J Eng Teach Movie Media > Volume 24(1); 2023 > Article
Harrison: Student Perceptions of Teacher-Generated Educational Videos Shown in a Korean EFL Classroom


The purpose of this study was to analyze the perceptions of Korean English as a Foreign Language (EFL) university students toward teacher-generated educational videos and the recommendations they have for improving their effectiveness. While playing short video clips is now common practice in many EFL classes, few teachers choose to generate their own educational videos and little research has been done on how to create effective educational videos for EFL learners. Nine Korean university students participated in this study with qualitative data being collected from a focus group and semi-structured interviews. The videos shown to the students were viewed on the YouTube website during class and were created by their teacher and the author of this paper. The results show that the students find the videos helpful and effective for improving their English, although it is recommended to limit the time spent in class watching videos as students would rather spend time practicing the language. Other opinions and recommendations are grounded in cognitive load theory. The implications of this study suggest that teachers should consider creating their own educational videos and suggestions are made of how to create effective presentations.


It is common for English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers to play short video clips as an educational aid. Videos are multimodal educational resources which can combine visual and auditory elements, or modes, to enrich a learning environment. The visual mode could include watching someone speaking, looking at a picture, or a film clip of an action. Also included in visual modes are text, such as captions or target words that appear on screen for viewers to read. Auditory modes are not only speech but also music and sound effects. According to Moreno and Mayer (2007), the most effective learning environments are those which combine visual and auditory representation of knowledge using multimodal presentation.
Most EFL student books have accompanying video clips that can be used to add context to the target language or as listening activities; however, published videos do not always provide the types of content that a teacher wants to show for a given class (Block, 1991), resulting in a desire for teachers to use supplementary videos. Most teachers who choose to show videos which are supplementary to whatever might be available in their chosen student book use the video file sharing site YouTube. Youtube.com is a website for the viewing and sharing of user-generated videos, which was launched in 2005. Viewers can leave comments on the videos that the content creators can then reply to. The videos are easy to access from the internet, and students are already familiar with the site.
A number of benefits of using videos in the classroom have been highlighted in EFL research. Watkins and Wilkins (2011) stated that watching YouTube videos can enhance conversation, listening, and pronunciation skills. It is also a source of motivation for students and gives exposure to a variety of different dialects from around the world (Jalaluddin, 2016). Unlike English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, where students are immersed in a setting which uses the target language, EFL students have limited exposure to real-life input of the language. The use of videos allows students to gain exposure to the target language from a variety of native and non-native speakers who use different dialects. However, the showing of videos alone is not enough to facilitate learning unless they are integrated into a wider educational program (Yu, 2002).
There are also disadvantages that have been identified of using YouTube videos to teach EFL. Teachers have no control over how students use YouTube outside of the classroom and they can become distracted easily (Jalaluddin, 2016). The website might be used to view inappropriate or off-topic material, especially when such videos appear in the search results alongside the target video or as a recommendation from the site (Brook, 2011).
Creating one’s own educational videos can be time consuming and requires some technical ability to record and edit; however, with the technological advances in hardware and software over the last 20 years, it has become easier for teachers to create high-quality learning materials (Kemm, 2022). The difficulty of creating teacher-generated videos is balanced by their benefits as a teaching aid. For example, it is the teacher who can best create videos to match the interests and needs of their students. Bajrami and Ismaili (2016) state that video topics should be chosen based on the interests and English ability of the students while also considering cultural aspects. While creating new material can be time consuming, the benefit of making stimulating learning materials which can be used again and again is great for both teachers and students (Block, 1991).
When creating educational videos, it is important to consider cognitive load to maximize learning (Brame, 2016). Cognitive load is the burden which a particular task places on the learner’s cognitive system and can be subcategorized into three different types of processing in the brain (Paas et al., 2016): intrinsic load is generated by the inherent complexity of the presented material being studied, extraneous load is generated by the format in which information is presented such as a poorly design lesson, and germane load constitutes the effort required of learners to understand and make sense of the material.
Research shows the benefits of integrating videos into EFL education programs; however, there is a lack of research in the area of how to improve the quality of teacher-generated material in the field of EFL (Kemm, 2022) and how it can be used effectively in the classroom to facilitate language learning (Zaidi et al., 2018) especially in the Korean context. This study seeks to understand students’ perceptions of teacher-generated videos and to gain an insight into the kind of videos that they want to watch. This knowledge will help teachers to be able to make more effective and engaging educational videos for their students. With these aims, this research seeks to answer the following questions:
1. What are the perceptions of Korean EFL students regarding the effectiveness of teacher-generated educational videos?
2. What recommendations do Korean EFL students have to improve the effectiveness of teacher-generated educational videos?


