Using videos in online learning.


The theme for our 2015 E-Learning Masterclass series held in Edinburgh, Dublin and Belfast throughout October was ‘Getting the most out of E-Learning’ and focused on three core topics:

  1. Learning platforms
  2. Creating efficiencies in E-Learning
  3. Using video in E-Learning

Over the coming weeks, we will share with you insights and practical tips from these topics.

In the spotlight this week is using videos in online learning. In this post, we’ll share the rationale for choosing to create different video types, some tips and the formats available.

video 2Why use videos in E-Learning

We are all aware that the more learners are engaged, the more they will learn. Using videos in learning can improve and support E-Learning content. The video takes them from reading or interacting on screen to become immersed with a story or interview and ultimately increasing retention.

  • Engages learners
  • Make topics real and relevant – no longer theoretical, illustrating real world impact
  • Demonstrate process/best practice
  • Motivates and inspires
  • Informs and help memory retention
  • Ability to share on multi-platform
  • Offers just in time learning

Things to consider when using video in E-Learning

  • Keep it simple and short – ideally 3-5 mins. Reinforce messages visually so audio script can be tight.
  • Make it credible – poor quality video can distract and be funny for the wrong reasons.
  • Ensure it’s accessible – make sure that your audience has access to transcripts, sub-titles where necessary.
  • Focus on learning outcomes and key messages – start with the learning objective, key messages, purpose of the video informs the format. What competent behaviour do you need learners to recognise and replicate? Or how can you motivate them about consequences of actions or inactions, not following processes. Reinforce competent behaviour.
  • More than just show and tell – show-and-ask or watch-and-identify. Add questions and activities that requirement watching the video to answer.
  • Think budget and time– anything that adds time, adds cost. Record as much as possible in one location so time not wasted travelling.
  • Opportunity – look at opportunities you have, strong presenter, staff with stories to share, visually engaging locations etc, ideally a two person crew with subject matter expert.
  • No video is an island – weave the videos into your programme design. Include within structure and flow. Consider activities and challenges for learners to complete during or after watching a video.

formats of moviesFormat of videos available

Although not an extensive list, the formats outlined below are those which we regularly use to support content in online learning programmes and some move beyond the traditional norm usually associated with video.

When we are working with clients on developing a programme design, we think of which format of movie or ingredient fits best in terms of learning outcomes, scope, topic, opportunities.

  • Piece to Camera
  • Interview style
  • Mini-doc
  • Tutorial
  • Scenario
  • How to
  • Explainer animation
  • Digital Story


Over the coming weeks, we will explore each video format and detail when to use it as well as outlining pros and cons and some useful tips.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.