What every SLT should know about using video for CPD

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith - Last updated on March 23, 2023

In 2010, a study by R. Lofthouse and P. Birmingham found that, of 73 student teachers who used video for self-reflection, 89% recognised that it had had a positive impact on the way they responded to their own teaching.

Similarly, Mirandanet at the University of Bedfordshire undertook independent research a few years ago, and of the 99 teachers who were surveyed about their experience of using video for professional development, they found that:

  • 99% felt they were taking more responsibility for their own professional development
  • 96% felt they would be more likely to try new practices or be experimental in their approach to teaching
  • 88% felt their confidence as a teacher had risen

But, how exactly does video help to improve teachers continuing professional development? And do the costs outweigh the benefits?

Business Concept. Professional Development Sign on Blue Background.

What are the benefits of using video for CPD?

Video-based CPD enables key learning interactions that research by Joyce and Showers (2002) shows are essential for CPD to be most effective. These are access to theory, modelling practice, feedback and coaching - plus much more.

  1. Self-Reflectionaccording to Prof. John Hattie at ASCL Annual Conference 2018, teachers can only ever see and hear 20% of what is happening in a lesson. That means that when a teacher reflects on a lesson in the traditional way, they are only reflecting on 20% of it. Moreover, they will be evaluating the least important part because they are only considering their own perception of the lesson, not that of their learners. By recording their lessons teachers can stop, pause, and rewind to spot things they may have missed and gain a deeper understanding of students perception of the learning in order to better support it.
  1. Reusable Learning Resource – just one lesson recording can become a resource that teachers can go back to time and time again to look at different aspects of their teaching. It can also be shared easily with others so they can learn from it and extend the reach of their expertise in your school.
  1. Enhanced Feedback – discussions can take place, focused on what actually happened during the lesson, not on recollections or conflicting accounts; helping you to build trust, dialogue, deeper shared reflections and a richer experience.
  1. Increased Authenticity – video increases authenticity by removing the effect of an observer on the classroom dynamics. Placing an additional camera in another area of the classroom allows different perspectives to be captured simultaneously.
  1. Coaching and Mentoring – can be made more meaningful and productive. A recorded lesson can be captured and discussed at any time, which allows for more coaching opportunities, helping to save time and overcome timetable constraints. Through an in-ear coaching tool, a mentor in another room, school, or even country, can watch the lesson as its taking place and help the teacher to implement changes immediately, or address anything that they may not have noticed. This coaching technique is proven to help teachers adopt new teaching styles quickly and is especially powerful for classroom management strategies.
  1. Access Theory - unlike traditional strategies, video-based CPD offers teachers easy access to CPD content, when it suits them. This allows them to develop their practice whenever needed, helping to reduce CPD hours.
  1. Effective Modelling – sportsmen, surgeons and sales people all use video to emulate great practice, dissect different strategies, be inspired by new ideas and refine their skills. There’s no reason why teachers shouldn’t do the same. Videos can also be shared with colleagues or other schools to build up a professional library of best practice videos, encouraging the development of an open and collaborative culture.
  1. Empowered Teachers – video encourages teachers to take charge of their own professional development, which has been shown to build confidence, grow skills and retain teachers.

It’s clear that video-based CPD is a powerful tool for offering high-quality CPD. But, do the benefits outweigh the costs?


Is video CPD a sound investment?

Investing in video-based CPD can produce long-term noticeable benefits. This includes higher levels of staff and student engagement, and a more positive learning culture.

  • Analysis of recent Ofsted data found that 64% of schools regularly using IRIS Connect's video-based CPD improved by at least one grade in the last inspection. Compared with 42.5% of other schools.
  • Ainslie Wood Primary School invested in video-based CPD. It increased the percentage of their children achieving Level 4 in reading, writing and maths from 43% to 78% in three years. Video-based CPD also increased the percentage of their teachers rated as Good or above from 5% to 95%.
  • Broadford Primary School moved from Special Measures to Outstanding in two years. After realising that watching themselves teach moved their practice forward in a short space of time, they embraced video-based CPD. Staff therefore gained confidence in their skills and capabilities.


Will video CPD help me to save money and retain my staff?

The type of high-quality CPD that video offers, helps to develop a sense of self-efficacy. Research shows this reduces staff turnover, saving you money on recruitment fees. Retaining staff will help avoid forking out crippling recruitment costs on a yearly basis. This is particularly significant in the case of staff in whom you have invested time and money training them as students and NQTs.

A benefit of video-based CPD is its ability to enable a more flexible approach to observations, meaning less money needs to be spent on lesson cover.

The use of video-based CPD also reduces the need to bring in external support. It’s more cost effective and time efficient to tap into the wealth of expertise within your school, rather than seeking expensive external input.

Introducing scalable collaboration eliminates travel expenses. Video can be used to share and observe practice, and provide coaching over distance. This is a huge cost saver for Multi Academy Trusts, Teaching Schools and ITE providers who support teachers over wide geographical areas.

What does video-based CPD cost?

Costs vary depending on the type of video technology, the software and the support provided alongside it.

Prices start from £1,800 for a primary school and £3,300 a year for a secondary school. That's for whole-staff access, secure video capture tools, software and technical support.

When comparing different video-based CPD options, it’s essential to consider data security regarding how videos are captured and stored. Using flip cams and the video app on an iPad can seem like a cheap option, but you will be vulnerable from a data protection and safeguarding point of view.

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4 ways to guarantee a return on your investment for video CPD

Ensuring return on investment is important. If you do decide to invest in video-based CPD, follow the steps below to ensure you make the most of it:

  1. For video-based CPD to have a maximum impact, pay as much attention to change management as the technology you are investing in. Taking steps to develop positive change management can increase the success of new initiatives, such as the use of video-based CPD.
  1. Communicate the benefits to your staff clearly, and address concerns early. Ensure that staff buy-in from the offset and reassure them that this is a supportive and developmental tool.
  1. You should incorporate the use of video into existing projects and CPD programmes to make them more effective and efficient. Ensure that your staff have time to engage in professional learning.
  1. Standardise the use of video for lesson observation and feedback. This will bring you notable savings, simply by being able to cut back on lesson cover.

If you want to know more about how IRIS Connect can help you to deliver more effective CPD and increase the retention of your teachers, get in touch >

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