1. Use of Video to Teach EFL

In an article designed to demonstrate how a movie segment can be incorporated into an EFL lesson, Yu (2002) highlighted the benefits of providing authentic materials that are similar to real-life interaction as they present language within the context in which it occurs. It is stated that the video clips should be integrated into a language education program through careful planning to achieve study goals and objectives. Video clips should be chosen which are not too difficult for the students to understand and not too long, with a recommended range of three to six minutes. Activities to help the students understand the language are important during the preview, viewing and postviewing stages. In preview activities, relevant grammar or vocabulary and background knowledge can help students understand the authentic language. Viewing activities should be simple in order not to distract from students’ focus on the video. While post-viewing activities are the most important as this is where study goals and objectives are achieved. In the conclusion, a potential limitation of videos was highlighted in that it is not the videos on their own which make a class communicative, but ultimately the teacher who must achieve this in their classes.
A paper by Zaidi et al. (2018) investigated Malaysian university students’ perceptions of the use of YouTube videos to learn English. The study used a questionnaire with a Likert scale to gauge the opinions of 159 university students. The study concluded that students were highly interested in using YouTube to learn English and a number of advantages were identified. It was found that students thought the use of YouTube videos made learning English more interesting, while easier to learn and understand. Watching YouTube videos also motivated students to be independent learners outside of the class.
A study by Silviyanti (2014) showed a number of benefits from using YouTube videos to get listening practice. The study investigated Indonesian university students’ perceptions using a questionnaire. The findings showed that the students thought the videos helped to improve their English, and that using YouTube is interesting and motivated them to study English. A reason given for the positive perceptions was that the pictures in the video made it easier for students to understand the topic. One student commented that they “accidentally learn English” from watching YouTube videos. Although negative comments showed that some students had difficulty connecting to the internet at home and they lacked motivation to study alone or if homework had not been assigned.
The perceptions of Indonesian university students towards teacher-generated YouTube videos used in online classes were analyzed in a study by Atmojo (2022). The videos were created during COVID-19 when teachers were required to teach online and were made with presentation slides and the teacher’s voice overlayed. The case study used students’ written reflections and focus groups to explore the opinions of eight students taking a general English course. The results showed that the students generally found the videos to be helpful and effective, although some suggestions were made of how to improve them. Many of the students thought the videos, which usually lasted for around 25 minutes, were too long and suggested a length of about 10 minutes to make them less boring. Several of the students wanted to see the instructor’s face during the presentation. One student wanted more real-life examples of language use, while another suggested that animation related to the topic would make the videos more interesting.

2. Teaching English Using Video in the Korean EFL Setting

A study involving South Korean high school students found that encouraging the use of e-learning had a positive impact on EFL achievement (Chae, 2018). The study measured the effect of watching English programs by the Educational Broadcasting Service (EBS) on their free-to-view video-on-demand website. The change in students’ EFL academic achievement was measured from their second and third years in high school, with EBS users in both their second and third years showing a greater increase in their EFL achievement test scores.
Research in the area of teacher-generated videos used in EFL face-to-face classrooms is sparse; however, Kang and Ahn (2015) studied the effects of a flipped classroom where teacher-crafted videos were assigned as homework to Korean university students. A flipped class involves students self-studying key points outside of the class in their own time to allow for more time in class to participate in group activities and discussion. The videos which were created by the teacher consisted of PowerPoint slides with a narration added which were then uploaded to the teacher’s YouTube channel to allow students easy access to the material. In the study, students were given pre- and post-tests of grammar and vocabulary knowledge which was then compared to gauge the effectiveness of the flipped lessons. The results of the study showed that both grammar and vocabulary knowledge improved, but only the vocabulary knowledge improvement was statistically significant. A possible reason as to why the grammar improvement was not significant was given as the grammar videos might not have covered the grammar points in enough detail that was appropriate to their proficiency level. A review of student logs which were completed after every class also showed that the flipped learning classes with videos increased student satisfaction.

