How to use videos as a resource for teaching and learning

In order to use videos for teaching and learning some issues must be considered such as what for can videos be used in education, the pedagogical approach , the type of videos or the format of the course.

Here some tips and testimonials are presented to optimize the process of developing and using videos for teaching and learning.

The right video in the right time is indeed effective in the learning process.

Testimonial by Sílvio Santos, Teacher at The University of Coimbra, Portugal


The videos are a particularly important resource in the teaching activity. In my specific case they are a resource that I use as often as possible because videos give an unusually interesting dimension and greater dynamism to the teaching spaces and the actual classes. It is very interesting to be working with a medium that is part of students’ lives. So it’s something that are close to students at several levels, from the language, etc.

For teachers, videos are particularly interesting as a complement. Often the use of video in certain situations can be extremely clear:  for example, the video may illustrate certain situations, but it also allows to go from the example to the rule, its use for interpretation may be particularly interesting. Sometimes it is much “lighter” than a simple oral description or a scheme. In certain situations, the visualization of the process is ideal in educational terms.

If the videos are used at the right time and in the right situation they are indeed effective in the learning process. Video does not fit all situations and perhaps its misuse turns out in lack of learning benefits for the student, but a video in the right situation can be very interesting, can create another dynamic and call attention, foster attention for longer, or describe as clearly as possible the process. Finally, provided it is used in the right place, videos can be a very effective educational tool.

Connection to the course

Students re-watch more frequently videos with a direct connection to the course assignments and take assignments (What Makes an Online Instructional Video Compelling?)

Testimonial by Carlos Reis, Teacher at The University of Coimbra

Video length

Videos are more engaging if their length is from 0 to 3 minutes. Videos segments to be used by teachers should be ideally less than 6 minutes (Korkut et al. 2015).

Testimonial by Loucas Louca, Chairperson at The Department of Educational Sciences of the European University of Cyprus


Just to mention a very important asset in using these kind of videos in my course designs, the videos should be very short. Less than a minute maybe two minutes. If it’s longer I pause it and we have different kinds of conversations along the video. When I video tape I videotape a whole classroom and then I choose video snippets, to talk with my teachers to be. In order for the video to be used as a tool for thinking, it has to be short.

Multimedia learning principles

There are already evidenced based principles about multimedia learning.

Here will be presented nine principles to reduce cognitive overload in multimedia learning, presented as ways to reduce cognitive overload in Mayer & Moreno (2003).

Principles to reduce cognitive overload in multimedia learning

  1. Modality principle: Better transfer when words are presented as narration rather than as on-screen text.
  2. Segmentation principle: Better transfer when lesson is presented in learner-controlled segments rather than as continuous unit.
  3. Pretraining principle: Better transfer when students know names and behaviors of system components.
  4. Coherence principle: Better transfer when extraneous material is excluded.
  5. Signaling principle: Better transfer when signals are included.
  6. Spatial contiguity principle: Better transfer when printed words are placed near corresponding parts of graphics.
  7. Redundacy principle: Better transfer when words are presented as narration rather narration and on-screen text.
  8. Temporal contiguity principle: Better transfer when corresponding animation and narration are presented simultaneously rather than successively.
  9. Spatial capacity principle: High spatial learners benefit more from well-designed instruction than do low spatial learners.

Integration and interactivity principles

Khan style video tutorials that involve free hand sketching or drawing pictures/concepts on a blackboard while explaining a concept have been found to be very engaging.

Khan style videos allow a change in traditional teacher student lecture as professors present themselves on the same level as the students (Korkut et. al, 2015).

Type of videos

Students re-watched tutorials (i.e. procedural videos) more frequently than lectures (conceptual).

Sophisticated, high quality, professional looking videos with visuals and artefacts were the most engaging (What Makes an Online Instructional Video Compelling?)

Teacher communication competences

Personal touch of the online videos

Acoording Korkut (2015) stated of the art, videos were students can visualize talking heads are more engaging than videos where no professor is shown. The professor’s face provides a personal touch to the video.

Instructor speaking rate

Videos where tutors speak quickly with enthusiasm have more engagement (Korkut et al. 2015).


Videos with the professor’s wit and humor were the most watched (What Makes an Online Instructional Video Compelling?).