3 steps to increase student engagement through video

It’s no secret that students are already connecting through video every day—whether through YouTube or other social media platforms, they are able to source information and collaborate with peers. This movement has seen educators align their pedagogy to match how digital natives seek and process information, making video one of the most exciting and relevant teaching tools available today.

The advantages of educational video

There are a number of reasons to incorporate educational video in the classroom.

First and foremost is the ability to blend traditional learning and the digital space. Video is effective because it allows students to not only engage with the content, but it fully immerses their senses, allowing them to process information better and faster 1. In fact, studies suggest that video accompanied by narration directly correlated with better student outcomes than traditional written material only 1. What’s more, learning through video tackles the obstacle of addressing different learning styles, particularly catering to the visual and auditory learners 1.

It’s clear that this type of learning provides many benefits to students. In summary, video:

  • Increases student engagement and learning motivation
  • Allows students the opportunity to learn at their own pace, at their own time
  • Gives students the ability to revisit content until understanding is achieved
  • Utilises both verbal and non-verbal processing, enhancing memory and learning
  • Harnesses the power of storytelling
  • Addresses multiple intelligences such as spatial, musical, interpersonal and verbal-linguistic 2

For teachers, video is also an efficient source of ready-made content that can be leveraged throughout the year to help save planning and preparation time.

Now that it’s clear why teachers should use educational video in the classroom, the question is how?

Here are three easy steps to get started.

Step 1: Consider your teaching style and the role of video

There are many successful methods to introducing video to learning so the first step is to understand your preferred teaching style, since the role of video will vary accordingly. In this section we will discuss two common approaches: blended learning and flipped classroom.

Blended learning is a method of teaching that combines face-to-face, mobile and online learning 3.

The Department of Education for Victoria conducted a study on blended learning, investigating the advantages and benefits of blended learning in Victorian government schools. In summary, the study found that blended learning enhanced learning outcomes through:

  • Addressing individual’s needs, and allowing for personalisation
  • Increased access to resources, experts and learning opportunities
  • More student driven tasks being incorporated into the curriculum
  • Higher student engagement
  • Greater opportunities for collaboration
  • Exposure to a wide range of web technologies and development of modern literacy skills
  • Giving students the ability to learn anywhere, anytime at their own pace 3

How educational video is used in blended learning: Video is utilised as part of this model to promote students learn at their own pace, at their own time and as many times as they need to process the content. Teachers can use video as part of their teaching or as revision for the students.In contrast, the flipped classroom model allows students to digest content in their own time, and at their own pace first, so everyone comes to class with the same amount of knowledge. Teachers can then use classroom time to explore previously learned content more deeply, and actively engage students in student-centred learning activities 1.

Wiley, Jacaranda’s parent company, conducted research on the flipped classroom and found many benefits for students and teachers. While the study focused on university students, the findings are general enough to apply to secondary school students as well. Specifically, the research revealed that the flipped classroom:

  • Increases students class attendance, learning, and the perceived value in participation
  • Allows for personalisation, catering specifically to individual needs
  • Enables students to learn at their own pace
  • Gives students the ability to revisit content until understanding is achieved
  • Leaves classroom time free for active learning2

How educational video is used in a flipped classroom: Video can be incorporated as a tool for students to independently engage deeply with content. Teachers can then revisit content in class, and students can gain a greater understanding and spark conversations and debate ideas on the topic.

Now that you understand how you’ll use video in your classroom, it’s time to consider what exactly you’re looking for.

Step 2: Know what type of educational video content is right for your classroom

Finding educational video and interactivities that are accessible, with suitable content, and fit the curriculum can be a challenge. The design, pedagogy and structure of the video are essential influences to determine how effective it will be in improving student outcomes 2.

Before incorporating educational video into the classroom, consider these two elements:

1) The lesson(s) that would most benefit from video

While it may be tempting, video isn’t necessary for every single lesson. Start small and focus on a few key areas (topics and/or sub-topics) where video can really enhance a lesson for students.

2) The quality of the videos

While there’s no shortage of content (free and paid), not all is created equal. In general, the educational video content that will be most effective in the classroom meets the following five considerations:

  1. Addresses specific learning objectives and curriculum
  2. Has minimalistic design to reduce cognitive overload
  3. Is ideally under 3 minutes to promote engagement
  4. Has text and highlighted content to emphasise essential learning materials
  5. Includes teacher teacher-based instruction to enhance the content 2

Importantly, content needs to be aligned with the learning objectives and curriculum ─ content for the sake of content may overload and inhibit students’ understanding of the subject. Now, with a clear vision in mind, time to source the content!