3. Cognitive Load Theory

Mayer (2009) highlights ways in which cognitive load can be managed when creating multimedia materials. To manage the intrinsic load and complexity, the material can be presented in smaller chunks and learners should be able to control the playback speed of the media. To minimize extraneous load, distractions such as background music and complex visuals should be avoided, while text should be minimized and highlighted to emphasize key information. To optimize germane load, or increase the ability of the learner to process the lesson, use images to enhance meaning rather than for decorative effect.
While the role that cognitive load plays in multimedia learning has received considerable attention (Kruger & Doherty, 2016), the suggested practices do not always translate to best practice in the field of foreign language study. For example, research by Guo et al. (2014) found in a study of viewers of massive open online courses (MOOCs) at American universities that student engagement increased when the narrators spoke relatively quickly; however, research in the field of second language acquisition has shown that a slower or natural speech rate boosts listening comprehension (Fujita, 2017; Hayati, 2010). Another example of the differing needs of foreign language students is the effect of captions. According to cognitive load theory, captions may increase extraneous load as the viewers’ attention is distracted by the different sources of information; however, in language acquisition studies captions have been shown to reduce extraneous load and promote learning (Buranowska, 2020) by providing visual support (Pass et al., 2016) and increase learners’ interaction with the target language (Frumuselu et al., 2015). To achieve this benefit of captions it is important that the text is synchronized, that is, shown simultaneously, with speech and presented in visually short segments (Kalyuga, 2012).
As noted in the introduction, there is a lack of research in the field of how to improve teacher-generated material in EFL especially with regard to video. While the principles of cognitive load theory and its application to creating multimedia presentations have been widely researched, it has not received much attention in the area of video design for the EFL student. One explanation for this is that teachers view video as a “readily available source” (Zaidi et al., 2018, p. 545) due to the vast repository of educational content of sites such as YouTube and therefore are not creating their own videos. If teachers decide to create their own videos, it is important that they understand the perceptions of students toward the videos so that the creators can improve their presentations.


1. Study Design

This research uses a qualitative case study method. A case study is a research strategy which focuses on understanding the dynamics within a limited real-life setting bounded by space and time (Stake, 2005). This method is appropriate for this research as it takes place within the bounded setting of two classes at a university over the period of one semester. According to Creswell and Poth (2016), in order to accomplish a successful qualitative case study, the researcher should collect and combine multiple sources of qualitative data, including interviews and observations. To that end, this study collected qualitative data with a focus group, semi-structured interviews, and a teacher’s journal.

2. Participants

The study was conducted in the autumn semester of 2022 at a private university in South Korea. All undergraduates at the university must complete two semesters of English in their freshmen year. A semester consists of 15 weekly 2-hour classes. The students take a level placement test before starting at the university and are then allotted an ability level. This study was conducted in two low-intermediate classes which correspond to a Common European Framework level of A2 (Council of Europe, 2001). The two classes both consisted of 20 students in their second semester of English at the university. The students were aged between 18 and 23 years old. Some of the students had previously studied with the instructor in the spring semester. At the beginning of the semester the teacher asked for five volunteers from class A to take part in the focus group and semi-structured interviews. Many of the students were reluctant to participant in the interviews and only four more students volunteered to take part in the semi-structured interviews. One reason why so few students volunteered to take part in the interviews is they might have been concerned about the difficulty of answering questions in English. Table 1 shows the students involved in this study. Students were asked to give a nickname to preserve their privacy.
The teacher is a British native speaker who has been teaching English at the university level in South Korea for 13 years. Only English was used in the classroom. The semester syllabus follows six units from the student textbook Breakthrough 2 (2nd ed.) by MacMillan Education (Craven, 2017). The videos follow the grammar from the units in the book and are supplemental to its content. The class teaches the four skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking, but with a focus on the latter.

