Video has become a staple format for learning resources in Higher Education. As a content format it is widely used across online and blended programmes, as well as traditional courses serving as an instructional tool for asynchronous learning. Several studies provide evidence for video being a highly effective learning tool (Kay, 2012; Hsin & Cigas, 2013; Noetel, et al., 2021) When integrated successfully into the curriculum, video provides improvements to metacognition, self-efficacy, learner autonomy and collaboration.

Purpose of Video

Video is typically divided into two categories (Miner & Stefaniak, 2018):

  • Information Dissemination: for the learner to passively receive information and build comprehension.
  • Explanatory “how-to”: designed for distinct problem-solving or sequential-step guidance.

The first type, Information Dissemination, enables the designer to have much more control over the content being presented. They are crafted in such a way that reduce any extraneous load and focus on the specific content and learning objectives for that item. They also benefit from the application of multimedia design principles (Mayer, 2009).

That latter serves to deliver Observational Learning (Bandura & McClelland, 1977) opportunities - where learning occurs through observing the behaviour of others and is fundamental to learning and improving retention in the longer term. Observational learning incorporates experiential learning and social cognitive theories to support learners in the application of theoretical concepts.

From the learner perspective, video can increase learner autonomy and self-direction. Students are able to manage their own cognitive load by pausing to take notes, rewinding difficult sections or accelerating through easy ones (Schneider, et al., 2018).


Watch the short video below to see examples of the types of video our faculty have used in their courses:

Further considerations

When designing video content for learning, you might also consider:

Related Documents

The following guidance can be used to support your creation of video content:

If you would like support and assistance with creating video for teaching and learning please contact Learning Innovation.


Bandura, A. & McClelland, D., 1977. Social Learning Theory. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ: s.n.

Guo, P., Kim, J., & Rubin, R. (2014). How Video Production Affects Student Engagement: An Empirical Study of MOOC Videos. Atlanta, GA: USA: ACM. 

Hsin, W. & Cigas, J., 2013. Short videos improve student learning in online education. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, Volume 28, pp. 253-259.

Kay, R., 2012. Exploring the use of video podcasts in education: A comprehensive review of the literature. Computers in Human Behaviour, Volume 28, pp. 820-831.

Mayer, R., 2009. Multimedia Learning. 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Miner, S. & Stefaniak, J., 2018. Learning via Video in Higher Education: An Exploration of Instructor and Student Perceptions. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 15(2).

Noetel, M. et al., 2021. Video Improves Learning in Higher Education: A Systematic Review. Review of Educational Research, 91(2), pp. 204-236.

Schneider, S., Nebel, S., Beege, M. & Rey, G., 2018. The autonomy-enhancing effects of choice on cognitive load, motivation and learning with digital media. Learning and Instruction, Volume 58, pp. 161-172.