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What is an Instructional Video?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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There are plenty of things people want to learn how to do. They may want to take an exercise class, manage their finances, and learn a little first aid or more. Since just after the advent of the video tape player, lots of big and small companies have met these needs, producing instructional videos on a variety of topics. Today, the instructional video, which could be defined as any video designed to teach a particular thing, is more likely to be an instructional DVD or increasingly, video available on sites like YouTube® or downloaded files that can fit on an MP3 player or computer screen.

People can access lots of free instructional video types on YouTube®. For instance, if a mom or dad is having trouble teaching a young one to tie their shoes, there are multiple shoe-tying videos that can be used to bring this concept home. Some even have slow motion demonstrations and most only take a few minutes to watch. Lots of first aid concepts are demonstrated on the web, too. People can learn how to tape a toe, how to bandage a wound, and for the surgeon out there that needs a little review, there are medical school demonstrations of stitching techniques or ways to insert a chest tube.

Most of these free instructional video demonstrations have in common that they are short in duration, but they may be watched several times if a concept isn’t gotten on the first viewing. They also illustrate an important distinction. Not all of these videos are appropriate to everyone, and some certainly shouldn’t be tried without some foundational knowledge existing. Imagine teaching the five year old to stitch wounds, for instance.

Perhaps the idea of the instructional video being exclusive to some types of people is best illustrated with the number of videos that teach from various exercise programs. Though many of these, like demonstrations of yoga or Pilates moves, come with a warning to check with doctors prior to beginning exercise, not all people adhere to these warnings. They may try to do too much or push too far, resulting in serious injury. The fact that people can quickly get just about every yoga pose demonstrated online doesn’t necessarily mean they should do every yoga pose. Some people will be better suited to starting with a long instructional video that is designed to work with beginners who could have physical limitations.

Another point that could be made about the instructional video is that it is not interactive with the learner. People who watch them are free to get it wrong, assume the wrong thing or to do something that is not being demonstrated. The nature of classes with a teacher helps to provide a corrective element that a video cannot provide. Those learning something really difficult might want to consider classes on a certain subject, instead.

Nevertheless, the instructional video, in all of its forms, is likely here to stay. These can empower people with knowledge on many different subjects, and there’s a present trend on the Internet of providing video instead of text to teach many things. It should be hoped that any form of instruction is treated with a grain of salt. People should ask questions of experts prior to trying out any difficult thing or completely following video advice because the creators of these videos are often not experts either.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Practical Adult Insights contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By Melonlity — On Mar 07, 2014

Want to have some fun? Grab a bunch of instructional videos from the 1970s and 1980s. Bad acting, bad advice and odd clothing are the norm for those things. You'll laugh yourself silly watching some of those things and you can usually find them for cheap or free.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Practical Adult Insights contributor...
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