3. Video Overview

The videos shown to students in this study were generated by the teacher to assist learners with their English study. The videos are available to be streamed on YouTube, which allows students and the teacher easy access to the videos. They are only shown in class and there is no requirement for the students to watch the videos at home, although they are encouraged to do so, especially as a review tool before quizzes or exams. Video links can easily be shared to allow the students to quickly find the videos if they choose to watch them outside of class. The YouTube channel focuses on teaching English grammar, but there are also videos related to culture or general interest topics. The channel was created in 2016 and currently has 37 videos and over 34,000 subscribers with viewers from all over the world (see Figure 1). Many of the videos were designed to teach the target language from the Breakthrough 2 student book and have been created to appeal to the interests of Korean university students, although the videos only use English and are suitable for an international audience. The videos are created with stock photos and video clips with speech overlayed. English captions are hardcoded into the videos so students can follow the speech by reading as they listen. A typical video is three to five minutes long and focuses on one grammar point. During the video, the grammar will be explained, and example sentences are given with pictures that visualize the concept, giving context, and aiding understanding. Some videos include a conversation between two speakers or a story with the text displayed on the screen (see Figure 2). Many of the videos include questions at the end for the viewer, who is invited to type their answers in the comments section, which the teacher will see and can reply to. Table 2 shows the units from the student textbook covered in class and the corresponding videos which were watched. A total of seven videos were shown to the students.
In class, the videos form part of the lesson which is centered around the content of the student textbook. Any worksheets connected to the videos are supplemental to the activities in the textbook. A typical lesson might start with a warm-up activity, such as answering questions related to the topic, followed by building vocabulary (see Figure 3). The grammar is usually explained before watching the video. These are the previewing activities. Then, the grammar explanation in the video reinforces the lesson. Some of the accompanying class worksheets include basic listening questions to complete while watching the video. Any viewing activities are kept simple to allow the students to concentrate on the content of the video. Post-activities include speaking tasks to allow the students to practice the language themselves or a written activity using the target grammar. Finally, a link to the video can be shared with the students to allow them to review the language at home in their own time. Once the video has been watched and any teacher-generated worksheets related to it completed, then the lesson will continue using the student textbook.

4. Data Collection and Analysis

Data was collected from a focus group, semi-structured interviews, and a teacher’s journal. In order to achieve an in-depth understand of a case, it is important to collect many forms of qualitative data, including interviews and observations (Creswell & Poth, 2016). Focus groups can be helpful in qualitative studies as interactions among the participants encourage them to reveal feelings, perceptions, and beliefs they might not express if they were interviewed individually (Gall et al., 2003). Semi-structured interviews start with broad questions and allow the interviewer to explore issues by asking follow-up questions to obtain additional information in a conversational twoway communication with participants (Dörnyei, 2007).
Five students volunteered to take part in the focus group. Nine students, including the five who took part in the focus group, volunteered to take part in the semi-structured interviews. The students were informed that taking part in the interviews would have no effect on their grades and were encouraged to give open and honest answers to the questions asked. The focus group was held using English with five students in week seven of the semester. Questions were asked to gauge students’ opinions about the YouTube videos over a period of 40 minutes. Questions 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, and 10 from the list below were asked during the focus group and follow-up questions were asked to explore opinions in more detail. The insights gained from the focus group were used to develop further questions (3, 6, 7, and 8) to be asked in the semi-structured interviews.
1) What do you think about the YouTube videos we watch in class?
2) Do you think YouTube videos are an effective way to learn English? Why / Why not?
3) What do you learn from watching English study YouTube videos?
4) What do you like most about watching YouTube videos to learn English?
5) What do you like least about watching YouTube videos to learn English?
6) Would you like to spend more or less time in class watching YouTube videos?
7) Have you watched the teacher-generated videos outside of class? Why / Why not?
8) Have you ever experienced difficulty watching the videos outside of class?
9) What recommendations do you have to improve the YouTube videos and accompanying worksheets?
10) Do you have any further comments or feedback?
The semi-structured interviews were held one-to-one from week nine over a period of three weeks. Each student was asked questions 1 through 10. Follow-up questions were asked to give a deeper understanding of the students’ opinions. During the interviews extensive notes were taken and the audio was recorded. The recorded data from the interviews was transcribed using intelligent verbatim transcription with fillers and incomplete sentences removed, although grammar mistakes were not corrected to preserve the meaning of the informants’ speech. During the semester the teacher kept a journal in which comments and observations were made concerning the videos and accompanying activities and students’ reactions to them.
Thematic analysis procedures were used to identify, analyze and report patterns, or themes, within the data to help understand the complexity of the case (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Codes were created and labelled by identifying small categories of information to “make sense of the text collected from interviews” (Creswell & Poth, 2016, p. 190) especially common responses related to the research questions. The interview transcripts were analyzed, and significant statements were highlighted. The codes were then reduced and combined into five themes which are presented in the results of this paper (see Appendix).


This study reveals five common themes to the perceptions and recommendations of students regarding teachergenerated educational videos. Three themes were identified in relation to the perceptions of students regarding the effective of the videos: (1) videos are helpful and convenient, providing a good summary of the target language and grammar; (2) videos are short and limited to one grammar point which helps students focus on the material; (3) the visual aspect of the videos helps with understanding by providing context; and two themes were identified of recommendations the students have to improve the effectiveness of the videos; (4) students want the videos to be more entertaining; and (5) take steps to make the videos easier to process: reduce cognitive load. The researcher included a wider range of student recommendations of how to improve the videos, since the suggestions, even though not commonly discussed, should still be considered (Lee, 2017). The opinions presented here are reflective of the informants in this study and the context in which they learn and are not easily generalizable; however, these opinions can form a foundation on which student perceptions of teacher-generated videos can be further explored and understood. Observations from the teacher’s journal have been included in the results where those observations support the themes identified from the student responses.

