Quickstart: Instructional Video

Teaching Quick Tip: Getting Started with Instructional Video with Carleton’s Dann Hurlbert from Carleton Academic Technology on Vimeo.

What is instructional video?

When designed well and used effectively, short instructional videos can actively engage students with relevant content; these videos can introduce new concepts or deepen understanding of familiar topics.

Why use instructional video?

Dozens of institutions have begun researching the value of instructional video, too. For example, Vanderbilt University’s Center For Teaching offers excellent research on the topic. CFT Assistant Director Cynthia Brame describes “three elements for video design and implementation: Cognitive load, non-cognitive elements that impact engagement, [and] features that promote active learning.” Videos should identify and reinforce key points through signaling, segmenting, weeding, and matching modality.

How to use instructional video

  1. Identify and articulate the desired learning outcome.
  2. Know the method by which you’ll assess the learning.
  3. Create a short script or outline that is broken into 2-3 meaningful cognitive steps.
  4. Consider what visuals will reinforce your desired learning outcomes.

Then, don’t forget to use the various analytics available through your LMS (Moodle) or your video player to Check, Reflect, and Perfect. Check to see who’s watching what parts; Reflect on the viewing patterns and your assessment results, and tweak for next time to Perfect your teaching.


Our faculty have used instructional videos for a multitude of reasons, including introducing conceptual topics, demonstrate how to perform specific tasks, and providing additional insight into complicated topics.


Brame, C.J. (2015). Effective educational videos. Retrieved 11 April 2018 from http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/effective-educational-videos/.

“Pedagogical Benefits.” Retrieved 30 April 2018. http://www.uq.edu.au/teach/video-teach-learn/ped-benefits.html

Woolfitt, Zac. “Effective Use of Instructional Video in Higher Education.” Retrieved 30 April 2018. https://www.inholland.nl/media/10230/the-effective-use-of-video-in-higher-education-woolfitt-october-2015.pdf

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Dann Hurlbert

Media & Design Specialist at Carleton College
Dann Hurlbert, Carleton’s Media & Design Specialist, has an MFA in Digital Cinema from California’s National University and has worked professionally as an actor and director for nearly twenty years, and designed the Little Prompter, a personal teleprompter for faculty and business professionals that is available on Amazon and LittlePrompter.com. He taught film, video production, and theatre for fifteen years and likely stood in your living room as an actor in more than forty national and regional television commercials. He also produced an educational video entitled “How to Write and Produce Your Own High School Musical,” which is currently being distributed by Films Media Group. Dann's a busy guy, and he loves helping others creating powerful instructional videos.

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