Best practices in video technology can vary from industry to industry; there are special concerns for instructional videos. Creating skillful and effective instructional video content is critical for educators of all types, ranging from college professors producing media for their students to elementary school teachers to human resources personnel creating informational media for workers. For more information about best practices for general video production, see Video Recording Best Practices.

Understanding Online Instruction

Online instruction and learning is becoming increasingly common in a variety of educational settings, as well as in the context of many corporate instructional needs. The following traits are common in most instances of online learning:

  • Online learning is typically asynchronous. Learners watch media and work on assigned projects on their own schedules. Synchronous activities, or those that take place on a schedule at the same time, are much less usual within the context of online learning.
  • Learners rely upon video content and supplemental materials for instruction, including hands-on demonstrations, lectures, and informational content.
  • Individuals learning online may be most likely to study and work in shorter, rather than longer, bursts of time.

Mastering Instructional Video

Quality instructional video content requires three distinct components; organization, interaction, and assessment. Each of these is a clear best practice for instructional video.


Media content and supplemental learning materials should be well-organized, both overall and on a lesson-by-lesson basis. Consider beginning courses with a welcome or introductory lesson, providing an introduction to the technology and the subject matter. Breaking instructional units into small, manageable blocks is an effective strategy. 


Interaction enables the learner to engage with the course content, the instructor, and other learners. Interaction may take the form of assignments, emails, discussion feeds, and even video creation. In addition, synchronous learning options, like video conferencing, provide opportunities for interaction between learners and instructors and between individual learners.


In order to measure the effectiveness of online learning and instructional video, it is essential to measure both user learning, and the use of online learning tools. User learning may be assessed and measured through the use of various types of polls and quizzes. Analytics tools provide organizations with the ability to better understand how instructional video is being used by users and learners within and outside of the organization.