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Using Video For Professional Development – Why Size Matters

The pedagogical benefits of using video in education

There’s much discussion in education about the efficacy of using videos to enhance learning. With the use of videos seemingly everywhere in the digital world, is it a medium that educators should be using to complement their own professional development? Numerous studies, including several meta-analyses, confirm the effectiveness of videos to enhance learning.

But what are the video features that educators should look out for when using this medium for their own learning, or as a tool in the classroom to enhance learning effectiveness?

Short and Sweet

Short videos are more engaging than long ones. One study analysed 6.9 million video watching sessions. Those under 6 minutes were watched all the way through nearly 100% of the time. The researcher concluded that videos longer than 6 - 9 minutes in an educational setting are likely to be a wasted effort.

Cognitive Load Considerations

Videos with too much information and too many learning outcomes are ineffective. Less is more. Additionally, if the information is chunked or segmented, it's easier to digest.

Active Learning

Videos that get viewers actively participating with the material through the use of interactive elements, questions and calls to action increase engagement.

The Personalisation Principle

A formal tone is less effective than a conversational one. Conversational tones are seen as more authentic, and it's authenticity that’s engaging and will keep people watching and aid learning.

Rate of Speech

Videos where the presenter or voice-over artist speaks relatively quickly and with enthusiasm increase viewer engagement.

Flipping the Classroom

Flipped classroom learning is more effective when the pre-class activities include video.

What This Means For Educators

So if educators are serious about their own professional development, or the engagement and motivation of their learners, understanding what works and doesn’t work with this medium is imperative.
Remember, videos that are engaging and aid learning:

- Are less than 6 minutes in length

- Consider cognitive load

- Encourage active learning

- Are conversational and authentic

Contact Tara on Twitter: @TaraWalshNinja

*In the research for this blog, more journal papers were consulted than are referenced. If you’d like a full reference list, please contact the author.

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