1. Student Perceptions

1) Helpful and Convenient

The students interviewed for this study all described the videos which they watch in class as helpful and effective for improving their English. One student stated the videos allow learners to hear the target language with correct pronunciation and give examples of using the grammar in real-life situations. A common comment regarding the convenience of watching the videos outside of class was that they could be watched “anywhere, anytime”, because they are easy to access on YouTube.
Helpful… It’s really easy to understand. (Zia, one-to-one)
I watch the video on the subway or bus. (Steve, one-to-one)
I watch YouTube in the bus, in subway, everywhere. (Kathy, one-to-one)
South Korea has a high percentage of smartphone ownership (Silver, 2019) and easy access to the internet, so that some of the difficulties of internet access experienced by learners in other countries (Silviyanti, 2014) are not an issue in the Korean context. Some students appreciated that the videos were free to watch, allowing them to study without buying a textbook.
We don’t have to pay to watch it, so it’s very convenient… Can learn English only watch the video. (Kathy, focus group)
I think it’s effective way because a lot of people watch YouTube my age. It’s really easy to search for. It’s easy to see and it’s free. (Zia, one-to-one)
A common theme in the responses was that the videos provide a good summary of the target language, either as an introduction to the lesson or for reviewing at home before a quiz or exam.
We watch your video in the class, we go back to our home, we can restudy more easily. (Kathy, focus group)
Useful before an exam. I repeat it. (Hannah, focus group)
Is helpful to study for the exam, my test and homework. (Steve, one-to-one)
When watching the video outside of class, if the student were to not understand part of the lesson, they could rewind and watch that part again, or the whole video could be watched repeatedly. Similar student perceptions were recorded in a study by Purwanti et al. (2022) who stated that videos could be re-watched if the students did not understand or if they forgot something.
If I miss any part, I can watch the video more and more. (Steve, one-to-one)
In an observation from the teacher’s journal, it was noted that watching an educational video was an effective way of reviewing material that had been previously taught, such as in the preceding semester. Videos could help to refresh the knowledge of the students without spending a lot of time in review.

2) Short and Limited to One Grammar Point

Most of the informants commented that the videos were the appropriate length of three to five minutes long. Making the videos short allows students to focus their concentration while watching them, and only teaching one grammar point in the video makes them easy to follow. In order for students to easily identify the video which they want to watch, it is important that they have clear and simple titles.
The videos are short so I can focus well… Short and target the one grammar so don’t confuse the concept… I want to learn the simple past, so I click the simple past video, and I want to learn the past continuous, I click another video. (Steve, one-to-one)
The students’ opinions that the videos should be kept short supports Yu’s (2002) recommendation that videos should be in the range of three to six minutes. A study by Guo et al. (2016) observed that students on average watched close to 100% of educational videos up to six minutes, for longer videos the average length of time started to drop with less than 50% watch time for videos nine to twelve minutes long.
If a student was watching a long video in class and they did not understand it, then it would be a waste of time for them as they would not be able to stop and rewind, and would have little choice but to continue watching through to the end along with the other class students.
Another student agreed that the videos were the correct length but stated that she wanted to watch videos more often. Watching one video every other lesson was not enough, although while other students agreed that one video a lesson was appropriate, they highlighted the need for a balance between watching videos during class and time spent practicing the target language doing speaking activities. The students value the chance to practice speaking English and want to maximize their time spent using the language.
More time, because useful video and we learn very many vocabulary and grammar so in the video I can learn again. (Joy, one-to-one)
Would you like the videos to be longer or just watch more often? (Interviewer, one-to-one) Short videos, but more often. (Joy, one-to-one)
Video is so good, but we participate for class is so good. (Steve, one-to-one)
I want less, because we need to speak English more than watching videos. I can’t speak English in Korea.
I didn’t speak English for a long time. (Christine, one-to-one)
We have less opportunity to conversation with foreigners in Korea. (Dana, one-to-one)
The students’ opinions of the effectiveness of the videos combined with their desire to maximize speaking time in the classroom suggest that videos should also be considered as a flipped learning tool, where the videos could be watched by the students at home, allowing more time to be spent practicing the target language in the classroom. Research has shown the effectiveness of this approach at improving grammar and vocabulary knowledge (Kang & Ahn, 2015). The videos could also be used as a tool for students who were absent from a lesson if the teacher administers an observation check of whether or not the student studied the video, such as a quiz where the scores are reflected in their final grade (McBride, 2015). The students in this study were not required to watch the videos at home; however, they were encouraged to do so as a review tool before quizzes and exams. In an observation from the teacher’s journal, it is noted that the students often needed more than just to be told the title of a video to watch, but that it is better to directly share a link with the students so they can easily find a video.

