Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the National STEM Learning Centre's online course, Teaching for Home Learning: Primary Science. Join the course to learn more.
Making a video using a mobile phone

Video for introductions and interest

In this course, we are not setting the expectation for you to deliver lessons using live video. However, the use of video resources can support learning by providing a clear verbal explanation of what is to be expected, with visual cues, or to provide an example or context for what is being learnt. Reassuringly, studies have generally shown “no clear difference between explaining a new idea in real time (“synchronous teaching”) or explaining a new idea in a pre-recorded video (“asynchronous teaching”) (EEF, 2020).

In terms of video length, it is also worth bearing in mind that learners may ‘switch off’ when watching video, or lose concentration. Having looked at the viewing metrics of 6.9 million videos in edX online courses, Guo et al (2014) found that the median amount of time learners spent watching a video was six minutes, regardless of the length of the video. This can mean that any information after this point may be missed by many pupils.

Whether you are creating your own videos, or linking to videos available online, ensure that you convey the purpose for watching that video and what you expect your pupils to do next.

Use of teacher videos

A simple, and short, video to introduce an activity can be reassuring for pupils and remind them that you are still there to support them. Just as you usually do in the classroom before the children start a task, you might provide a ‘hook’ to engage students such as an interesting question, or recap on some prior learning as a starting point for new learning, or model how to tackle a task. You can also use video to provide:

  • Success criteria for the learning activity.
  • Instructions leading pupils (and parents) through a task.
  • A short explanation of a new concept, or refresh of prior learning.
  • Feedback on work that has been submitted, highlighting where work met success criteria.
  • A model answer or demonstration.

See our technical guidance for making videos for learning.

Using video resources

It’s important to remember not to spend time recreating videos that may already be available, for example where video is used to demonstrate a process, show an idea within the real world, or explain a concept through cartoon or animation.

STEM Learning has a bank of open-access, quality assured resources and videos which can be linked to, categorised by subject and age. Other educational websites, such as Explorify, museums and scientific societies will similarly have videos that can be linked to as part of a learning activity.

Be aware of the issues about directing primary children towards video platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo, which can often link to unsuitable content for their age.


Share your thoughts on the use of video to support primary pupils learning at home in the comments below. What do you see as the limitations and benefits?

Do you have any excellent examples of videos for learning that you would like to share?

Share this article:

This article is from the free online course:

Teaching for Home Learning: Primary Science

National STEM Learning Centre