Videos, television, and movies are nothing new, but how they can be optimized for learning is relatively new. Video-assisted learning is a growing strategic teaching approach in many modern classrooms. With educational videos being more accessible than ever, teachers are increasingly making use of them as a teaching resource. However, with increased use of screen-time comes increased controversy and debate.

While videos are great for things like social-emotional learning, cognitive ability, and inclusivity, if not properly utilized in the appropriate setting, educational videos will not be used to their full potential and can actually hinder academic performance.  Although knowing how to implement successful video-assisted learning is not especially challenging, it’s very important to be well-informed on both the benefits and disadvantages of screen-time so that you can make the best choice for your students.

how to implement video-assisted learning

What is Video-Assisted Learning?

Video-assisted learning is defined as a strategic teaching approach to using videos – either educational or conceptual – to improve a student’s comprehension, cognitive ability, or social-emotional skills. So, what does that mean? What that means is that videos are more than just a way to pass time or provide additional information on a specific learning objective. Video-assisted learning takes videos and transforms them into an important part of both general education and student wellbeing.

Videos – whether they are short, targeted clips or television programs – have some proven benefits to different aspects of a student’s development and educational progress. How this impacts the student depends on the type of video you use and the practices you wish to use. Video-assisted learning is not ideal for isolated use but rather should be an addition to the already existing curriculum or individualized education plans (IEP). This is because videos – educational, conceptual, or entertaining – can have negative consequences for student progress if not managed properly.

So, how do you identify which video type is best for your students as well as how to manage and prevent common negative side effects associated with screen-time and skewed or inappropriate content?

What is Regarded as Video-Assisted Learning?

Video-assisted learning is exactly as its name suggests. Videos are learning aides, not the main pedagogy of learning. Video-assisted learning can be as simple as watching a documentary on the water cycle at the end of a lesson, all the way to more complex and complete forms like video-modeling. It’s important to be well informed when making decisions related to video-assisted learning, especially if you plan to use videos as a supplementary form of education outside of the usual classroom “movie-day.” Using videos for social-emotional learning, for example, needs to be done with caution as videos can give a limited world view to a topic that is quite vast.

Video-assisted learning can be used to supplement any of the following areas of education:

Educational Supplements

Educational supplements refer to the videos, short movies, or films where the primary purpose is to educate on a particular topic or learning objective. Common types of educational videos are short clips, documentaries, tutorials, some cartoons, and other forms of video media with the intent to teach. These videos are used purely for supplementary materials to help reinforce ideas taught in the classroom.

Many teachers are probably familiar with this form of video-assisted learning as they are an easy and effective way to enhance lesson plans that may be lacking in otherwise physical materials. Most modern classrooms are equipped with a projector or laptop, and even if you are a true ‘old school’ teacher, you probably at least have a TV with a DVD, Blu-ray, or VHS player where you can play an educational video. One of the biggest benefits to using educational videos is that it gives students another viewpoint or teaching style to the same topic. For example, if you taught a particular learning objective using gamification, it may be beneficial to also show a video that breaks down the objective step-by-step to give students an additional option to learn from.

Social-Emotional Learning

Social-emotional learning is the process of developing social-emotional skills like self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and general life success. This type of learning also includes things like self-discipline and emotion management but can also overlap with other cognitive abilities. Videos targeting social-emotional learning often involve things like moral storytelling or demonstrations of practical life skills. A great example of this is video modelling, which is unique in that it is an evidence-based practice. Video modelling is often used primarily for students with autism but it has practical uses for other types of students and even adults. The core value of video-modelling is using a video, either pre-recorded or created by yourself, to help teach desired behavior such as putting away toys, interacting with friends, or other social-emotional expectations.

Other types of videos that can fall under social-emotional learning are PSA videos about drugs, bullying, or other harmful activities that require schoolwide awareness. Be aware, that when using video-assisted learning for this intent, sometimes the way people do things may not necessary be wrong so it’s important to use good judgement and be thoughtful about the behaviors you target.

