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How to Improve Your English Lessons Through Well-developed Educational Videos

A few tweaks will make a HUGE difference!

By Victor BlascoPublished 2 months ago 7 min read

Most students trying to learn English as a second language seek to acquire the most information in the least amount of time, and there's simply no better tool to achieve both goals than through effective educational video content.

ESL is one field that has enthusiastically embraced this powerful teaching tool. However, figuring out the best way to leverage high-quality educational videos in your English lessons can be tricky, especially when you have little experience with the medium.

In this article, we'll explore six specific ways in which educational videos help improve learning and give you some insight on how to leverage the medium to enhance the effectiveness of your English-related lessons!

1. Faster learning through audiovisual inputs

As technology advances, people are getting used to doing everything faster. We access information faster, purchase products faster, travel faster, and so on. What’s more, thanks to advanced streaming ingestion, we can now stream low-latency, high-speed content at the click of a button.

But what happens when we want to learn faster? It's well-known that learning anything complex, such as a language, takes time. Are there ways to accelerate the process of acquiring a second language?

Over the past few years, educational videos have been widely used in ESL education to help students learn faster than ever. But why is that? Let’s see.

Videos are a combination of visual and auditory materials. These two inputs in context happen to be what helps our brains condense, process, and recall information faster.

  • Audio: Unconscious or implicit language acquisition is a concept used by linguists to describe one of the ways humans learn languages. This type of learning occurs naturally; the more we listen to a language, the faster we acquire it. Even if we're not paying too much attention or taking notes, our brains naturally absorb the intonations, accents, and words to start creating recognizable patterns in our minds.
  • Moving images: Whether we’re watching live-action classroom video or a whiteboard animation, visual cues provide our brains with a full context to complete the meaning and associations of what we are listening to, as well as delivering human expressions, which also facilitate comprehension.

By combining visual and auditory materials, video has been demonstrated to boost one's capacity to learn concepts and details, tremendously accelerating the learning process.

2. Storytelling improves user experience

Stories are easier to remember than abstract concepts, contributing to the effective and efficient learning of English for students of all ages and levels.

Students who learn by watching videos that tell a story naturally improve their communication abilities by learning to organize their thoughts, ask questions, communicate their viewpoints, and create narratives. It's a great way to increase vocabulary, listening skills, reading comprehension, grammar, and speaking skills.

Think back to when you were just a child. Kids are naturally drawn to stories, they love the bedtime fairy tales their parents read to them, and they request to hear the same story repeatedly. That is because stories make it easier for them to receive and digest all kinds of information. The acquisition of new knowledge and abilities is disguised as a game, which appeals to kids unaware that they are learning.

The good news is that this appeal is so fundamentally engraved in our minds that it’s not lost when we grow up. So, students of all ages can benefit from storytelling-fueled content that improves their user experience and aids their English learning process in a more natural way.

3. Emotional engagement improves learning and retention

The act of keeping something in your memory is known as retention, and we’ve already touched on how the human brain is capable of processing audiovisual information quickly and efficiently. However, there’s another dimension to learning where video outpaces other mediums: emotional engagement.

Videos are one of the best ways to generate emotion in students by the way they leverage storytelling and engage multiple senses at the same time. Emotion strengthens our memories over time — a process known as consolidation. Strong emotions can enhance memory, whereas neutral events are more likely to be forgotten.

Appealing to the viewer’s feelings can help them retain information more consistently, but it’s worth mentioning that not just any feeling will do!

There are some specific feelings, called knowledge emotions, that promote and foster learning: awe, confusion, surprise, and interest.

These four knowledge emotions motivate students, and people in general, to engage with something instead of avoiding it, as they act at the level of the mind -not on the body as emotions like anger, fear, or sadness do-.

If, as a teacher, you can trigger emotions through your English video lessons, moving towards learning and retaining information will be much more natural for your students.

4. Empathy drives understanding

Taking into account all the benefits that we’ve already mentioned, it's no surprise that educational videos are becoming more and more popular as a means for students to learn English as a second language. As a result, educational institutions and teachers must address this increased demand for high-quality learning videos and online courses.

However, it’s important to understand that using video for video’s sake is not enough. When you develop video lessons to help students learn a second language, you need to factor in how empathy contributes to understanding.

Generating empathy for a lesson's main character helps students put themselves in the character's shoes and better understand the concepts and ideas being conveyed.

If you choose this path, there are some techniques that can help you build empathy with the characters you develop:

  • Make the character relatable to the audience: have it showcase positive values like loyalty, humor, or compassion. It’s important that the values you choose match those of your students (according to their age and general characteristics).
  • Don’t make the character perfect: give it some flaws, as it’s easier for students to identify with a character that makes mistakes, just as they do.
  • Show the character going through some kind of struggle: and, most importantly, show how they overcome it. This not only builds empathy but can also be inspiring and motivating.

And remember, it's usually more difficult to connect with someone's emotions when we are informed about how they feel. Students definitely identify more deeply when they are shown, with a mix of body language, actions, context, words, and facial expressions how characters in their lessons feel.

5. Subtitles can be your best ally

Streaming platforms have come to change the way in which we consume audiovisual materials. Movies, documentaries, and series from different regions of the world are now only a click away, and the popularity of YouTube and Facebook make this type of content more accessible than ever.

Now, while these sites are generally used for entertainment purposes, there is another side to them that could be exploited if used properly: the educational aspect. Why not turn movie night into learning night?

Before you say "boring," this is not about making a fun activity a dull one but about taking advantage of a situation that displays many different learning possibilities naturally.

For example, just by watching a piece of media with your students while using English subtitles, you already activate several functions beneficial to their learning process. First, you improve their listening skills by not relying on subtitles in their native language. Second, you can showcase how certain words are spelled, which eliminates ambiguity. Third, you can develop activities like having students write down the words they don’t know and look them up afterward, enhancing their vocabulary in an entertaining way, and learning new words naturally by seeing them in context.

6. Exposure to different accents through video improves listening skills

Effective listening has long been regarded as one of the most difficult abilities to master while learning a new language. For many years, listening exercises in most ESL classes were available only in native accents, usually British or American, and presented as audio-only content.

This hardly reflects what a student may encounter in a real-life situation, with the existence of so many dialects and non-native accents and a real-world speaker they can see pronouncing the language.

That is why video lessons that feature narrators or characters from all over the world are of great help in exposing students to a more accurate learning atmosphere. Video provides limitless opportunities to introduce students to various English accents, dialects, tones, pronunciations, and vocabulary. Using video to expose ESL students to a variety of English dialects is an excellent idea from all points of view. It will help them understand that there are numerous types of English and will help them grow accustomed to hearing the language spoken in various ways.

Moreover, students may also learn about diverse cultures, regions, and concepts by watching videos and derive more value from its contents beyond just learning the language.

In Short

If you’ve been studying or teaching English for a long time, you’ve probably tried lots of different ways of learning the language… But have you used video content to its fullest?

Educational videos are a powerful tool to enhance traditional teaching methods. Faster learning, increased and improved retention, more understanding, better user experience, and improved listening abilities are just some of the many attributes and benefits that educational video lessons provide!

We believe that everyone should have a good time learning English, and video is one of the best tools at your disposal to make the process fun and more effective! So it’s time to start leveraging this powerful medium. You won’t be disappointed with the results!

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About the Creator

Victor Blasco

Victor Blasco is a digital marketing expert, co-founder & CEO of the Explainer Video company Yum Yum Videos and Yum Yum Digital.

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    Victor BlascoWritten by Victor Blasco

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