skip to main content

Leading adult education through support for and the effective application of technology.


Using Video Effectively in Your Instruction

Posted on 3/20/2019

Two people watching video on laptop

Each of us can probably remember a day as a student (and maybe as a teacher) when the entire class period was spent watching a movie. Whether it was a reward or a punishment (depending on the movie), the general consensus nowadays is that this is not the best use of instructional time. So, if you want to use video in class, what would be a better use of video?

There are a number of good reasons to explore the use of video that will support student learning:

  • Video can help build background knowledge on a topic – Students need different ways to learn about a subject, by reading, writing, and talking about it, and audio and video are two more ways that content becomes accessible. A teacher can use short snippets of video to quickly define and explain new things and concepts for students. Here is a short video (with a test at the end) that explains the differences between there, they’re, and their  .
  • Video can enrich text or a text excerpt – Students often need help understanding the context in which something is being presented. Whether it’s a historic event or famous person, or a concept from philosophy or political science, video can help place the new material in context.
  • Video can deepen and solidify student learning – As students are learning new material, a timely video or two in conjunction with text can help students learn the content more thoroughly, giving students the opportunity to process the information in a different way.

When it comes time to deciding what video to use, here are some tips to help you make the right selection:

  • Be selective – Rather than using the entire movie or a long video clip, select the video segment with the greatest impact.
  • Provide a mission – As students are watching a video, have them actively watch to answer a question or focus on the most important information. You might consider using a backchannel tool like Backchannel Chat  to capture student comments in real time.
  • Pause to ponder – Students don’t have to watch the video from start to finish; you can pause at certain points to have students discuss what they have seen so far, check for comprehension, and think about what might happen next. (Edpuzzle  is a tech tool worth exploring to structure pausing and checking in for video clips.)
  • Turn on the closed captioning – Being able to read along as the video is playing can be helpful for many students, not just second language learners. A variation on this theme is to use the transcript of the video so students can follow along; students could also read the transcript ahead of time before watching the video, and then compare what they previously read with what they just saw.
  • Watch the video more than once – And ask students to look for different information or dive deeper into the topic with each additional viewing.

The effective use of video will help your students gain a deeper understanding of the material and provide another modality for students to access your content.

Article: Using Video Content to Amplify Learning

Article: Using Video Effectively in the Classroom

Scroll To Top

OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.