Research School Network: The Video Killed the Radio Star Why video models are more effective in improving teacher practice than text based resources


The Video Killed the Radio Star

Why video models are more effective in improving teacher practice than text based resources

by Derby Research School
on the

As the Research Schools Network moves to offer greater levels of exemplification of evidence, a recent study into the effects of modelling evidence-based practice in initial teacher training provides further confirmation that using videos to model examples is an effective way to improve delivery of techniques.

The EEF is currently developing its provision of exemplification materials, and video models of practice are a key component of how this will happen, offering leaders of professional development a bank of resources to integrate in programmes. One source of videos is the new Early Years Evidence Store, developed to support the DfE Stronger Practice Hubs, and those working within the early years, which includes a series of approach in action’ video models.

Early years evidence store
Video examples early year

Central to the 2022 Effective Professional Development Guidance Report from EEF are 14 mechanisms; the core building blocks of programmes of professional development. These are supported by empirical evidence and underpinned by a systematic review and meta-analysis (Sims et al, 2021), which sought to provide new insights into the identification of characteristics of effective professional development.

Uploaded: - 1.2 MB - pdfOpens in a new tab

Effective Professional Development – PD Mechanisms

Read more about

Modelling the technique’ is one of the five mechanisms that sits in the category developing teaching techniques’. Models are described in the guidance report as worked examples, provided either in person or in film/​pictures, that offer an opportunity to observe and work through challenges and specific techniques in advance. Videoed models offer the benefit of consistency as all teachers watch the same process, which can be quality assured, and there is flexibility in both how they can be accessed and that they can be revisited.

Pd idea

Whilst the systematic review and meta-analysis found modelling present in effective professional development, recently published research by Ambition Institute, again led by Dr Sam Sims, states there is currently little evidence of the causal effects of modelling on improving teacher practice. This new research (Sims et al, 2023) addresses a gap in the literature by looking at the causal effects of modelling evidence-based practice in teachers’ skills, knowledge and self-efficacy, alongside how best to integrate this within wider professional development practices.

The authors hypothesised that viewing video models of evidence-based teaching practice would improve pre-service teachers’ skills and self-efficacy in the use of that practice, relative to rereading the evidence behind the practice, and that highlighting the important aspects of practice within these videos would improve skills, relative to no highlighting or just re-reading the underpinning knowledge.

They used a classroom simulator to test the impact of different representations of evidence-based practice.’ Participants were asked to read an evidence summary of questioning for retrieval’ before their first simulator attempt and completing a self-efficacy questionnaire. They were randomly allocated to either a restudy group, who re-read the summary, a group who watched a video model of the technique, and a group who watched a similar model with theory presented as text snippets within the video. They completed a post-test simulator attempt and self-efficacy questionnaire, with a multiple-choice knowledge test one week later, to test knowledge retention.

The study found that teachers who were allocated to the restudy condition made no increase in their skills in using questioning for retrieval, however, those allocated to either of the model conditions (with or without text snippets), almost doubled their score between the two simulator attempts’, and the presence of the text theory prompts did not make a difference between the two groups for skill-level or knowledge. There was no measurable difference in the rate at which the groups improved their self-efficacy. This study set out to better inform teacher educators in their design of professional development, and the conclusions show that video models have potential as an effective way to improve practice.


The EEF’s professional development guidance report stresses the need for a balanced design across the mechanisms, so modelling isn’t a magic bullet, but this new research offers a deeper insight into why and how leaders of professional development could include it, and shows the potential for researching each of the professional development mechanisms in greater depth.

The bank of resources developed for the EEF’s Early Years Evidence Store shows the possibilities for the support Research Schools and their extended communities will be able to provide through the expansion of resources, including videos of modelling, across different phases, subjects and sectors.

Beth G

Beth Greville Giddings

Derby RS Evidence Leader in Education 

Art Lead and Research Lead for Westbury Academy, Raleigh Trust. 

Read more aboutBeth Greville Giddings

More from the Derby Research School

Show all news

This website collects a number of cookies from its users for improving your overall experience of the site.Read more