Video offers significant and positive potential as a learning tool for English Language Learners (ELLs). English Language Learners may vary widely in their abilities, ranging from near-fluency to very little English proficiency. ELLs can be found in classrooms from preschool and early elementary through higher education, but many of these video learning strategies are applicable to learners of any age.

Components of Effective Video Learning

In order for video to be an effective teaching and learning tool for ELLs, it must be used effectively. Effective use of video requires a few distinct components.

Multimedia Integration

English Language Learners learn best when presented with content in a range of formats. Avoid video presentations that are simply a speaker before a podium; instead, use slide presentations and other visual cues to support learning.

Captioning Technology

The YuJa Enterprise Video Platform offers several different options for captioning. Auto-captioning provides a fast and practical solution to captioning; captions may be edited in the browser-based HTML5 Video Editor for accuracy. In addition, content owners may upload captioning files in a variety of different languages. This can provide the ability to provide closed captioning in a native language.

Organization and Accessibility

Media content should be well-organized and easy for students to find and review. When media is easily available, students are more likely to make use of it, and to revisit it as needed. In addition, some ELLs may benefit from tools associated with accessibility, including audio descriptions and keyboard shortcuts.

Video Strategies for ELLs

Making media content, like lecture captures, available for English Language Learners is helpful, but you can maximize the use of video with a number of strategies. These are helpful to all students, but are particularly essential for ELLs.

  • Discuss media in a classroom setting or video conference. Active conversation about media content can help students to better understand and retain information. 
  • Divide students into groups in a classroom or other group setting, like a video conference. Ask one group of students to describe content in a video to the other group of students, then reverse the exercise. 
  • Encourage students to take notes or comment directly within a video, and to write their own summaries of media content, either in English or their native languages. As an alternative, ask students to prepare questions based on media content viewed online.