Cognitive Ability

Cognitive abilities refer to abilities and skills relating to the brain. These can be things like language acquisition, fine-motor skills, and critical thinking. Video-assisted learning is great for developing cognitive abilities from both a shallow and a deep-learning level. One well-known benefit is the promotion of creativity, but there are numerous other benefits for videos as well. When using videos to promote cognitive ability, keep in mind that they are not successful on their own. In fact, research from the Society for Research in Children Development shows that videos can have no bearing on a child if there is not an active watching intent. This means a child watching Dora the Explorer, despite the awesome scriptwriting, will not become fluent in another language unless they actively engaged in the show and use these skills in a face-to-face environment.

With that in mind, if you use videos as a supplementary asset, it’s beneficial for cognitive ability in certain age groups. If you want to use videos to help with things like language, motor skills, or other brain-related skills, always continue the video with actionable activities like worksheets, reflective discussion, or prompting.


Inclusive classrooms are becoming more important in the modern classroom setting, although exact definitions of the term can vary. Some define it as a place where multicultural education is fostered while others define it simply as classrooms that include students with special needs, impairments, or disabilities in a general education class. Whichever definition you choose to use, what’s important is the impact video-assisted learning can have.

Video-assisted learning can be used in two different ways when it comes to inclusivity. One approach is to use videos as a source of educational supplement. For example, if you are using a learning model like hybrid learning then videos can quickly be a source of extra lessons or material for students falling behind or needing more time. Providing videos can also allow you to limit interaction with advanced students so that those who require more face-to-face interactions for learning can receive more assistance. The second approach for video-assisted learning is using videos as a means of cultural awareness. With video-assisted learning, you can easily share, create, and expand on videos of different cultures to increase awareness and understanding.

How to Successfully Implement Video-Assisted Learning

Implementing video-assisted learning is quite simple – all you need is a display, projector, or even a smartphone. If you want to start implementing more complex methods of video-assisted learning, there are more advanced tools available that will help you capitalize specifically on the positive benefits. But first, here are some basic considerations when implementing video-assisted learning.

Survey Your Students

The first important step to implementing video-assisted learning is to know who you students are. Sometimes videos are not ideal for a particular group of students. For example, if you find yourself in a class that does best with hands-on activities and labs, they will be bored sitting quietly and watching videos. Another important factor to consider is those with different needs. For example, children with ADHD have been shown to react poorly to screen-time and classroom videos so much that it negatively impacts their academic success. Other factors are things like age-appropriate content, culturally sensitive material, and diversity of cast members for positive self-reflection by relating to characters on screen.

When Videos Should Be Used

Videos should be used as supplementary material only. Unless you are in a film directing class, playing movies or videos all the time is not ideal for enhanced learning. That’s why even in online classes, students still must do worksheets, participate in online discussion, and sometimes even do service-learning to complete their course. The best time to implement videos in the classroom are:

  • Before a learning objective is introduced
  • After a learning objective is completed
  • In classrooms that may have multiple types of behavioral situations
  • With hybrid or distance learning setups where extra materials are needed
  • In inclusive classrooms accommodating for different learning paces
  • At home to reinforce learning objectives without instruction

Classroom Design

Classroom design is important for how videos function in your classroom. For example, if you are implementing a flipped classroom, then videos may not actually ever be played in-class but rather at home. On the opposite side, if your classroom does not have any type of display, class-wide videos may not be an option. Since videos are not as resource intensive as before, thankfully all you need is great projector or interactive whiteboard to get the job done. Simply place the screen at the front of the classroom and use as needed; or if you have access to more resources, get the students to create their own videos. Video creation for students is often more beneficial than watching premade videos on the same topic.

Summing It All Up

Video-assisted learning is a great tool to adopt in your lesson plans regularly. Keeping in mind that screen-time is a controversial topic for many, it’s important to follow good research and make well-informed choices when implementing videos. If done right, students will benefit greatly in their learning process and have much more fun and active learning overall.

(From the editor: This article was originally published on ViewSonic Library.)