Instructional Video Questions


I create a lot of how-to videos for my students. I enjoy doing it and the students generally tell me they’re useful. However, recent personal experience with how-to videos in a course I’m taking has led me to really think more critically about video best practices.

First, let me explain:  I love the course topic and I’m highly motivated to learn the material.  Part of that course requires me to learn how to use a specific technology tool.  To support that, the instructor has created a number of how-to videos.  I think he’s done a credible job. Yet, I keep mentally tuning out. I don’t even realize I’ve done it until a quiz question pops up, pausing the video.   I think one problem is that I learn tech stuff quite easily so the pacing is not working for me and the pausing is killing my flow.  The video technology can let me control the pace a bit. The built-in quiz questions can be skipped, but I never know when the question might be important!  Unfortunately, since the questions are more about keeping the viewer’s attention, they’re not the best/most relevant questions.

To summarize, my concerns are related to instructional design choices and their impact on:

  • pacing and whether the same how-to video can be useful to someone who finds the topic challenging and someone who finds it fairly easy
  • control and what interferes with exerting that control
  • interactive video options, their relationship to pacing & control and their use solely for purpose of holding attention
  • achieving flow  and how embedded quiz questions significantly reduce the possibility of getting in the zone when learning how to do something new!

I don’t have answers (yet), but I’m going to re-research instructional video best practices with an eye toward the intersection of control and pacing, interactive video, and flow in how-to videos for adult learners.

Do you have some insight or comment you’d like to share?  I’d certainly like to hear from you.

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