Videos that make the lecturer a star

Rob FarmerPaul Rice and Georgina Dimmock

2016 conference

Introduction and rationale

This workshop has been designed by three members of Library & Learning Services (LLS) who have all carried out research on educational videos and have a particular interest on the subject. Educational videos are considered to be the most personal resource as well as the best resource for increasing motivation and confidence in students (Moreno and Ortegano-Layne, 2008, p461).

In 2013 Georgina Dimmock (Head of Academic Liaison) took the lead role on producing the Skills Hub (open access repository on academic skills resources). Over 70 educational videos have been created for this resource. In the first six months after launch the Skills Hub (LLS, University of Northampton, 2013) had received over 74,000 views from 122 countries.

User attitudes to the Skills Hub video content were evaluated as part of the Skills Hub: Review, Redesign and Rebuild project (LLS, University of Northampton, 2014). The findings have been published (House and Dimmock, 2015) and provide substantial support for the cognitive theory of multimedia learning put forward by Mayer (2009, p17).

Rob Farmer (Learning Developer) and Paul Rice (Academic Tutor) co-authored research to investigate what students want from educational videos. Similarly they found the key recommendation when producing videos is to ensure they have been designed taking cognitive research into account.

Mayer’s cognitive theory of multimedia learning (2009, p17) and subsequent work by Clark and Mayer (2011, p35) argues that the aim of effective teaching is not simply to present information to passive recipients, but to engage students in active cognitive processing during learning.


Examining what makes videos appealing to students coupled with an understanding of cognitive research, in particular Mayer’s (2009) multimedia principles, has given us clear ideas about what should and should not be included in the production of future educational videos. This workshop will allow delegates time to discuss which features of educational videos they could implement to support learners. The authors will begin with a brief overview of their research and a selection of educational videos (good and bad) will then be shown. These videos will be discussed and analysed in groups facilitated by Georgina, Rob and Paul. Finally we will disclose our full findings, relating them to Mayer’s multimedia learning theory, together with our recommendations for simple design features that will enhance any educational video. Throughout this final section we would welcome any discussion and interaction from the floor. Please see below for estimated timings.


  • Introduction and background to research carried out – 10 minutes
  • Examples of bad videos and group discussion – 20 minutes
  • Design features of good videos (group discussion) – 15 minutes
  • Recommendations supported by research (interactive) – 30 minutes
  • Summary / Q&A – 5 minutes
  • Total – 1 hour 20 minutes


Clark, R.C. and Mayer, R. (2011) E-Learning: and the Science of Instruction. (2nd ed.) London: John Wiley & Sons

Farmer, R. and Rice, P. (2015) Educational Videos: Tell me what you want, what you really, really want. Journal of Learning Developers in Higher Education (JLDHE) No 10 (2016)

House, J. and Dimmock, G. (2015) Research into practice: evaluation of Skills Hub content and implications for library staff development in the creation of video OERs. Enhancing the Learner Experience in Higher Education  7(1), pp.29-45. DOI:

LLS, University of Northampton (2013) Skills Hub [online]. Available at [Accessed on 27 January 2016]

LLS, University of Northampton (2014) Skills Hub: review, redesign and rebuild project website. [online]. Available at   [Accessed on 27 January 2016]

Mayer, R.E. (2009) Multimedia Learning. New York: Cambridge University Press

Moreno, R. and Ortegano-Layne, L. (2008) Do classroom exemplars promote the application of principles in teacher education? A Comparison of videos, animations, and narratives. Educational Technology and Research Development. 56(4), pp.449-465