It would take an individual over 5 million years to watch the amount of video that will cross global internet networks each month in 2018, with video consisting of 79% of all consumer internet traffic in 2018 (Cisco, 2014). Whilst this vast access and consumption of video by no means implies viewers are engaging with or learning from high-quality content, it does indicate that video is a dominant online modality for information ‘chunking’ and broadcasting. In light of this ubiquity of video, the ease in which technology can be leveraged to create viewing environments, and its potential as a medium to provide input, higher education (HE) has been integrating video into teaching and learning at a rapidly growing rate. Flipped classrooms, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), blended-learning classrooms and distance courses are a few of the many contexts in which video is employed as a tool for learning.

The University of Hong Kong is no exception to this trend. With the dual aim of engaging faculty members who produce videos for their learners and fostering interdisciplinary dialogue around this topic, on 11 February the E-learning Pedagogical Support Unit delivered a seminar entitled “Educational Video Production: Design principles for meaningful learning”. Key areas discussed were:

  1. the importance of adopting a learner-centred approach to multimedia design
  2. the need to reduce unnecessary cognitive processing in educational video production given the constraints of working memory
  3. a set of specific guiding principles proposed by Mayer (2012), which can help us achieve the above two objectives.

Using this theory as a starting point, participants had the opportunity to discuss issues which commonly arise in video production in their own contexts. For instance, what is the difference between video for education and entertainment? What is the impact of visuals and audio, and the relationship between these modalities, on student cognition and learning? Does adding graphics to spoken words help students’ learning? Is talking over PowerPoint slides more or less effective than a talking head alone? Does adding on-screen written text, which parallels spoken text, support or hinder learning?

Whilst the answers to these questions are not always clear-cut, the importance of generating informed dialogue around our design decisions is paramount if we are to produce videos which are engaging and conducive to learning. One need only glance at the seminar’s enrolee profile to see the breadth of interest in taking part in this dialogue.


The challenge perhaps now lies in further fostering communities of practice and supporting an ethic of exemplar sharing. So if you’re keen to share a clip you’ve created or ask for advice on one you’re currently working on, we would encourage you to contact an instructional designer in the E-learning Pedagogical Support Unit.



Cisco. (2014). Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2013-2018. Retrieved from CISCO: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/ip-ngn-ip-next-generation-network/white_paper_c11-481360.pdf

Mayer, R. (2012). Multimedia Learning (2nd edition ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press