Step 3: Find appropriate educational video

If you’re already using digital resources in your classroom, you’re in luck—most titles incorporate some form of media these days, whether video, interactivities, links to external websites or more. Of course, the quantity and quality will depend on the publisher and subject, but it’s worth mining these resources to see what you can leverage given your unique needs.

If you’re still using print, or don’t like what you find, you can still use educational video in the ways described above. However, there will be a few obvious differences since the video will sit outside your core (digital) teaching resource:

  1. You’ll need to put in extra time to search for the videos yourself and ensure they are appropriate for your class (remember to keep in mind the five considerations above!)
  2. The learning experience may not be as seamless for students which, in turn, may dilute the effectiveness of the video
  3. You won’t be able to take advantage of additional functionality that a digital learning platform can provide, such as the ability to assign the video to your students

So where should you look for videos if they’re not part of your resource package? Two obvious places to start include your colleagues and the internet.

If you’re considering YouTube, it’s important to keep in mind that it is a public environment. So while it may be a great source of free video content, it may also inadvertently expose students to inappropriate content, specifically advertisements (typically displayed before the video and the top right hand side) and related videos (typically displayed on the right hand side, under a paid advertisement). YouTube leverages personal data (including email accounts and previous searches) to tailor this content so here are a few tips to avoid this scenario in the classroom:

  1. Log out of your Gmail account (or the Gmail account of the computer you’re using)
  2. Clear your browser cache
  3. Browse incognito if you are using Google Chrome

With no personal information to draw from, there is much less risk of inappropriate content, such as in the example below.


How Jacaranda incorporates video and other media

If you’re using Jacaranda digital resources, you’ll know that media features prominently in every product. From the familiar eBookPLUS, to online games such as Knowledge Quest, our interactive atlases and online tools such as assessON and studyON, Jacaranda believes in the value of video to help engage students and deepen their understanding of key concepts.

Jacaranda’s new eBook for Years 7-10, powered by the learnON digital learning platform, incorporates hundreds of new videos and interactivities, designed for the Victorian Curriculum and Australian Curriculum. Unlike eBookPLUS, media is available at the point of learning—video and interactivities play in situ, so no more opening in a separate browser tab. This enables a more engaging and uninterrupted learning experience for students.

Here’s what you can expect:

Videos – to introduce topics and explain complex concepts

3 steps to increase student engagement through video

Interactivities – to enhance understanding through hands-on engagement

3 steps to increase student engagement through video

Audio files – to assist students with reading and understanding of excerpts

3 steps to increase student engagement through video

Visual glossary – to define key terms using an image to help consolidate understanding (available for Geography only)

3 steps to increase student engagement through video

Beyond the variety of media types, it’s important to note that all media in learnON is designed to engage students and enhance learning, not distract. Teachers can take it one step further when they unlock premium features*. In this environment, teachers and students are connected so teachers can assign all media to students and track these for completion.

It’s clear–teachers love video too

Here’s what Jacaranda customer have to say about the impact of media-rich digital resources on student learning:


St Columban’s College

Natalie McMahon, Mathematics Teacher at St Columban’s College, understands the value of using media: “My students love watching the videos and completing the interactivities to consolidate learning. It really helps the visual learners and makes their learning meaningful and enjoyable. As a teacher it makes planning simple and logical. Thanks Jacaranda!”

Kardinia International College

Cecily Curran, Senior School Humanities Teacher at Kardinia International College, says: “[Jacaranda digital resources] help in delivery of content and cater for students with different learning styles. They offer a diverse range of teaching materials, from the introductory videos to the interactive websites.”

Yes, we love video but learnON has even more features to support teaching and learning. To find out more, please visit our website. To see for yourself how the seamless integration of video and interactivities will provide better student outcomes, take the tour.



Have you used video in the classroom? If so, how? We would love for you to share your experiences with using video with your students – so please let us know by leaving a comment below.

* Premium features require certification by individual teachers. Certification (coming September 2017) will count towards Professional Development accreditation hours.

Source 1: Video-Based Learning – The New Pitch and Resolution of Learning
Source 2: Video-based learning: Current research on benefits and best practices
Source 3: Blended learning A synthesis of research findings in Victorian education 2006-2011