Grow a Multimedia Team in an Instructional Design Environment

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Does multimedia production make you cringe? Creating online lectures may be taxing for instructional designers and for faculty members, but entrusting the work to a multimedia department may result in subpar learning materials. This session provides strategies and a model for a symbiotic relationship between multimedia and learning designers.

Extended Abstract

The Topic and Its Relevancy

When creating online courses, one cannot separate multimedia production (e.g., lecture recordings, animations, illustrations) from the learning experience. Even the use of motion graphics with intricate animations and a polished look has proven to enhance the learning experience (Barnes, 2016). Departments in higher education have experimented with how to tackle their multimedia needs. Some rely on instructors to create their own presentations and recordings (Popova, 2020), some partner with third-party organizations (Guzman, 2020), while others depend on their instructional designers (IDs) to bear another responsibility and create their own multimedia learning assets (Henderson & Schroeder, 2021). More often, multimedia departments are raised to operate separately from their instructional design colleagues, thereby having a deliverable-focused relationship. For example, an instructor may work with an ID, then work separately with their videographer to capture their lectures. With each of the models, gaps can become apparent. The IDs may focus on the pedagogical production of the learning materials without adequately considering the design and technical implementation of the video work. This may lead to the creation of informative, but boring, videos (Fyfield et al., 2019). The multimedia specialists may have the technical experience and skills but lack the knowledge and experience to negotiate the subject information with an instructor to meet the established learning objectives. There is then the dire consequence that significant cost investments are poured into a multimedia department that cannot reliably produce high fidelity educational materials.

Takeaways for Audience: Strategies and a Model

This presentation aims to provide strategies to grow a multimedia team within an instructional design department, sharing recommendations for the organization of the team and the procedures to facilitate between multimedia and instructional design teams. 

The strategies stem from one of the instructional design departments at a large research university. Within a typical four-month semester, the multimedia team is expected to produce approximately 300 videos for about 30 online courses – the video work ranges from green screen lectures to more complex recordings with the lightboard and animations. In addition to the video work, the team also is expected to be ready to produce on-location recordings and attend to larger multimedia projects (e.g., 360-degree studio tour, animated lectures, online science labs). To meet the demands, the multimedia team consists of one studio manager, one on-location videographer, two senior video editors, two multimedia specialists, and two OPS video editors. Each multimedia team member (MTM) is skilled in video editing and paired to collaborate with an ID. As instructional design is the focus of the department, the MTM supports each course or project with the scope confirmed between the ID and the instructor. Once the specifications are determined, the multimedia specialist begins concepting the video graphics and assets according to the designs established by the department’s graphic design team.

Although it is not the only medium used in online education, the presentation primarily details the video production process. Figure 1 presents the symbiotic process, and suggested model, between the ID and the MTM when producing the lecture videos.

The process follows a pre-production strategy to provide the ID and the instructor the most time to craft a lecture, including PowerPoints and scripts. The IDs schedule a studio recording on the calendar, which triggers the studio manager to begin the tracking process for that recording, and they are required to submit the finalized recordings materials 24 hours before a recording. Otherwise, the recording will be postponed allowing the ID, the instructors, and MTM more time for preparations.

During the recording, the ID and MTM collaborate during the time so that the MTM has the responsibility to ensure a high-quality recording that engages students, while the ID helps to check whether the planned educational content is properly shared.

After the recording, the MTM has one week to collaborate with the other multimedia team members to edit the video, obtain peer review, and share with the ID to review and share with the instructor. If there are any edits during the review processes, the MTMs complete those edits, and with the final approval, they upload the videos to the proper video platforms (e.g., YouTube, Vimeo). They also send the videos to the third-party transcription service and monitor for the transcript and .srt files to be returned. They notify the IDs once the files are returned so that they know the video lectures and the transcripts are ready to be added to the respective courses. When focused on video editing, the MTM can complete the editing of about 20 45-minute videos a week. 

So that the ID can focus on their work with the instructor, the MTM carries the burden of delivering the online lectures, which can constitute up to 30 percent of the online learning experience and has been hailed by the university’s online students as the most important piece of their learning experience. The proper handling of a video can take up to six total hours per lecture. With about 300 videos to produce per semester, that results in about 1,800 hours of video work that does not fall on either the IDs or the instructors.

Plan for Interactivity during the Session

During the presentation, the speakers are looking forward to creating an environment for open discussion about the place of multimedia production within the learning design process. They plan to engage with interactive polls and discussion throughout the presentation and to provide adequate time for audience members to ask questions or to share their own experiences at the end of the presentation. A tool used by the MTMs, IDs, and instructors will also be shared with the audience members so they can experience the collaboration as well.


Barnes, S. R. (2016). Studies in the Efficacy of Motion Graphics: The Effects of Complex Animation on the Exposition Offered by Motion Graphics. Animation, 11(2), 146–168.

Fyfield, M., Henderson, M., Heinrich, E., & Redmond, P. (2019). Videos in higher education: Making the most of a good thing. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 35(5), 1-7.

Guzman, A. K., Wang, R. H., Nazarian, R. S., & Barbieri, J. S. (2020). Evaluation of YouTube as an educational resource for treatment options of common dermatologic conditions. International journal of dermatology, 59(3), e65.

Henderson, M. L., & Schroeder, N. L. (2021). A Systematic review of instructor presence in instructional videos: Effects on learning and affect. Computers and Education Open, 2, 100059.

Popova, O. I., Gagarina, N. M., & Karkh, D. A. (2020). Digitalization of Educational Processes in Universities: Achievements and Problems. Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research, 437, 738.