Didactics in video use and design

Video design for effective learning

Video design can significantly impact learning. According to media principles relating to sensory receptors and memory work load, a short video (2 – 5 minutes), covering 1 topic only, is most effective. Define learning goals at the start, and use images and sound rather than long texts. beware of information overload (no more than 7 items). Visual and verbal information is processed through separate channels. Combining both channels enhances effective information processing and retention. Multimedia (i.e. video) design and effective learning are addressed by the multimedia theory of Richard Mayer (1998). This knowledge clip explains how to design a video with the most effective learning results

Video design and the multimedia principles of Richard Mayer

Aligning video content with learning activities and goals

A video is a one-way medium. The key of successful use of a video is a careful alignment with learning goals and activities. Couple video with pre- or post PBL discussions, collaborative mind mapping activities, or (online) assessment during or following your video, for grading, self-evaluation or knowledge consolidation. Flipping the class room does exactly that: integrating video with in class activities.

Flipping the classroom

Flipping the classroom can refer to reversing the teaching and learning roles or reversing self study and classroom/lecture hall activities. Videos are an excellent tool to support flipping; lectures are recorded or transformed into short clips that students so watch before a session. In class time can be dedicated to Q&A, (collaborative) assignments or PBL discussions. Beware that flipping is time-consuming and involves course redesign. The efforts are well rewarded by a positive impact on face-to-face sessions, with more engaged and activated students, and often, better results.

Video types according to didactic goals


Videos can be categorized according to their didactic goal. Have a look at the overview of video categorized according to their didactic role or goal. At the bottom of each description you find possible production formats. You can click on each format for an example and additional information.

Introduction of a faculty, or program

This is a promotional video, with a professional look and feel. it is geared to recruit potential students.

Possible formats: Talking head with green screen | On location | Animation

Introduction of a course, assignment or program

This video is geared toward students who already enrolled in a study, program or a course. It replaces or contributes to an introductory lesson. The video clip can be used to share learning objectives, guidelines, deadlines, resources and where to find them. It can be a prerecorded clip or filmed in a live setting allowing for Q&A.

Possible formats: Talking head | Talking head with text overlay | Talking head with slides | Talking head with green screen | Talking head with object | Webcam capture | Fictional film

Introduction of a tutor or professor

Engages students and creates a more personal relation with teachers, professors within the program. Useful for large groups of students (and only few high profile professors) or for online students.

Possible formats: Talking head | Talking head with text overlay | Talking head with green screen | Webcam capture | Conversation/interview

Demonstrating a skill - skills clip

To show how something should or can be done.
It can help students prepare before entering the actual a lab (saves costly lab time) or go out to do fieldwork. In the medical field, it allows to demonstrate skills without bothering a patient or asking an actor to come into class. or actor

Possible formats: On location | Skills clip – lab setting | Skills clip –real setting

Prerecording a mini-lecture (10 – 30 minutes).

Students can absorb information better when the lecture is chopped up into smaller segments; watching passively, may then be alternated with assignments or activities.

Possible formats: Talking head | Talking head with text overlay | Talking head with slides | Talking head with green screen | Actual whiteboard | Classroom lecture | Webcam

Explaining a concept - knowledge clip (2-5 minutes)

A short video can cover a basic concept or a difficult part of a theory. It can also take students through a step by step process (e.g. a complicated formula or sum). Depending on the content it can either serve to help students who have difficulties in understanding or provide more in-depth information to students who want to be challenged more.

Possible formats: Talking head | Talking head with text overlay | Talking head with slides | Talking head with green screen | Talking head with object | Actual whiteboard | On location | Animation | Stop motion | Pencast | Conversation/interview

Providing feedback - feedback clip

A teacher shares a pre-recorded clip to provide students with feedback on their assignments, in class contributions or exam questions. In PBL it can replace the pre- or post-discussion session.

Possible formats: Talking head | Talking head with slides | Screencast | Webcam capture | Actual whiteboard | Pencast Kahn style | Pencast written | Conversation/interview | Round table

Interview with an expert

A (series of) interview(s) with one or more experts in the field.

Possible formats: Interview with an expert | Round table

Student generated clip

Replaces or enriches a written assignment or facilitates a students’ demonstration of an acquired theory or skill.

Possible formats: All formats