Educational video for large classes


Research into the effective use of video suggests that when it comes to student achievement, “video type” is less important than “video design”.

When considering what kind of educational video designs to incorporate into subjects with large classes, the important questions to keep in mind are:

  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • What is your pedagogical intent?
  • What are your desired learning outcomes?

The flexible academic programming work streams offer you the chance to work with a learning designer and a video producer to help clarify these aims and pair them with well-designed videos.

You can access more examples and research on this topic by exploring the educational video matrix resource.


  1. Presentations

    Using presentations in large subjects

    Effective face-to-face lectures can motivate, stimulate and challenge students. They frequently alternate between didactic presentation and in-class activities incorporating social interaction and activity.

    In large subjects, redesigning a live lecture as a series of shorter video presentations can allow flexibility, provide potential enrichment of ideas or concepts, and help with review and revision

    To better reflect the range of interactions that occur within a face-to-face lecture, these short presentations can be further enhanced with short in-video quizzes, online discussion activities or followed up on in class.

    Example resourcing

    An example design that is achievable for a large twelve-week class with FlexAP resourcing might aim to provide an introductory video and one or two carefully crafted short presentations each week, each focusing on foundational concepts or key skills.

  2. Demonstrations

    Using demonstrations in large subjects

    Demonstrations are useful for modelling processes or effects so that students can learn from observation. Video offers the further advantage of allowing students to see an aspect of the material that they otherwise wouldn't be able to see.

    In large class settings, filmed demonstrations are often used to provide foundational training before students are introduced to hands-on laboratories or workshops. This can allow for a more efficient and more meaningful use of valuable face-to-face time.

    Example resourcing

    An example design that is achievable for a large twelve-week class with FlexAP resourcing might aim to provide a fortnightly technical demonstration video filmed under controlled studio conditions, paired with a well-designed short presentation focusing on foundational concepts or key skills.

  3. Interviews

    Using interviews in large subjects

    A video-recorded interview with an expert is one of the most popular video formats for educators venturing beyond traditional directed-instruction styles of video making.

    Large subjects often rely on a range of supporting or guest lectures, and interviews with subject matter experts offer a sustainable, alternative option for bringing a range of perspectives into the classroom.

    Example resourcing

    An example design that is achievable for a large twelve-week class with FlexAP resourcing could incorporate a weekly short presentation focusing on foundational concepts or key skills paired with a relevant excerpt chosen from an interview with a subject matter expert.

  4. Talking heads

    Using talking heads in large subjects

    Recorded interviews can be planned to provide ‘soundbites’ or ‘talking heads’ – self-contained verbal answers, delivered to an unseen interviewer just off screen. Editors are expert at juxtaposing differing soundbites to create a sense of dialogue, narrative or conflict.

    In large subjects, talking head videos can be used to establish a shared sense of context, or to demonstrate a range of opinions or perspectives on a topic. They can be especially effective when used as a trigger for group work or a stimulus for enquiry based activities.

    Example resourcing

    An example design that is achievable for a large twelve-week class with FlexAP resourcing could incorporate a couple of weekly short presentations focusing on foundational concepts or key skills, interspersed with a pair of edited ‘talking head’ videos arranged around core themes or assessment items.

  5. Case studies

    Using case studies in large subjects

    Case studies are useful for contextualising subject matter in a real-world setting. A video can be an effective way of giving students access to a perspective they wouldn't normally be able to get due to safety reasons, lack of qualifications, or distance.

    In large subjects, case studies are often employed as triggers for discussion and debate, or linked to assessment.

    Example resourcing

    Case studies can be resource intensive to produce, but a careful design can bring together elements of the studio presentation, demonstration, interview, talking head or audio podcast into an edited narrative case study that is informationally richer than its individual parts.

    At its simplest, an example design that is achievable for a large class with FlexAP resourcing might involve creating a weekly video that includes a short studio presentation focused on a foundational concept or key skill, followed by a dialogue with an expert from industry or academia who can illustrate a real-world application.

  6. Podcasts

    Using podcasts in large subjects

    Podcasts are edited, episodic audio programs that are distributed regularly using an online distribution technology or ‘feed’. High-quality audio productions can incorporate all the same design elements that go into a good video, with significantly less production overhead.

    In large subjects, podcasts offer the unique opportunity to ‘push’ content out to students in a format that is especially compatible with modern, mobile-first media consumption.

    Example resourcing

    An example use of podcasting in a large subject might involve creating a weekly short-form audio presentation that offers an extended exposition on the week’s core content, paired with a fortnightly edited audio interview that delves deeper into core concepts.


What resources are available under the Flexible Academic Programming educational video for +500 subjects workstream?

Learning Environments can offer learning design consultations and up to 12 hours of studio recording time to support the strategic replacement of approximately twelve, 60 minute lectures with well-designed educational video.