This blog was co-authored by David Yeats and John Gaspar with special thanks to Phil Betts for the workshop material.

Improving video lectures is no small task, but there are some basic steps you can take to get started. Before you even start to think about improving video lecture engagement, remember that change takes time so the emphasis should be on iterative work over instantaneous results. That means simply work with what you have!

That said, if you feel like something challenging, you might want to combine these steps with some alternative ways of creating video lectures.

Let me take you through a process for translating lectures for online delivery, with a focus on simple framing for added impact.

1. Structure and segment your video lecture content

Many of the techniques you’re likely use to structure your on-campus time are also effective in the video format, while online asynchronous learning introduces some additional capabilities. Structural benefits to student learning can be achieved by ‘segmenting’ – breaking down a long video into a series of connected short videos. These can then be bookended with outlines, notes, activities and exercises.

Look at one of your lectures and identify the natural break points – where do you change topics, or move from one key point to another interrelated point?

Download the Improving Video Lectures Worksheet to get started. To find out more about structuring videos, hop over to the LX resource page Structure and segment your video lecture content.

2. Introduce and frame your video content

Once you’ve identified the structure you’d like, consider how you might frame these segments to encourage students to move from a passive form of learning (“I sit and absorb information”) to a more active form of learning based on embedding understanding of the explicit learning goals (“I know why I’m being asked to watch this video/engage with this activity and can build links to other aspects of this subject”).

In many cases this is just adding a bit of a text prompt to clarify why this particular video is being used here. This can help orient the students to the topic and reduce the cognitive load.

Why have you included this video? Make your thinking, the connections, and the learning design explicit with layout/textual signposts in Canvas (e.g. embed the video below an introductory paragraph of text) or verbal signposts in the video (e.g. mention learning outcomes at the beginning and summarising them at the end).

Some signposting examples:

  • Set expectations – ‘In this video we look at…’
  • Contextualise – ‘Earlier we learned… now…’
  • Foreshadow – ‘This idea will influence…’
  • Justify – ‘It’s important to understand this because…’
  • Challenge – ‘What do you think…?’
  • Activate – ‘At the end of the video you will be asked to…’

For more advice, check out our LX resource on how to Introduce and frame your video content.

3. Design learning activities in and around content videos

Now think further about any online activities you could use before or after a video to help students activate and apply their learning. This is going to get students to move from a passive absorption of the video, to more active engagement with the video.

What are some simple activities your students can do to engage with or apply the concepts? What did you do on campus? Is there an online equivalent? This can be rhetorical (reflective questions and prompts), or a technology-aided activity (eg. discussions, quizzes, polls etc.)

How much work will it require from you to monitor and support? Consider the workload implications of supporting – could you crowdsource? Could students find and share examples?

Here are some examples of how you can use activation to frame your video, based upon what’s possible in the UTS tech ecosystem.

  • Before the video – pre-video instructions; a pre-poll using H5P or Mentimeter to gauge their understanding of a concept
  • In the video – the video itself; a Kaltura quiz to pop up during the video to highlight key moments
  • After the video – a Comment Box or Discussion to share thoughts on the topic post

For more on this step, take a look at the LX resource Design learning activities in and around content videos.

Upcoming events

If you’d like to learn more and get you hands dirty by co-creating a plan for your video lectures with us, come along to one of our upcoming events:

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