What class lessons should be online videos?

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The personal dynamic between students and professors is a valuable component to student learning. But to reach the digitally-focused modern student, a more digitally-focused approach is required. Online videos can enhance the learning process and encourage a deeper connection to content than a student may get from a textbook. Weaving online video into your lesson plans can complement in-class work to pique interest, drive inquiry, expand on concepts or offer alternative explanations. 

While video is a great resource, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to use for every lecture. Here, we cover some important factors instructors should consider when deciding which lessons from a full course will work best as an online video.

Use Video to Teach Difficult Concepts

According to most studies, the maximum attention span of an average adult is 20 minutes. With most college lectures lasting 50 to 90 minutes, a huge gap exists where students are no longer learning effectively or retaining information.  This is especially true for concepts that may already be difficult to understand. Consider supplementing complex lectures with an animated education video to help captivate students by giving a clear visual representation of the lesson. 

In addition, online videos, animated or not, allow students to pause the lesson to ask questions or process the content at their own pace. For some students, a lesson may require multiple viewings to be understood. Online videos can be replayed as many times as needed.

educational video in college lecture

Use Video for Repeat Lectures

Online videos can be a great alternative to standing in front of five different classes teaching the same lesson over and over. The details of the Revolutionary War aren’t changing, but the way you convey the details can. 

If the content of a lesson is unchanging, save yourself and your students from a played out lecture by turning that lesson into a video. Aside from content that never changes, general lessons you teach repeatedly can also be turned into an online video. By using video to supplement your lecture, alterations can be made to other parts of the lesson to cater to variances in classes.

Use Video to Segment Content

Maintaining your students’ attention can be just as difficult for long lessons as it is for complex lessons. Microlearning is a method of content delivery that allows students to consume and digest new information quickly and easily. Any short-form educational learning falls into the microlearning category, however, specifically, lessons should be broken into 5 to 15 minute segments. 

Online videos give you the ability to break down longer lessons into shorter, more digestible segments. Similar to giving students a reading assignment from a textbook, teachers and professors can give viewing assignments from an online video series and open in-class time for deeper discussion. From a talking head video to an animated education video, many video styles exist that would work great for developing a series.   

students watching lecture video

Use Video to Liven Things Up

Let’s face the fact that some necessary lessons are just plain boring, but they don’t have to be. Use animation to liven up a lecture! An animated education video can help captivate students and spark interest even when the subject is less than exciting. 

If you’re unsure, check out this animated video we created to supplement a lecture on early atomic theory. A recent study revealed video has a better processing rate for students ages 14-23, with YouTube being the highest preferred learning tool among Generation Z. Online videos give students real-life connections to why they are learning something, which in turn makes students more invested in learning.

Despite the growing enthusiasm about video learning, teachers and professors are still the most important factor guiding students through the education process. Online videos are a great resource to supplement the learning process without replacing the role of a great instructor. The ultimate goal will always be to encourage students to learn and understand course material; online videos take us one step closer to achieving that goal.