Effective Educational Videos: Managing Cognitive Load

Part 2 in a series of blog posts from the iTuro workshops on blended learning

The reference for this blog post is the journal article written by Cynthia J. Brame – Effective Educational Videos: Principles and Guidelines for Maximizing Student Learning from Video Content. I will give video examples for her suggestions on how to manage cognitive load when designing educational videos:

  • Signaling (or cueing): use of on-screen text or symbols to highlight important information
  • Segmenting: chunking of information in a video lesson
  • Weeding: elimination of interesting but extraneous information that does not contribute to learning goals
  • Matching modality to content: fitting the particular type of information to the channel (audio/verbal or visual/pictorial)
  1. The video below demonstrates signaling. It’s also a video on how to make better talking head videos so it’s dual purpose when I show this at my iTuro workshops. He used his hand to signal five, for the five tips. At intervals, words or pictures appear on the video, as a way to emphasize what he is saying.

2. This video is one of the videos I made for Dok Bru. It’s about a minute long and only talks about the ABCs of taking care of diabetes. Brame says that having videos that are 6 minutes or less can help decrease intrinsic load by chunking information. This is how segmenting works. [It also demonstrates the use of my cellphone mounted on a selfie stick to record a video. A lapel mic is connected to the audio jack of my phone.]

3. The video below by Dr. Lodge McCammon discusses how we was able to trim down the length of his video lectures. He explains why a live lecture in the classroom is usually longer because we interact with or are distracted by our students. I’m sharing this here as an example of weeding.

4. On my Dok Bru Facebook page, I do mostly talking head videos. I did find though that there are certain concepts that need to be explained more visually. Hence, I tried a Khan academy-like video. I was too scared to draw live while shooting this video so I drew the illustrations before hand. This is my example of matching modality to the content.

For the iTuro grant, awardees were asked to make videos that were six minutes or less. And because each precious minute counts, Brame’s tips are particularly handy in creating effective educational videos.

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