Improving instructional video design: a systematic review

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Instructional videos are increasingly part of the teaching practices of educators across all sectors. The most common theoretical lens used to design and evaluate instructional videos has been to apply principles emerging from the cognitive theory of multimedia learning. However, these principles have been largely developed from research using instructional media other than videos. In addition, there is no comprehensive list of principles that have been shown to improve learning from instructional videos. Therefore, this paper seeks to identify principles of video design that are empirically supported in the literature. A systematic literature review was conducted, with a final analysis of 113 papers describing 28 principles. While some of the existing cognitive theory of multimedia learning principles, notably coherence, segmenting and learner control, have been found to improve learning from instructional videos in a variety of contexts, others, such as redundancy and modality, are not supported. These findings serve as clear guidance to instructional designers creating educational video content. In addition to describing the breadth of research in the field, this paper also found that the development of the research field suffers from a lack of coherence and is in urgent need of clear nomenclature and improved reporting of media and research design. Implications for practice or policy: • Instructional videos that are shorter, segmented, coherent and paired with learning activities are more likely to lead to improved learning gains in students. • Researchers reporting on the use of videos should provide comprehensive descriptions of media, including links to the media where possible. • Designers of instructional videos should critically evaluate design principles established for non-video media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-183
Number of pages29
JournalAustralasian Journal of Educational Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • instructional video
  • systematic review
  • Cognitive theory of multimedia learning
  • educational video
  • video principles

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