Whether it be for a flipped, online, hybrid, or face-to-face course, the choices made in designing instructional videos are different for every instructor but the overall process will always look the same. The following strategies will serve as that foundation. We’ve all seen great examples of videos for learning (e.g., Ted Talks) and the intent here is to help you become the great examples. In order to do so, you need to design the videos you create. Designing means making intentional choices for very specific and well-founded reasons.
It’s important that we begin thinking beyond the outmoded view of learning; that learning involves taking information from the teacher and putting that info into the learner as though they were a container waiting to be filled, a process known as knowledge transmission. We want to focus on knowledge construction; that learners actively build mental representations based on what they already know and what is being presented to them, then synthesizing their own meaning.
We also need to recognize the pedagogical advantages of creating and using instructional videos. Evidence-based research on multimedia learning has revealed several key advantages. We all learn at different rates, so giving students control over the schedule and pacing of their learning individualizes the learning experience and increases their motivation to learn. Students can more readily view, pause, and review content giving them a greater chance of not being left behind. If they get stuck during an assignment they have the next best thing to office hours: a clear, concise explanation from the instructor via a video.
Identifying your audience
Of course, students are your audience, but we need to distill this down further, to the baser elements. For example, we may assume that all of our students are coming in with proper foundational knowledge, but we must ask ourselves if this base knowledge is correct or complete. Are they bringing along biases that work against the learning they’ll do in this course? There may be a significant portion of the class that does not have that prior knowledge. Do those students who have that foundation require a quick brush-up of that knowledge? Addressing these questions can help to catch those who may slowly fall behind as the semester progresses. As the questions above would suggest, addressing one issue may address a few others at the same time.
Identifying learning outcomes
The leaning outcome should be the purpose of your video. Typically expressed as knowledge, skills, or attitudes, learning outcomes cue learners in to what they will know or should be able to do as a result of a learning activity. Bloom’s Taxonomy has a fairly extensive table that can facilitate finding the right verbs with which to cue learners in on prioritizing information. Think of the learning outcome as the destination of your video.