Learning from videos and recorded lectures

Online courses may include videos and recorded lectures in place of, or in addition to, live classes, while on-campus courses may include lecture capture recordings for your review. Consider these tips to make the most of these as learning experiences:

1. Before you watch
  • Give yourself a head-start by reviewing relevant lecture notes or assigned readings to get an overall feel for the topic and help your understanding as you watch the video.
  • Avoid distractions - even though you can pause to check your email or phone during a video, unlike in a live lecture, try to keep your concentration and focus on the content. Create a distraction-free workspace by leaving your phone in another room, if possible, and ask your roommates or family members to try to avoid interrupting.
  • Take breaks between lengthy videos and try not to watch lectures back-to-back - take some time to stretch your legs and give your eyes a break if you've been working on your computer for a long period of time.
2. While watching
  • Take notes just like you would at a live lecture. If you're looking to try a new note-taking strategy, the Cornell Method is a good option as it gives you a space for noting any questions you have and encourages you to summarize – which engages the brain more than just passively recording information word-for-word.
  • Use timestamps in your notes (by noting how far along the video is when a particular topic is discussed) to make it easier to go back and review specific parts later. Consider also using screenshots of important slides or diagrams that you can annotate if you are taking digital notes.
3. After watching
  • Ask questions - Although there isn't the option to ask questions directly of the lecturer or your peers when using recordings, it does not mean you have no opportunities to do so.
    • If available in your course, use Brightspace discussions to post questions for your instructor and classmates. Consider visiting such forums regularly even if you are not looking for answers - you may be able to connect with classmates and share information.  Unfamiliar with discussions? Check out this guide to Brightspace discussions for assistance.
    • Contact your instructor if you do not understand something or have follow-up questions about the topic of the lecture. Refer to your course syllabus for the best way to contact your instructor or avail of office hours and check out the communicating with instructors resource for some advice. 
  • Review the next day - Like any lecture, revisiting your notes within a day or two can help reinforce your memory and understanding of the content. Note-taking strategies such as the Cornell Method are helpful for this, as each page has a summary section at the bottom - if you leave filling this in until the following day, you will improve your chance of recalling it later.


Creative Commons license BY-NC-SA

Adapted from The University of Hull's Remote Learning Skills guide