Instructional video: beyond flipped classroom

In the past year we have seen  experimentation with instructional videos on the Brown campus, specifically for flipped classroom and lecturing at a distance. Flipped classroom, assigning video lectures outside of the classroom, is not the only way to use video for teaching and learning. Video, a medium that encourages passive viewing as a stand alone resource, works best when embedded in larger multimedia contexts in online courses or woven into classroom activities.  

This diagram presenting different genres of videos and the outcomes they support can inspire us to incorporate video for a variety of instructional purposes. Below we explore some genres and umbrella outcomes with examples of use in teaching.

Video For Teaching

(Schwartz & Hartman, 2007)


  • Pique student curiosity in the learning activity, course, or program. Videos created with this objective might not be information packed but contain visuals that capture student’s attention. For example, a course introduction video on Canvas during shopping period.  
  • Offer trigger to start a conversation. For example, a short video introducing a controversial idea or ethical dilemma in the beginning of class or assigned as a prompt for Canvas discussion.
  • Contextualize learning activity by offering background information or activating prior knowledge. For example, a video reviewing concepts learned in the previous class that you assign to small groups or lab sections before they work on a problem set.


  • See an unfamiliar phenomenon. For example, cultural practices from a different country, geological phenomenon not visible in the local setting.   
  • See subtle or nuanced differences in multiple examples. For example, studying painting styles, architectural designs, or teacher classroom practices. This can be achieved by scaffolding a video with instructor commentary or by showing different camera points of view to highlight differences.  
  • See an action multiple times with different objectives or lenses of seeing. For example, replaying video of teacher practice in a classroom with a focus on language used, actions, student reactions.


  • Model procedure and/or behavior. For example, teaching a software program or a lab procedure, showing gestural skills such as sign language, or demonstrating public speaking.
  • Simplify complex behavior into step-by-step tasks that can be practiced separately. For example, a complex dance routine or statistical analysis of data.

For a detailed description of all the layers of the diagram read: Schwartz, D. L., & Hartman, K. (2007). It is not television anymore: Designing digital video for learning and assessment. Video research in the learning sciences.