‘see and do’ approach. 

There is no denying that video has found a place in today’s classroom, but we must recognise that engaging learners through video is a process that must be carefully planned if learning opportunities are to be successful.  By considering the group of learners, the objectives of the lesson, and using a tested pedagogical approach, it’s not that difficult to use video in a lesson and reap the benefits. 

Here are my top tips to consider when wanting to use video in your lessons.  Consider the following: 

  1. Duration of video – Too short, and you may not be able to share all of the relevant information. But too long, and you may lose the attention of your learners.   
  1. Relevance of content to your lesson– Is the video relevant in entirely to your lesson? If not, choose a better video or simply show only the relevant part. 
  1. Relevance to audience – If your video was recorded in the 1990’s and uses language that is unfamiliar or visuals that are distracting from the objective of the lesson, think about using a more up to date recording. (Do we still use VHS recorders in schools?) 
  1. Quality of production – Poor audio or visuals are highly distracting for the viewer.  Always try to get a high-quality production that you know your audience will enjoy. 
  1. Benefit to lesson – Think about the benefits that using video brings to your lesson.  There are many, but make sure that you know why video brings an added dimension to your lessons. 
  1. Engage the learner – Create opportunities for your students to learn from the content, through interactive learning activities. Ask questions to reflect on the content, or complete a problem-solving task using what they have learned from the video. The opportunities to turn passive watching into active learning are endless! 
  1. Keep it conversational – Research demonstrates that a conversational and enthusiastic tone keeps learners engaged. 

And of course, make sure that you watch the video before using it in your lesson.  If you are streaming from an online source, you never know what nasties could be revealed in the middle of the video. 


Brame, C.J. (2015). Effective educational videos. Available from: 

Guo, P. J., Kim, J. and Rubin, R. (2014) How video production affects student engagement: An empirical study of MOOC videos. Proceedings of the first ACM conference on Learning @ scale conference. March 4-5, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. New York, NY:ACM, 41-50. Available from:  


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