The use of videos in the classroom can be an effective way to help students better understand the material being taught. It gives students a visual of the content and helps the teacher do more showing and less telling. Videos can also be a way to deepen students’ understanding, spark interest, or clarify any questions. Below you will find more reasons why instructional videos are a good vehicle for learning, learning strategies for instructional video viewing, and some web tools that will help you with your instructional video planning.

Why are Instructional Videos a Good Vehicle for Learning?

Instructional videos can serve many purposes in the classroom. For starters, they can help hook the audience (your students) on a new topic. Lead into a new unit with a video clip and have the students guess what you will be studying next. Additionally, instructional videos help to increase student engagement during all parts of a unit. They can help otherwise dull content come to life, they can help students who are uninterested connect to the material, and they can add variety to a lesson. Not to mention that videos can be used for any subject, any grade level, and any type of learner.

Learning Strategies for Instructional Video Viewing

There are many learning strategies for using instructional videos. They can be used to differentiate the material being taught. Students with no prior exposure to the concept at hand can be assigned an intro video while students with prior knowledge can watch a more detailed or complex clip. Videos are also nice for differentiation because students can pause, rewind, or stop the video so that it is running at their desired pace. This also allows for students to watch the video multiple times if they just aren’t understanding what they are supposed to be learning or need to take a second look.

Instructional videos can also be more engaging for students than listening to a long lecture for a few different reasons. For starters, it helps break up the lesson. Instructional videos can include exciting graphics, clarifying captions, and filters that draw the audience in. When used during instruction, this can help refocus students and keep them engaged.

Simply playing an instructional video may not be enough to engage students. Educators will need to be specific with their purposes for implementing a video. Before playing the instructional video, turn students’ attention to the goal at hand. “While you watch, pay attention to…” Teachers can require students to take notes, write down key ideas, or look for a specific topic that is mentioned. This helps keep students from zoning out and gives them a clear purpose for why they need to watch.

Instructional Video Tools


There are many web tools available out there to help you get the most out of the instructional videos you choose to use in the classroom. One such tool is called Vialogues. Vialogue, which stands for ‘video plus dialogue’, is for online videos but includes a group discussion feature. Students can interact with the videos by adding comments that appear in a time stamped order. Teachers can use this as a way for students to respond to posted questions, reflect on what they see, or comment with any thoughts they have. It is also unique because not only can users add their own videos, but they can search for videos (climate change, wars, even Beyonce…) and add comments to those videos too.


Edpuzzle is a fan favorite among many in the educational world. It holds students accountable by tracking if they are actually watching their assigned video, how long they spend in different sections, and if they are comprehending what they are learning. Teachers can add voice comments and questions throughout the video that students need to pause and answer before going to the next section. Users are able to upload their own videos, or use already made videos (Khan Academy, YouTube, etc). This website’s basic version is free for teachers and students.


Another great instructional video tool is called Hapyak. This engaging video tool allows users to annotate their videos from YouTube or Vimeo and create multiple choice quizzes or free-text questions. You are able to add text anywhere in your video, insert links, or overlay an image. You can also share commentaries and link any specific moment in your video for easy viewing.


Blubbr is one last instructional video tool that deserves a nod. This tool lets users create quizzes on top of YouTube videos. These quizzes, which are called Trivs, can be designed to be used while the students are watching the clip or after it is over. What is unique about Blubbr is that feedback is given to students after every question they answer. This way students can monitor their own understanding of the content and know if they need to focus a bit deeper on the material at hand.

The use of videos in the classroom can be an effective tool to better engage students on the material they are learning. The visual aspect of videos allows the teacher to do less telling and more showing. Videos not only deepen student understanding, but spark interest and help to clarify questions. They are a great vehicle for learning and worth implementing into any lesson, on any subject, on any given day.