3) Visual Aspect

Another common theme highlighted by the informants was that the pictures used in the videos help with comprehension by providing context to the language. According to Garza (1996), the audio in a video needs to be highly correlated with the visual elements which should enhance and clarify the speech by contextualizing the language nonverbally. By using both audio and visual elements to convey new information instructors can optimize germane cognitive load (Brame, 2016), making it easier for learners to process the information.
This YouTube said the whole thing simply. It helps us to understand more easily… And it also has some pictures, so it’s also very helpful to understand… Because of the pictures, we can use this sentence in this situation. (Kathy, one-to-one)
In the above quote, the student is referring to the benefit of pictures to add context for English for specific purposes. A picture can highlight in what situation and place a sentence can be used.
Some informants highlighted the multimodal experience of video to be helpful for learning. The slow speech of the talker allows the listener to follow the speech while reading the captions. Captions can help students to bridge the gap between reading comprehension and listening comprehension (Garza, 1996).
I think your speaking speed is perfect for Korean students because they are not good at listening. (Kristen, one-to-one)
I read English script and ear is listening, so even though Korean script is nothing, I can understand. (Joy, one-to-one)
If the script is under the video, I can understand mostly, but if there are not, I can understand 50% or under. I want to see English subtitles because if there are Korean subtitles I didn’t listen to the English, I just see the subtitles in Korean. (Christine, one-to-one)
A note from the teacher’s journal highlights the benefits of using high quality images in the production of the videos, as they make them more interesting to watch. This observation is supported in the literature with Tomlinson (2008) listing an aesthetically positive experience through the use of attractive design and illustration as one of the items which can promote language acquisition. The sourcing of images can be time consuming and expensive; however, if they are purchased with a royalty free license, they can be added to an image portfolio which can be used repeated.

2. Student Recommendations

1) More Entertaining

Some students thought that the videos could be more entertaining and less boring. One way which was suggested was to show the face of the speaker during the video. Having a talking head to explain complex information such as grammar might be of little value, as the video of the speaker is not conveying new information which isn’t already being conveyed verbally (Brame, 2016). Learning can be enhanced when auditory and visual modes are matched to the content. By conveying new information using the appropriate channel of either the audio/verbal channel and visual/pictorial channel, instructors can enhance germane cognitive load, making lessons easier to understand (Mayer & Moreno, 2003).
It’s boring. I can’t focus on the video. (Dana, one-to-one)
I would like to see your face in the video. That would be more easy to know what you’re really talking about. Make me feel like I’m really listening and it’s not that boring. (Zia, one-to-one)
The case for showing a presenter might be its entertainment value to the viewer. In a study of the design of English teaching videos on TikTok (Zhang et al., 2022), a video sharing platform for short videos, of the 50 English learning videos with the most likes, 80% of them consisted of shots of the presenter. This highlights the importance of showing the presenter to receive likes and therefore more views. Creators should strive to make content which is entertaining and engaging, because if the students do not watch the videos, they cannot learn from them (Brame, 2016). Another way to attract new viewers on YouTube was highlighted by an informant who said that the thumbnail or cover image for the video was more important than the title and description.
Make the thumbnail colorful. I go into some videos that look helpful. I only look at the thumbnail. Not really the explanation. (Zia, one-to-one)
Another possible way of making videos more entertaining might be to include short animations related to the content, as suggested by Atmojo (2022). A note from the teacher’s journal suggested one way the teacher can encourage students to focus on the video. The teacher can set a good example of watching the video with the students during its presentation and not doing other things.

