Knowledge Clips: Why and How to Use Them?

A short video clip concisely explaining one particular topic, concept or basic principle is called a knowledge clip. Discover here when to use them and some didactical tips and tricks.

When to use?

Repetition of or new learning content

  • Activate students’ prior knowledge;
  • smooth away differences in prior knowledge among students (e.g. in case of a course unit being taught to students from different study programmes);
  • provide additional support; difficult topics, frequently made mistakes in exam papers, based on a poll at the end of the lecture;
  • bring together basic knowledge on a certain topic;

    build up a repository of basic knowledge. For example:

    • a series of clips on the different types of variables in statistics;
    • a series of clips on the meaning of constructivism in education;
    • a series of clips on the Lewis’s theory containing all the criteria for a stable electronic structure.



  • Illustrate a process or step-by-step plan that students need to go through;
  • illustrate the solution to a problem or exercise;
  • illustrate practical skills;
  • accompany an assignment with the necessary instructions;
  • by way of preparation to a practical.



  • Answer frequently asked question;
  • discuss frequently made mistakes in assignments.


Tips & Tricks


  • A good knowledge clip is at the same time brief and effective. Since they focus on one specific topic, students immediately know what they are about. In so doing, they stimulate in-depth processing.
  • Of real added value are knowledge clips that have been enriched with short pieces of text, additional literature, a discussion assignment, a forum contribution, … and have been integrated into a Ufora learning path.
  • make your videos interactive. Students engage with the contents in a more active manner if they have to answer questions or if there are clickable interactive elements. Try to limit the number of multiple choice questions. Opt for fill-in exercises instead. Students will watch the clip much more attentively when they have to fill in exercises themselves.
  • contextualize the video clip: what is its purpose, how does it relate to the learning contents, ...
  • it is well-known that viewers’ minds start to wander after six minutes. After nine minutes, they are totally unfocused.   Ideally, keep your knowledge clip to a maximum of nine minutes.  It is better to have two short knowledge than one long one;
  • in case of a demo, make sure the camera captures the first-person point of view when you perform a specific procedure. For students this will feel like looking through your eyes/the eyes of the lecturer. Also, left-hand side on screen will then match the viewer’s left-hand side;
  • image quality is less important than sound quality. Whereas a video clip with poor image quality is usually still quite viewable, one with poor sound quality often turns out to be useless. Use a good microphone and avoid (or at least try to limit) background noise;
  • recapitulate the key points at the end of the clip.


Give students control of playback

  • With Panopto you can divide your knowledge clip into separate chapters (either automated or not);
  • students retain the information of a knowledge clip even at the normal playback speed times one-and-a-half (x1.5) or times two (x2); 
  • subtitles can be useful in specific contexts (e.g. learning a foreign language, for students with specific needs, ...) but are not always necessary. If you choose to provide subtitles, Panopto allows for students to either enable or disable them;


Beware of cognitive overload on screen

  • combination of audio/video/text: avoid the use of too much text on screen;
  • do not add background music or complex backgrounds to your clip;
  • avoid appearing on screen yourself unless it is absolutely relevant for the students (e.g. in terms of pronunciation, facial expressions, composure, performing a procedure, connecting with the students during an introduction, ...);


Use of voice

  • use informal speech: students respond to that better than to solemn or highly formal speech;
  • allow your speech to express your enthusiasm;
  • make it personal: use ‘I’ and ‘you’ in your clip (instead of ‘one’). Students will feel more connected;
  • monitor your speech rate: the ideal pace is between 185-254 words per minute.


Make use of old lecture recordings

Cut out a relevant part of the lecture recording. This is an accessible way to experiment with knowledge clips. Does the use of knowledge clips catch on? Recreate the knowledge clip with better audio and visuals.

Which video formats exist?

(only in Dutch)

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Last modified March 14, 2023, 1:39 p.m.