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Best Practices | 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, screencapture, and inking (writing on the presentation). It has become popular for online and flipped classroom models, where students are given online access to the lectures.


The following video, “Why Record Lectures?” gives insight on the benefits of providing students with narrated lectures.



In Practice

Tips for creating engaging presentations:

  • Don't read, talk! Let your personality show. Your main goal should be to keep your listeners interested and focused. Pretend you are actually lecturing to a class. Place a photograph of your family or pet near your computer and pretend you are talking to them.
  • Engage the learner. With some applications, like Office Mix, EdPuzzle, and Canvas Studio (formerly Arc) you can add in embedded questions and polls that require students to respond. Use this feature to actively engage students. Other engagement strategies including giving examples or telling a relevant story.
  • Chunk content. Break down your content into smaller digestible bites and keep your presentations short (5-7 min). Instead of lecturing for 30-50 minutes like you may do in a face-to-face course, provide alternative representations of the content within the module and keep your narrated powerpoints specific to the content that benefits from verbal explanation.
  • Keep accessibility in mind. Use good slide design: limit number of fonts, size of fonts and color of fonts to 3 per presentation. Provide transcripts for non-text information. Consider graphic note-taking tools or worksheets if appropriate.


Additional Resources

Visit the CIRT page on how to create narrated lectures for resources on different software and online tools available.


Make an appointment with an instructional designer to talk about the pros and cons and best instructional practices for implementation of narrated lectures into your courses.



Brown, S., Hiatt, K., & Workman, T. (2006). Best Practices for Narrated Presentations. Extended Education and Outreach Distance Education Luncheon.