2) Reduce Cognitive Load

The informants made several other comments and suggestions of how to improve the teacher-generated videos which they watch in class that can be used to help make future videos better. Most of these suggestions would help to manage the cognitive load of the learning activity. One student thought the speech in the videos was too fast because she finds listening difficult and wanted to be able to control the speed of the video and slow it down. The importance of her opinion is supported by Mayer (2009) who states that people learn better when a multimedia message is presented in segments at a speed adjusted by the user, thus managing intrinsic cognitive load. It is possible to adjust the speed of playback in the video settings on YouTube; however, viewers might not be aware of this feature, so it would be beneficial to highlight this option at the beginning of videos.
So fast to me, because I can’t listening well. (Joy, one-to-one)
Would you like to be able to control the speed? Adjust it? (Interviewer, one-to-one)
Yes, little bit slowly. (Joy, one-to-one)
The interviewees also highlighted their dislike of any background music played in educational videos. By excluding any extraneous material such as background music, people will learn better as their extraneous cognitive load is reduced (Mayer, 2009). These statements regarding speed and background music were supported by quantitative research by Fujita (2017) who reported that EFL students’ listening comprehension test scores were higher when speech was presented at a slower pace without background noise compared to normal fast speech with background noise added. Several of the students also commented that they liked there being a lot of whitespace in the video slides which helped them to focus on the important information. According to Mayer and Moreno (2003), extraneous material which does not directly support the educational goal of the presentation can increase extraneous load and should be eliminated.
Music is no… more than hear well. (Joy, one-to-one)
When there’s no music, you can hear better? (Interviewer, one-to-one)
Yes. [Joy, one-to-one]
I like the video doesn’t have background music. Confusing our focus. The color is white, so focus easily. (Steve, one-to-one)
The interviewees suggested other methods that would have the effect of reducing extraneous cognitive load. Target language in the teacher-generated videos shown to the students is currently highlighted in bold. One student suggested that was not enough to bring attention to what they should be focusing on and that it should be highlighted in color. Garza (1996) states that color highlighting can be used to target viewer’s attention to specific linguistic elements of the captioning such as lexicon or grammatical forms.
It will be better when you highlight target grammar or words in color. The video only have bold words to highlight it. (Hannah, one-to-one)
So that would make it stand out more? (Interviewer, one-to-one)
Yes. (Hannah, one-to-one)
Another suggestion was to find a better way to explain the target language more easily. One student wanted more difficulty levels for one topic or grammar point with separate videos for beginners, intermediate, and advanced learners. To address these concerns, the instructor has created beginner videos which simplify the lesson as much as possible by teaching the target language through repeated examples and context only, with no explanation of the grammar which can create extraneous load for the learner as they try to understand confusing explanations.
English is too difficult. I can’t understand. (Seo-yi, one-to-one)
One student said that they would like more examples of the target language in the teacher-generated videos as well as examples of common mistakes and how they can be corrected. Some of the mistakes commonly made by Korean learners might be because of L1 interference, such as omissions of articles because they are not present in the Korean language (Zheng & Park, 2013). As the L1 interference of different languages will result in different common mistakes, the value of teaching common mistakes to an international audience might be limited; however, student engagement can be promoted by creating material which is designed “for these students in this class” (Brame, 2016), so that it would be beneficial to edit the videos in a way to target the audience more closely. While this might be time consuming, the videos can be reused for other classes and other semesters.
I think it would be good to add more examples and wrong examples. Common mistakes examples is helpful to fix it. (Steve, one-to-one)
One informant wanted example sentences to be more relevant to daily life. While another wanted example sentences to match better with the examples in the student book. The desire by students for teacher-generated materials that support the textbook is highlighted in the research. Kemm (2022) calls for teacher-generated material to be a bridge between the textbook and the students’ English proficiency and interests, and to compensate for perceived shortcomings of mandated textbooks. According to Block (1991) contextualizing the language with real examples that are of interest to students makes the transition from using example sentences to talking about their own lives easier.
I like that you put lots of example that are related to Korea. (Kristen, one-to-one)
In the focus group, the students were more comfortable criticizing the teacher-generated videos. Two of the students highlighted examples from a recent video they had watched which might have described the target grammar well but were totally unrelated to their everyday experiences.
I think you can share more example from our daily lives. Machu Picchu is not common topic we talk about. (Kristen, focus group)
It was noted by the teacher in the journal that some of the videos did not always follow the recommendations as laid out here. For example, in one video, a spoken example sentence did not match the example on the screen for the students to read. Content creators should be prepared to update their videos if they become aware of any improvements in the presentation which could help to manage cognitive load. Another benefit of updating videos is that they could be better matched to the particular interests or needs of a class.


