How can you tell if a video is easy to understand for learners? What are the important factors for a video to be easy? I guess slow and clear pronunciation is important. But also the usage of common words, and the help of visual cues.


2 Answers 2


The University of Queensland suggest multiple points related to using videos for learning in general but do apply do language learning.

  • Visual cues helps memory processing and memory recall. This is clear with learning in general: lots of people learn quicker and/or better with the association of photos and their respective words

Shepard and Cooper (1982) and Mayer and Gallini (1990) made the connection between visual clues, the memory process, and the recall of new knowledge.

  • Videos can also allow the learner master terms and/or techniques. Videos are able to be used multiple times. Of course, this depends on the quality of the video.

In some cases, video can be as good as an instructor in communicating facts or demonstrating procedures to assist in mastery learning where a student can view complex clinical or mechanical procedures as many times as they need to. Furthermore, the interactive features of modern web-based media players can be used to promote ‘active viewing’ approaches with students (Galbraith, 2004)

  • The video should also be able to provide an authentic learning experience and inspire and engage students. This can be expanded into multiple smaller points:

More recently, Willmot et al (2012) show that there is strong evidence that digital video reporting can inspire and engage students when incorporated into student-centred learning activities through:

  • increased student motivation
  • enhanced learning experience
  • higher marks
  • development potential for deeper learning of the subject development potential - for deeper learning of the subject development potential for deeper learning of the subject
  • development of learner autonomy
  • enhanced team working and communication skills
  • a source of evidence relating to skills for interviews
  • learning resources for future cohorts to use opportunities for staff development (CPD). (p.3)

There are other clear points of what makes a video useful and easy to use.

  • Clear, steady pronunciation allows learners to listen and be able to catch what terms are being spoken. This can also allow the learner to learn with a steady pace.

  • Audio-visual cues can help learners associate new terms with sounds and pictures

  • Subtitles to help the learner be able to know what the person is actually saying

  • Using well known teaching methods, of course which ones are personalized by the learner, such as the direct method

The rest should be personalized to match your needs and learning style. More info can be seen here:

DiAL-e Framework
New York University (PDF)


Like you said, some key factors that make a language video useful for learners are:

  • Slow and clear pronunciation (like you said above)
  • Repetitive usage of words or phrases that the learner is learning at that time (by repeating them over and over again, maybe in complement with visual cues, you help build a stronger vocabulary)
  • Use of visual cues in conjunction with both new and known vocabulary (to help build association from the image to the word)
  • Use of lifelike characters, because studies have proven that you remember something more if you associate it with a pet or human
  • Slow and logical introduction of new vocabulary (don't simply give a giant "new vocab" list at the start of the video and expect the audience to memorize all of them)
  • Subtitles in either the audience's L1 or L2 (optional)
  • Use of patterns when introducing new words and reviewing old ones (can help make the video seem more logical and structured)
  • 2
    Beat me to the punch, excellent answer Aug 6, 2016 at 13:32
  • @PythonMaster Thanks!
    – fi12
    Aug 6, 2016 at 13:53
  • You know there might be something to review in Suggested Edits ;) Aug 6, 2016 at 13:54
  • @Python Already approved it :)
    – fi12
    Aug 6, 2016 at 13:55
  • +1 for lifelike characters. Trick when learning anything is to get emotions going - we are optimized for emotional load when learning. Mar 8, 2018 at 18:14

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