Create Video Lessons with Ted Ed

I am always searching for additional resources to integrate assessment into courses. This past summer, I stumbled across Ted Ed. Ted Ed is a creation from the popular Ted Talks, non-profit, series of videos and live events. Ted Talks are currently inspiring, challenging and teaching all who spare the time to listen.

What’s in it for Teachers

Ted Ed Lessons allow anyone to feature any YouTube hosted video, not just Ted Talks videos, and build a lesson around the video/animation. The Ted Ed resource provides a simple process and interface for educators to create learning quizzes. There is no coding or technical expertise involved in this process. These digital lessons can be easily shared through social media or email and with some skill a lesson can be embedded into your institutional learning management system or your class homepage.

Simple and Welcoming

I appreciate the high standards set by the Ted community. This is apparent in the implementation of Ted Ed Lessons. They have taken care to eliminate inauthentic labor for instructors. Learning how to create a lesson for courses with English as a second Language students is simple and is supported through several means. There is a comprehensive support site (see the link below) and a direct email ( address available to assist. As well, the website tour provides an overview of this resource and its key parts within two and a half minutes. A simple click of the “View Full Lesson button” models the student experience of using a Ted Ed lesson. The lesson parts: Watch, Think, Dig Deeper, Discuss and …And Finally ensure that instructors are comfortable with this resource through its simplicity and welcoming interface.

Step by Step Visual Support

Instructors are also supported, after the free registration, with a comprehensive email detailing the steps to create a Ted Ed lesson. Most instructors may not require this information as the “Create a Lesson” button leads to a visual guide/template that steps creators through the process. The process follows five short steps:

  • find a video
  • select a video
  • edit the lesson
  • preview
  • publish
Customize Your Video-based Lessons

Within each lesson the creator must include a video but has the option of using any of the following sections:

  • Watch – this is where the video plays
  • Think – includes multiple choice (True/False) or open end questions
  • Dig Deeper – assign a task or pose a challenge for the students
  • Discuss – can be used to prompt discussion or allow students to start conversations based on their experience with the video
  • …And Finally – allows the instructor to conclude the lesson and possibly raise further activity or discussion based on the lesson.

Only the Watch section is mandatory to create a Ted Ed Lesson. After the lesson is saved and published, it can be shared through email or various social media buttons. If you require embedding to place it within your institutional LMS or class homepage, then try the web tool Embed Code Generator. It takes the link of your lesson page and converts it into a usable embed code. Each learning management system treats embed codes slightly differently, so the results may vary.

Great Animations at Your Fingertips

I have created a few Ted Ed lessons and have found that most of my time was spent locating suitable animations or videos. I highly recommend spending some time exploring the TED Ed site for the high quality animations.

Save Time with Re-purposing

As with all contemporary resources, there are thousands of readily available lessons created by the community. In fact, there are over 130,000 lessons available for your consideration and repurposing through the Customize This Lesson feature on the Ted Ed Lessons site.

Tracking Progress

If your students register with TED Ed, they can sign in to your lessons. This allows the instructor to track their progress. Of course this function is totally optional, but it may be important for some teaching situations, especially if you want them to participate in the Discuss activity.

To download a ‘How to Create a TED Ed Lesson’ worksheet, surf to and open the TESL Ontario group. In the Ted Ed Lessons Forum, there are a few worksheets to assist instructors in using this resource.

I hope that you give this technology a try to enhance your teaching. If you have created a lesson, please send us the link in the comments section below.

Resources referenced in this post

Embed Code Generator

TED Talks

TED Ed Lessons


TED YouTube Channel

TEDx Talks

TEDFellows Talks

TEDx Youth

Ted Ed Support

Hi—I'm John Allan. I am an educator who works in the technology enhanced language learning field. I create online learning opportunities and mentor instructors on the Avenue project. I have experience teaching ESL and EFL in Canada and the Middle East. I hold an MSC in Computer Assisted Language learning, a M.Ed. in Distance Education, TESL B. Ed., a B.Ed. (OCT), and a variety of TESL relevant certifications from TESL Canada, TESL Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Education. For more articles, learning objects, projects and blog links see


12 thoughts on “Create Video Lessons with Ted Ed”

  1. John – I really like this format. I think that this would appeal to any number of instructors who aren’t currently using an LMS, and even if they are, the way TedEx is set up, is better and more user-friendly than the process of composing a short quiz in moodle. Thanks for being on top of this useful piece of edtech.

    For those of you who don’t know, John also presented a webinar on this topic for TESL Ontario’s webinar series. Check it out in Tutela, under TESL Ontario’s group (look under files).

    -Jen Artan (the other JA)

  2. Jen, thanks for this additional information. I am running a face to face version of this workshop next week at my institution. I’ll let you know if the same worksheets are useful.

    I also post all of my work that might be useful on for those who are not Tutela members.


  3. John, I looked around Ted EX but I was looking for Lessons in ESL that have already been created. I saw very few. Did I miss them?
    – Shari

    1. Shari, I agree that this site does not have a lot of ready-made ESL activities. I see that this is an opportunity for teachers to create their own and share them so that other can use and be inspired to use them with their students.

      Examples of TED Ed Lessons for possible ESL use are:

      However, most of our students could not understand these lessons as they target a fluent audience.

      There has been an attempt to harness Ted Talks through TED at Check these out as there are lesson plans and activities based on Ted Talks videos. Yes, I agree that these are not TED Ed Lessons. I think that as time moves on these will start to appear as teachers create and share them through this resource.

      I know that this information is not useful for your next class but this is how these things start and gain momentum or just wither and die.

      Another resource you may consider is

  4. Yes! I tried my hand at one of these over the summer break and really enjoyed doing it. It was easy, the interface very user-friendly. I chose to convert an existing video-based lesson to a TED Ed lesson. I created this lesson during a very slow-paced, thoughtful unit on Canadian history for a multi-level group that spanned CLB 3 to 6 in their reading skills. Hope you’ll take a peek!

    1. Kelly, it is great to see your project online. I learned a little more about Canada. Thanks! I find that one of the weakest aspects of TED Ed Lessons is the fact that you cannot crop (set a new video in point and end point) the video into smaller portions and use a link from TubeChop directly in Ted Ed Lessons. For many students more than a few minutes is too much.

      Have you had success with this lesson?

      Did you set up a class to view the open ended question responses?

      Big thanks for the effort and the share!


  5. I want to know, after the lesson is published, the instructor can send the links of the lessons to minimum and maximum how many learners?

    1. Janice, sorry for the delayed response. I do not think that there is a limitation on sending a link to others. You may be limited in the number of students that you can be mentoring in your class, but I have not experienced any lmits to sharing.

      There is a great TED Ed Lessons FAQ site at

      I hope this helps,


  6. John, thank you for you great post. Do you know by any chance how to crop the videos? I asked Ted Ed and she said there’s an option (new option) under each video in the Editor section, but it never comes up for me?

  7. Johanna, I see that they have revised their editing process. I have tried but cannot locate a cropping feature. If someone can chip in and guide us that would be really useful.


  8. Peter, thanks for the share on the Video Quiz Maker from the iSL Collective. It looks interesting. I will be exploring it soon as time allows.

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