This study shows the benefits of teacher-generated videos for EFL learners, with the students who were interviewed stating how they found them helpful and effective for learning, although sometimes boring. The students thought the videos were especially good for summary or review of the target language. The implications of this study suggest that teachers should consider creating their own educational videos. The study also highlighted steps that can be taken to improve the videos by making them more entertaining and aiding learning by managing cognitive load.
An observation of note in the results was that although students find the videos effective and they enjoy watching them, it is important that they do not take up too much class time and that there is a balance between time spent watching educational videos and time spent practicing using the language. When English learners are together in class, it is important that most of their time be spent speaking the language, especially in an EFL setting where it can be difficult for students to find other opportunities to practice their English outside of class.
This research highlights a number of features of teacher-generated videos that creators should keep in mind when making content for EFL learners. Videos should be short and shown regularly to students. Students would like the videos to be more engaging. One possible way to do this would be to show the presenter in the video at times when the content isn’t difficult to understand. Steps should be taken to manage the cognitive load of the students while watching the videos. The students made a number of suggestions of how this can be achieved which are supported by academic research. Speech should be slow without background music. The written target language should be clearly highlighted, while unnecessary decorative images should be avoided, opting for whitespace instead. By implementing the recommendations in this paper, teachers will be able to improve the video presentations which they create for their students leading to better learning outcomes.
This research is limited by a number of factors. One limitation of this study is that the instructor was researching his own students. While the interviewees were encouraged to give honest opinions and to freely criticize the teacher’s videos, they might have withheld negative views when speaking directly to the instructor. Another limitation is the small number of participants in the study make results difficult to generalize to the wider population of Korean university students. The perceptions of teacher-generated videos and the recommendations of how to improve them given in this paper represent the views of the informants who chose to take part in this research. A larger group of informants with a wider range of opinions would have helped to generalize the results.
Further research could quantify the positive impact teacher-generated English videos have on student test scores. While the informants in this research stated the positive effect of watching these videos in class and their availability to watch at home, if these results were confirmed in a quantitative study, it would add more weight to the findings.


Teacher-Generated Videos on YouTube


A Story Told in One of the Videos

Warm-Up Activity From a Class Worksheet to Accompany a Video
Table 1.
Participant Characteristics
Pseudonym(Gender) Class Major Year Attendance
Hannah* (F) A Modern Dance 1 15
Joy* (F) A Police Administration 1 14
Kathy* (F) A Theatre 1 13
Kristen* (F) A Life Sciences 1 15
Steve* (M) A Police Administration 1 15
Christine (F) B Cultural Tourism 3 13
Dana (F) A Computer Science 2 11
Seo-yi (F) B Sightseeing Management 4 14
Zia (F) B Social Welfare 1 15

. Note.

*. Participated in the focus group and one-on-one interviews,

†. Out a total of 15 weeks

Table 2.
Semester Syllabus and Watched Videos
Week Topic Grammar Video title watched
1 Introduction - -
2 Food and drink Countable and uncountable nouns Countable and uncountable nouns
3 Food and drink Countable and uncountable nouns British food
4 Rules Obligation Possibility and obligation
5 Rules Obligation -
6 Adventures Present perfect Present perfect simple
7 Adventures Present perfect -
8 Mid-term exam - -
9 Health Advice and suggestions Health problems
10 Health Advice and suggestions -
11 Comparisons Comparatives and superlatives Comparatives and superlatives
12 Comparisons Comparatives and superlatives -
13 The modern world Present perfect For, since and ago
14 The modern world Present perfect -
15 Final exam - -


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Codebook of Themes

Theme Code name Definition Example of speech from interviews
Helpful Helpful Any evidence that the videos are helpful for learning English Helpful… It’s really easy to understand.
Anytime, anywhere Any evidence of videos being convenient to access on YouTube I watch YouTube in the bus, in subway, everywhere.
Short Length Any evidence referring to the appropriate length of the videos It's enough… 3 to 5 minutes is easy for us to understand because the video is not very long.
One grammar point Any evidence referring to one topic or grammar point Short and target the one grammar so don’t confuse the concept.
Visual aid Pictures Any evidence referring to pictures and how they aid understanding and provide context Because of the pictures, we can use this sentence in this situation.
Multimodal Any evidence relating to slow speech or captions I think your speaking speed is perfect for Korean students because they are not good at listening.
More entertaining Show presenter Any evidence of students wanting to see the presenter within the video I would like to see your video. That would be more easy to know what you’re really talking about.
Be entertaining Any evidence suggesting content is boring or should be more fun It’s better to watch YouTube that is more funny.
Reduce cognitive load No music Any evidence of appreciation of no music I like the video doesn’t have background music. Confusing our focus.
Simplify Any evidence of difficulty or desire for more basic descriptions English is too difficult. I can’t understand.

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