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Video In Learning – What Can You Record?

If you work in any kind of teaching / learning environment, whether it be at a university, TAFE or school, or you’re a workplace trainer, chances are you’ve either already started using video in your delivery or you’ve thought about doing it.  Maybe you do use video, but nothing that you’ve created yourself.  Normally people who aren’t recording have a few different reasons for not doing it (camera shy perhaps?), but one reason is that they just don’t know what to record.  The two obvious ones are recording a face to face class, for revision or for those who weren’t able to attend in person, or a making a short topic based video to help with student’s understanding.

If recording your class isn’t an option (or you’re already doing it) but you think topic based videos are the way to go then this is where it’s time to think outside the box!  Your topic based videos might be a simple talking head with a PowerPoint and that can make all of the difference to your students who have been struggling.  But if you’ve recorded a few of these and are looking to step it up here are some ideas to get you started.

Role Plays

Role plays are great at almost all levels of learning because they provide a demonstration of a real life scenario.  For example, if you’re teaching sales then set up a few different scenarios of what could happen.  The obvious one is the disgruntled customer / client.  But what about the client that is continually trying to get a better deal no matter what you’ve already promised, how do you deal with bargaining?  What about the customer that just can’t make up their mind, how do you help them make a decision and sell the product?

Most people are studying to get a job (first job, promotion, change of career, etc.) so run mock interviews.  These work even better if you can get someone from industry to act as the interviewer.  This allows students to hear the kinds of questions they can expect when they apply for their first job in the field.  The interviewer can even throw in some tricky questions that the interviewee has to answer.

And don’t think the people in the role play have to be professional actors.  Get your students to do them or ask a few co-workers to help you out.  The more realistic it is the more likely people are to watch.

Flipped Learning

This isn’t a new idea but it’s not necessarily something that everyone does.  Think about what happens when your students come into class to learn.  You start from the start and hope they all catch on at roughly the same pace because you have a curriculum to follow and a time frame to get all the content delivered in.  So what if you create some how tos, some demonstrations or some theory based videos, so that when the student gets to class they’ve had time to review the content, rewatch what they didn’t understand and research the topic.  Then in class you can spend time on more important things like complex concepts and answering questions that they have.


A demonstration can be done in a range of ways.  You can easily demonstrate a task on a PC (how to use a software program, drawing technical diagrams, etc.) by doing a screencast.  There are several different tools available for this, but Mediasite’s Desktop Recorder allows you to choose whether you want your video included in the recording, and once you’ve finished your recording it will upload straight to your My Mediasite folder ready for viewing.

You could use your phone or other mobile device to record yourself doing something hands on: how to make a cocktail, how to sit ergonomically at your desk, how to prepare instruments for surgery.  This list is only limited by what your students need to learn to do in the workplace.  If you have the money to get a professional film crew in to record it for you great, but most students aren’t expecting a Steven Spielberg classic, they just want to see how it’s done, so give it a go.  Just check the lighting and how well the audio is being picked up by doing a quick test first.

And if you don’t want to be in the video (cause you’re one of those camera shy folk we previously mentioned), then record your students doing it.  Or better yet, get them to video each other and make it part of their assessment.

Guest Speakers

A guest speaker is a great tool that can be pretty easy to come by.  If you teach law then approach a lawyer to talk about what it’s really like in the court room, or alternatively, the hours of non-court time that are involved.  If you teach event management talk to someone who runs events or someone who uses event management companies to explain what will be expected of them.  If you teach fitness ask gym owners or personal trainers to come in.

A guest speaker may just do a presentation, or you could mix it up a little.  It could be a question and answer session with a group of current students.  You could do an industry panel session where people who have different roles talk about how they got there and the steps involved in reaching their career aspirations.  You could ask students from previous years to talk about their experiences as a student and now as a graduate.  Ask a selection of recruitment companies to come in and talk about where people go wrong and how to make sure your students are the ones getting interviews.

Any subject matter expert, industry insider or former student can be a guest speaker, all you need to do is ask someone!

Non-Subject Related Content

It’s all well and good to provide content related videos for your students, but what about non-content topics?  Do you have orientation videos to your institution / campus?  What about to the course or subject?  Do they know what to expect, who can help, how to contact you?  Sure you can write it all down but isn’t a 5 minute video a better option?  That way they can see your face before they walk into a classroom.  Or if they don’t study on campus then they have a face to put to the name in the email address they send assignments and questions to.  Any kind of welcome video is the first step in engaging your students, so this one is a no-brainer.

Assessments are enough to break students out in a cold sweat.  Alleviate that by recording a video about what to expect (1000 words at the end of the second week, an exam in the fourth week).  Do they need to do a practical?  Where do they do it, who can they talk to if they’re having problems finding placement?

FAQ videos can cut down on the number of questions, phone calls and emails you get in those first few weeks of the course.

If you teach adult learners who have been out of the classroom for a while consider doing a study skills session for them.  Explain how to break up their content over the duration of the course to make sure they don’t fall behind.  Tell them where to access additional resources.  Put them in touch with a study group or tutor.  Give them the details of your institution’s support services.

The list of what you can record is endless so it can be overwhelming knowing where to start.  We’ve given you a few ideas but if you’re still not sure then it’s really simple, ask your students what they want.  It’s the easiest way to ensure that you’re giving them exactly what they need and not wasting your time on videos no one will watch.  And if you’re still not sure where to start give us a call and we’ll brainstorm with you!