UNF Center for Instruction and Research Technology

Instructional Design

Best Practices for Narrated Lectures


Narrated lectures refers to creating a multimedia video of an instructor’s lecture. Among other things it could include a Powerpoint Presentation, audio of the instructor speaking, screen capture, or inking (writing on the presentation). It has become popular for online and flipped classroom models, where students are given online access to the lectures.

Narrated lectures can improve student motivation and reduce cognitive load by giving students control over their learning. Students can pause the lecture if they need to take notes or re-watch parts that may be difficult. This increases comprehension of content and allows students to review the material more efficiently. (Noetel et al., 2021).

In Practice

The following tips can help you create engaging narrated lectures.

Chunk Content

Break down your content into smaller digestible bites and keep your presentations short. It is recommended to keep videos under 10 minutes. Students tend to quit listening and become distracted with long videos. Instead of lecturing for 30-50 minutes like you may do in a face-to-face course, keep your narrated presentations specific to the content that benefits from verbal explanation. Then, you can provide other instructional materials for the additional content, such as textbook readings or a journal article. If the presentation needs to be longer, break it up into separate presentations with specific topics for each. Chunking lecture videos is significantly preferred by students versus one long video. Chunking videos also improves both attention and engagement (Humphries & Clark, 2021).

Engage the Learner

Actively engage students by giving real-life examples, sharing relevant stories, and integrating visuals. Consider note-taking tools or worksheets, if appropriate, to accompany the lecture. Additionally, you can embed questions into the video that require students to respond. With Canvas Studio, you can create a video quiz that prompts students to answer multiple-choice, true or false, and multiple answer question types. This feature makes videos more interactive and allows students to monitor their understanding of the lecture content while they watch. Visit the Canvas guide for more information on how to use Canvas Studio video quizzing.

You should also show your personality. If using an outline or script for your video, try not to read directly from the script. Connect with your students by using a conversational style. Your main goal should be to keep your listeners interested and focused.

Keep Accessibility in Mind

Use good slide design for your presentations. Limit the number of fonts, size of fonts and color of fonts to three per presentation. Avoid low contrast text and background colors that are hard to see. Provide transcripts for non-text information. Canvas Studio includes a captioning tool that will generate captions for your videos. Captions are 85% accurate, so review your captions for accuracy before publishing. You can contact CIRT for help with captions and transcripts for media.

Additional Resources

  • The Creative Team at CIRT is available to assist with media production and in-studio video and audio recording. The CIRT Video Studio features high-quality rapid lecture capture, a green screen, a sound booth, and a lightboard. Visit the CIRT website to read more about the CIRT Video Studio and to book the studio.
  • Visit our collection on narrated lectures for resources on different software and online tools available.


Humphries, B., & Clark, D. (2021). An examination of student preference for traditional didactic or chunking teaching strategies in an online learning environment. Research in Learning Technology, 29. https://doi.org/10.25304/rlt.v29.2405

Noetel, M., Griffith, S., Delaney, O., Sanders, T., Parker, P., del Pozo Cruz, B., & Lonsdale, C. (2021). Video improves learning in higher education: A systematic review. Review of Educational Research, 91(2), 204-236. DOI: 10/3102.0034654321990713

Article Contents