Tips to make your video lecture more engaging for the students

Break your lecture into separate topics

A video more than 30 minutes long will be too much for most students. Break your lecture into topics that are a maximum of 20-30 minutes long. People can pay attention to shorter videos much better. They can also fit in watching a shorter video between their other tasks or on their commute. Look at your lecture and see where the natural breaks are based on the major topics you discuss. Make each topic a separate video.

Add section divider slides

Within any topic video, further break down the material into the sections that make up that topic. Before you start discussing that section, add a section divider slide. This slide should have a background color and large text with the section name. These slides should stand out in appearance from the other slides you are using. When students scan through the video looking for a specific section to review, these divider slides are easy for them to find. It makes your video more useful to them.

Use polls to test knowledge

Before or after a section, consider using a poll to test the students’ knowledge. Create a slide that has a multiple choice question on it with the correct answer and other answers that make the student think about which answer is correct. Ask the students to pause the video and decide on which answer they think is correct. Then discuss each of the answers, explaining why it is incorrect or correct. This is a good review at the end of a section or a good introduction to a section.

Use statements to encourage reflection

When you want the students to consider different perspectives, create a slide with a statement and ask the students whether they agree or disagree with the statement. Ask them to pause the video and take a few minutes to reflect before deciding. When they restart the video you discuss each side of the issue so that they can learn more about the different perspectives.

Use questions to discover misconceptions

If there is a common belief that is not true, create a slide with a question or statement that would likely lead most people to answer incorrectly due to the common misconception. Ask the students to pause the video briefly to answer the question or respond to the statement. After they restart the video you can explain how the common answer is incorrect and what the correct answer is. By offering the contrast between a common thought and the truth, it can help lock in the learning.

Be deliberate with your language

When you want the students to look at the slide, make sure you ask them to “look” at it or “watch” it. By being deliberate about the instruction, you will be able to get the students to pay attention to what is on the slide in case they are distracted by something else. Obviously you can’t use this for every slide or every point on a slide or else they will tune it out. Decide on the key visuals you want them to pay attention to and be deliberate about drawing their attention to the slide sat that time.