What makes Video Effective for Learning? (+ a How-To Round-Up!)

| June 30, 2011

Have you ever used a video to learn something new?  If so, then you know the advantages and limitations firsthand.  From the  instant learning gratification of a well-produced  tutorial like this video that shows you how to make a frittata, to the bad camera angles and poor delivery of a homemade  how-to, video-based learning is an ever-evolving art-form that encompasses a wide range of content and quality.

Knowing that a broad spectrum of quality and content exists, how do you navigate the sea of choices for use both personal & classroom use?

With this question in mind, here is my list of minimum video requirements:

  1. Credible: Is the material covered legit?  Up-to-date?  What are the source’s credentials?
  2. Well Produced: Quality of both the material AND video production is important!
  3. Relevant: How easily can my students relate to the material and delivery?
  4. Accessible: Is the content appropriate to the age and ability of my students? Are there Closed Captions?  Subtitles? Translation available?
  5. Effective: Is the content structured in easily retainable chunks?  Are there visual cues and lists of steps & materials?
  6. Embeddable: can this video be shared easily across multiple sites and devices?

Here are six vialogues that I feel possess these requirements for effective video-based learning tools:

How to Make a Comet

How to Make a TV-B-Gone Jacket

Good Bacteria vs Bad

How to Calculate the US Unemployment Rate

How to Moonwalk like Michael J.

Uses for Second Life in Science Education

Finally, what is your favorite video for learning?  What is the most important criteria when selecting video based learning materials?  What would you like to see more of in the world of video based learning?