Foster Instructor-Learner Relationships through Module Introduction Videos

Concurrent Session 3

Brief Abstract

Often, elearners feel a disconnect from instructors, because the screen presents a physical and metaphorical barrier to establishing a real connection. My goal was personalizing that barrier by having the instructor incorporate a three to five minute video into each module, introducing the objectives, course content, and expectations.


I am an Instructional Designer at Florida International University since December of 2015. My career in Education begin in 2008 as a High School Mathematics Teacher. While teaching I earned masters in Mathematics & Statistics and Higher Education, both with specializations in Adult Education. This is where I first begin to investigate theories and best practices relative to eLearning and Learner Transitions. After graduate school I became a Content Developer, where we'd create and fix content in different LMS. During this time period, I became an "Accidental Instructional Designer" both in the theoretical and practical sense. As an instructional designer, I both consult and assist in building quality courses in order to provide effective coursework for the support and improvement of FIU's student body.

Extended Abstract

Foster Instructor-Learner Relationships through Module Introduction Videos

Quite often, online learners feel a disconnect from instructors. Though they are able to contact the instructor through email or an LMS communication feature, the computer screen presents a physical and metaphorical barrier to establishing a real connection. My goal was to give that barrier a more personal nuance by having the instructor incorporate a short three to five minute video into each module/session/week, etc., introducing the objectives, course content, and expectations.

According to Cognitive Load Theory, our working memory is limited; in order to reduce the load it is important to integrate multiple sources of information. The varying representations of information, will decrease the dissonance occuring while processing information or increase it. While course design allows for rich content and well-written overviews, viewing videos is more relaxing and engaging; therefore learners are more likely to retain pertinent information from module introduction videos.

Module introduction videos engage learners and personalize instructional content for them. These videos allow the instructor to “personally” present their goals for each module. Learners will have the expectations of the module from the instructor’s point-of-view. The instructor establishes personal relevance through the validation of the objectives and narrowing/widening of module expectations. The learner now has a visual representation of whom they are submitting their assignments to and whom they are contacting with questions, comments, or concerns. In addition, opportunities for moments of critical thinking begin and are inspired at the start of the module. In the digital culture of redefining elearning through evolving trends in advanced technologies and traditional learning practices, engagement means encouraging students to complete modules quickly and successfully. While the instructor is establishing context to drive interest in the course content within the module, appropriate utilization of the module introduction videos, not only have expedited successful completion of modules, but learner’s retention of information is improved. When redesigning a course or considering a change, the module introduction videos can enliven the computer screen. The result of incorporating these videos into a course is an instructor-learner academic bond the engages the learner, humanizes the instructor, and cultivates the value of the content in the course.

Level of Participation:

The session will be a combination of Story-telling, Lecture, and Discussion. The attendees will be given paddles with Yes/No on opposing sides. Introducing the topic, I will spend roughly 5-7 minutes telling the attendees about a particular student that benefited from the module introduction videos. During the story I will ask Yes/No questions, that can be answered with the paddle, about the choices they would make given the same situation as the student. Following the story, I will lecture, explaining what module introduction videos are and how the idea arrived, presenting the Cognitive Load Theory and how it supports the necessity of module introduction videos. Then I’ll discuss the tools necessary to create the videos, explaining the advantages and disadvantages of the different media equipment and softwares. Finally ending the lecture with a 2 minute video message from the instructor that used the module introduction videos, detailing her experience with creating the videos and the feedback she received. After the lecture we will discuss additional softwares and tools that are available and end with the audience Q&A.

Session Goals:

After attending this presentation, individuals will be able to discuss the advantages of having module introduction videos in online courses. They will be able to describe Cognitive Load Theory and explain why placing these videos in an online course will reduce learners’ over processing of information. They will be able to discuss how the instructor-learner relationship improves by using the videos. And lastly, they will be able to choose the appropriate tools necessary to create the videos.