Go back

Instructional Videos for Online and Hybrid Courses

The Department of Distance Education is committed to the quality of online and hybrid courses offered at Austin Peay State University. One way we support this is through the curation of quality instructional media.

Video has become an important part of higher education. Several meta-analyses have shown that technology can enhance learning (e.g., Schmid et al., 2014), and multiple studies have shown that video, specifically, can be a highly effective educational tool (e.g., Kay, 2012; Allen and Smith, 2012; Lloyd and Robertson, 2012; Rackaway, 2012; Hsin and Cigas, 2013). 

Here is a quick look at what you will find in the below best practices for instructional video:

  • Keep the video brief and targeted on learning objectives
  • Use audio and visual elements to convey appropriate parts of an explanation; make them complementary rather than redundant
  • Use signaling to highlight important ideas or concepts
  • Use conversational, enthusiastic style to enhance engagement
  • Embed videos in a context of active learning

Based on the premise that effective learning experiences minimize extraneous cognitive load, optimize germane cognitive load, and manage intrinsic cognitive load, we promote three effective practices for video development.

  • Signaling, also known as cueing is the use of on screen text or symbols that highlight the important information.
    • Examples: keywords on the screen, changes in color to emphasize information or relationships
  • Segmenting is chunking of information to allow learners to engage with small pieces of new information as well as give them control over the flow of new information.
    • Examples: short videos (7-9 minutes or less)
  • Weeding is the elimination of interesting but extraneous information from the video, that is, the information that does not contribute to the learning goal.
    • Examples: eliminating music, eliminate complex backgrounds

One of the most important aspects of creating instructional videos is to include elements that help promote student engagement. If the students don’t watch the videos, they can’t learn from them.


Research shows that the median engagement time for videos less than six minutes long is close to 100% (Guo et al., 2014). Videos 9-12 minutes long had 50% engagement while videos over 12 minutes dropped to 20% engagement. 


Tips on increasing student engagement:

  • Use conversational style which promotes social partnership with the student
  • Speak relatively quickly and with enthusiasm
  • Make sure the material feels like it is for these students in this class

To help students get the most of an educational video, it’s important we provide the tools to help them process the information and monitor their own understanding.


Ways to do this in your video include:

  • Use guiding questions
  • Use interactive features that give students control
  • Integrate questions into the video

Instructional videos can be those that you create yourself or those that you curate from online sources.  If you are interested in:


  • YuJa Media Management is used to create, host, manage, and edit video and audio files.  It can also be used to store, manage, and share a large spectrum of other digital assets like images, documents, and more.  Videos are auto captioned.  Content stored in YuJa is easily added to D2L through the YuJa Media Chooser option under Insert Stuff.

  • Zoom, while mainly used for web conferencing, is also a great option for video creation.  Zoom allows for one-on-one and group online meetings using video and/or audio.  It has whiteboarding, polls, groups, chat, and screen sharing all of which can be used in recording your own videos.

  • Camtasia Studio* is a screen recording and video editing software. Camtasia lets you record your screen and voice as you demonstrate applications on your computer. If you’re using the PC version of Camtasia, you can use the PowerPoint plugin to record and share your presentations.  You can request a license by completing the Distance Education Request Multimedia Software License form (opens new window).

  • Snagit* is an easy, reliable platform that captures screenshots and records videos and audio files. With a very robust and feature rich screen capture and screen recording software, instructors are able to easily get their point across without having to spend a significant amount of time to prepare a traditional presentation. You can request a license by completing the Distance Education Request Multimedia Software License form (opens new window).

*Software installations on APSU computers require administrative access to the computer.  You will need to request the software license from Distance Education using the linked form above and also contact GOVSTECH to have it installed on your work computer (opens new window).

Allen WA and Smith AR (2012). Effects of video podcasting on psychomotor and cognitive performance, attitudes and study behavior of student physical therapists. Innovations in Education and Teaching International 49, 401-414.

Hsin WJ and Cigas J (2013). Short videos improve student learning in online education. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges 28, 253-259.

Kay RH (2012). Exploring the use of video podcasts in education: A comprehensive review of the literature. Computers in Human Behavior 28, 820-831.

Lloyd SA and Robertson CL (2012). Screencast tutorials enhance student learning of statistics. Teaching of Psychology 39, 67-71.

Rackaway C (2012). Video killed the textbook star? Use of multimedia supplements to enhance student learning. Journal of Political Science Education 8, 189-200.

Schmid RF, Bernard RM, Borokhovski E, Tamim RM, Abrami PC, Surkes MA, Wade CA, and Woods J. (2014). The effects of technology use in postsecondary education: A meta-analysis of classroom applications. Computers & Education, 72, 271-291.