Learn about a simple tweak to your video scripts that can increase how many students engage with your instructional videos.

You spend hours developing an instructional video – preparing the script, adjusting lighting, recording multiple takes, and trimming and combining. You put it up on your course site for students, then check back in after it was due… and only 20% of your students watched the video. 

Does this sound familiar? 

While a variety of interventions can help increase video views in your course, many of them take even more time, such as adding in-video quiz questions to keep your students actively engaged. 

Instead, I want to suggest a quick adjustment to your script that takes very little extra time but can help you increase student video views. 

Inspired by television shows, the idea is simple: 

  • Add a “previously on” to the beginning of your videos 
  • Add a “next time on” to the end of your videos 

In your “previously on,” you can include any of the following: 

  • A quick summary of the last video or reading 
  • A review of an assignment or quiz you previously assigned 
  • Concepts or ideas from the course that will be key to the content of the current video 
  • Course objectives that this video will help students work toward 

Like “previously on” segments in a television show, this is meant to both refresh students’ memory and build interest in the content that is to come. “Previously on” segments at the beginning of a video help ground students in the moment of watching the video and can increase their persistence through the entirety of the video.

In your “next time on,” you can include any of the following: 

  • A quick summary of the next video or reading 
  • A preview of an assignment or quiz that will be coming up in the course 
  • Concepts or ideas that the current video will build upon in the future 

Like “previously on” segments, “next time on” segments help students understand the connections between course content, making your scaffolding clear and transparent. They give students a reason to watch through to the end of the video, and they give them a reason to want to watch the next video. 

Will this solve your video view woes? Of course not. But implementing a “previously on” and “next time on” segment into your videos can help you bump those engagement numbers up a bit. This technique is often best implemented alongside others that can increase video engagement in your course. 

What do you think? How do you work to increase video engagement in your courses? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

  • Eva Grouling Snider

    Eva joined the Division of Online and Strategic Learning in 2021. Previously, she taught professional writing courses in the English Department, including graphic design and web development. She launched Jacket Copy Creative (now known as Compass Creative), an immersive learning course in which students helped market the English Department (and now the entire College of Sciences and Humanities). She also served as a director of advertising at a social media advertising agency in Muncie. Her interests include UDL, digital accessibility, and design. She’s often busy “hacking” Canvas to do cool things.