A Guide to Creating Conversational Videos

Is there a way to present information to a group while guiding the members to actively participate, and simultaneously ensure optimal learning? The answer is yes – conversational videos!

With careful use of relevant video material, facilitators can create a unique interactive discussion and thereby ensure optimal learning. Let’s call this technique “conversational viewing” and the videos used “conversational videos”.

Video combines the use of sight and sound – the perfect medium for students who are auditory or visual learners. Add lively discussions, some printed material and hands-on activities and you have the perfect recipe for a conversational video that explains any topic you desire.

Conversational Viewing

Facilitators’ primary task is always to get students engaged. Video is indeed a tool that can initiate an interactive learning process. The use of conversational video can be compelling, as the conversation sparked by the showing of video clips will generate a much greater amount of interest and enjoyment than a more traditional approach.

The use of video in educational settings and corporate training is accelerating rapidly, but it is often merely viewed and it is taken for granted that learning has taken place. However, simply presenting information in a stimulating video format will not automatically produce in-depth learning. Initiating conversation about the viewed material is the key to effective and optimal learning! Conversational viewing helps students to gain knowledge and understanding. It also helps to develop critical thinking skills as well as communication skills.

How Conversational Videos Work:

It all comes down to playing, pausing, and talking. Video allows the facilitator to pause the video and to initiate discussion as the group progresses through the footage. When the video is paused the facilitator has numerous options:

             -Ÿ explain a concept further

             – challenge students

             – ask students to predict an outcome

             – elaborate on an important point

             – ask relevant questions

             – start a debate on an issue

The facilitator also has the option to take the conversation a step further by adding more interactivity – for example by copying activities, conducting smaller group discussions or by using worksheets based on the content. This ensures that the greatest range of preferred learning styles is covered and optimal learning takes place.

Keep Conversational Videos Short

video that sparks conversation, conversational videos

One of the most important aspects of choosing or creating conversational videos is to include elements that help promote student engagement. Research found that when videos are less than 6 minutes long, the median engagement time is approximately 100%. As videos lengthened, student engagement decreased.

This is precisely why conversational viewing works so effectively. By segmenting the topic into manageable pieces, students are able to better absorb the information. Before students’ attention span has reached its limit, pause the video and initiate conversation. Alternatively, make use of a variety of short explainer videos.

Conversational Viewing – Preparation


video that sparks conversation

1. Find or create suitable videos

Make use of online video libraries to find suitable conversational videos. For example, simpleshow foundation may have just the right video for your needs. Alternatively, create your own conversational videos. (Again, online tools like mysimpleshow may indeed be very useful.) Determine specific learning objectives in advance and think about the instructional sequences when making your own videos.

2. Predetermine where conversation will step in

Identify key points where the video needs to be paused in order to initiate a discussion. For optimal use of the conversational video, carefully plan exactly how the video will be used to spark conversation and to get students directly involved. Determine pause-points as well as reinforcement activities.

3. Consider guiding questions

Think of providing students with guiding questions. When students consider guiding questions while watching video, they engage fully with the material. The questions can also be used when the video is paused to spark conversation – it prepares the students to immediately get involved. Alternatively, if you create the video yourself, incorporate the questions directly into the video. If not, simply pause and pose a question. Students’ responses will then lead to further discussion.

Video provides an innovative and effective means for educators to initiate conversation about the topic studied. Watching a video can be a passive experience, but conversational viewing produces authentic learning opportunities for students. It sparks interests, gives enjoyment and serves as a platform to explore content in depth. Moreover, conversational viewing helps students do the processing and self-evaluation that will lead to optimal learning.