Using Videos to Facilitate Learning Outcomes for eLearning

e-learning videoIncorporating video into eLearning courses is a great way to facilitate learning through the use of multimedia. According to the Schwartz and Hartmann model for using digital videos for learning, there exist four major learning outcomes: Engaging, Doing, Seeing and Saying.


Videos that show relevant information can be very effective at increasing interest and facilitating discussions among learners. Carefully selected or produced videos that contain information that piques curiosity or makes connections to students’ life or the real world works wonders in increasing motivating to learn and participate. In much the same way that advertisements and movie trailers move people, so can videos engage learners. Examples of engaging videos might be biographies or videos that show people enjoying rewards of learning.


Videos are commonly used as how-to instructions or on-screen demonstrations. In this sense, the “doing” is accomplished by showing people performing certain behaviors. Student learning can be facilitated by modeling the attitudes and/or skills of those depicted in the videos. When the acquirement of skills involves complex processes, videos can be useful because students are able to rewind and replay as they learn. Examples of these types of videos might include:

  • Step-by-step videos
  • Training videos
  • Enacted scenarios videos
  • And more


The most obvious benefit of videos is that students can see things that can help them during the learning process. Videos can be used to show new or familiar things in a different way. The familiarity approach can open participants’ eyes to thing they’ve never seen, which adds interest and understanding. With the discernment approach, students are shown familiar things with certain aspects pointed out or highlighted. In this way, students are able to discern subtleties that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. Examples of the types of videos that use the familiarity or discernment approach include travelogues, historical reenactments, nature shows, commentaries and interviews.


The “saying” (or verbal knowledge) learning outcome occurs by providing audio-based knowledge. This can be accomplished using videos that verbally depict facts and explanations. Because studies have shown that people don’t remember facts by simple repetition (not to be confused with spaced repetition), videos can help students remember especially when the facts are applied to solving a particular problem. Explanations can be done to show the “how” and “why” of something being taught. Videos that make use of associations between texts and images and analogies to get a point across can be very effective learning aids. In addition, commentary or interpretation videos (e.g., newscasts) or expository type videos (e.g., documentaries) work well too.

There are a number of ways to use videos to supplement learning materials. Not only can videos add interest and pique curiosity in students, but also they can help to put things in perspective and increase understanding of concepts to be learned. With the use of videos, students can be actively engaged in learning in ways that no other media can.

Closing Note: This short blog post is a simple recap, or highlight, of some very interesting research done at Stanford. If you find yourself questioning the statements made here, I would encourage you to read the entire research report in the link above. If you can find more recent research that disproves the Stanford research, I’d be happy to review it with you.