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Capturing the power of videos in teaching: Some tips and tools

The use of videos in teaching has become increasingly popular in recent years. The benefits of using videos in learning and teaching go beyond simply recording lectures. Supplementing and enhancing students’ learning experience synchronously and asynchronously, videos promote inclusivity, interactivity and active learning. Videos also offer visual and auditory demonstrations and explanations for complex concepts as well as provide access to specialist information in an economical and time-effective way. More notably, videos can effectively support a ‘flipped classroom approach’ by offering greater interactivity amongst peers through discussions, group work, and meaningful problem-solving or jigsaw learning activities during class time. The availability of transcripts, time shifting and speed control in videos also provides students with greater control over their learning. Although video creation is quite time-consuming, well-designed videos can be used, re-used and personalised to support and enhance student learning experience. 

Tips to structure videos for teaching

  1. Length: An ideal educational video should be shorter than 12 minutes and no longer than 20 minutes. Although most learners stop watching a video after 6 minutes (Guo et al., 2014), the addition of interactive elements to the videos can expand their attention span a bit longer (Geri & Winer, 2017). However, there is no hard and fast rule for video length as it depends on teaching disciplines and contexts. It is more important to ensure that the video is compelling, engaging, and purposeful so that learners can meaningfully engage with the content – even just by notetaking and making a question or a comment.
  2. Segmentation based on learning objectives: It is vital to break down a long pre-recorded lecture into a series of connected short and succinct videos or “chunks”. A typical video series can start with one introduction video, some short videos based on learning objectives, and finally one concluding video. Sequencing the natural breaks of the video will provide learners with greater timing and replaying control and aid their cognitive processing (Mayer, 2014). Chunking also opens up opportunities for learners to reflect and engage better with the video content.
  3. Video format:  Whilelecture recording or lecture capturing is the most popular video format, instructors may also explore other styles such as an interview or a Q & A session with a guest lecturer, animations, demonstrations, mixed media narration, news reports, pocket documentary clips, research highlights and so on. The use of various video formats will engage students, but you should decide which format is best suited for the teaching purposes or the expected learning outcomes. 
  4. Recording and presentation styles: For recording a talking head style video, all you need is yourself, a camera and a microphone; you can then add some graphics, animation or text to spice up the video and make it more engaging. 
    How you present your content is important:
    – Use conversational rather than formal language during multimedia instruction (Mayer, 2021)
    – Speak relatively quickly and with enthusiasm because fast speaking rate can increase student engagement (Guo et al., 2014).
    If it suits your teaching context better, consider other recording styles including webcam and slides, slide-only presentations, screencast (with screen recording software), light board or white board (for an organic look!), paper easel (with pre-drawn paper sheets), and flat screen (with a TV and a remote clicker and virtual post-it notes).
  5. Make the video accessible to students: Include speed control button, transcripts and audio descriptions for ease of access. Use high-contrast colours and avoid flashing images to make the learning experience more inclusive (Stanley, 2023).
  6. Make the video interactive and engaging: Add interactive elements or “click forward” pauses within a video. These pauses can be a question, poll, quiz, game or any other interactive activity for prompting students to click forward after completion (Brame, 2015). Include automatic feedback and end each segment with a summary of key points reinforcing learning objectives. To this end, please consider using the ANU tools below.

ANU tools for creating and editing videos

When choosing a tool, considerations should include:

  • The purpose and format of the video
  • Privacy of information (ANU supported tools are recommended)
  • Accessibility and student experience
  • Ease of use to create and update video content 
  • If creating interactive content – activity types, ability to provide automated feedback, functionality to track completion, and ability to review student responses.

While Echo360 remains the preferred hosting tool for ANU video content, it is also essential to refer to the following tools which are available to support the creation of instructional videos at ANU. For information about accessing these tools, please visit Digital tools for learning and teaching

      ToolTrim & cutChunk & combineAdd title slidesAdd voiceoversAdd music tracksScreen capture/ recordingAdvanced editing featuresAdd interactive activities
Echo360   √ (Universal Capture) 
H5P interactive video      
Windows Video Editor      
Premiere Rush (Adobe)   
Premiere Pro (Adobe) 

If you need support for short video content creation, please contact the Communications Team of the Centre for Learning and Teaching via this form or join the AV Monthly Meet-Ups.

For further assistance in adding interactive elements or closed captions into educational videos, please contact the CLT – EdDesign Team at

February 2023

Dr Nguyen Bui, Melinda Drummond and Claire Brooks – Education Design Team, ANU Centre for Learning & Teaching 

Brame, C.J. (2015). Effective educational videos. Retrieved on 27th Feb 2023 from 

Geri, N., Winer, A., & Zaks, B. (2017). Challenging the six-minute myth of online video lectures: Can interactivity expand the attention span of learners?.Online Journal of Applied Knowledge Management (OJAKM), 5(1), 101-111.

Guo, P. J., Kim, J., & Rubin, R. (2014, March). How video production affects student engagement: An empirical study of MOOC videos. In Proceedings of the first ACM conference on Learning@ scale conference (pp. 41-50).

Mayer, R. (2014). Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning. In R. Mayer (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning (Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology, pp. 43-71). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9781139547369.005  

Mayer, R. E. (2021). Evidence-Based Principles for How to Design Effective Instructional Videos. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 10(2), 229-240. 

Stanley, T. (2023). Inclusive and Accessible Social Media Guide: A guide for social media content creators. Retrieved on 27th Feb 2023 from