5. Know your audience.
Both the researchers from the student satisfaction study, as well as officials from the University of Rochester, emphasize the importance of keeping the video relatively short and to-the-point, with a good flow and interactive components to keep students engaged.
“The optimal video length is six minutes or shorter,” said an expert at the University of Rochester. “The average engagement time of any video maxes out at six minutes, regardless of its length. And engagement times decrease as videos lengthen: For instance, on average students spent around three minutes on videos that are longer than 12 minutes, which means that they engaged with less than a quarter of the content. … The take‐home message for instructors is that, to maximize student engagement, they should work with instructional designers and video producers to break up their lectures into small, bite‐sized pieces.”
eLearn Magazine says that for long-form content that cannot be edited down, “try making a short introductory video to capture learners’ attention.”
According to eLearn, Twistage.com, an online media management company, has gathered metrics comparing user drop-off rates for 10-minute videos versus audio podcasts containing the same content. The data show that, although the majority of audio podcast listeners will stick around for the full 10 minutes, half of video viewers will tune out after two minutes.
The magazine also recommends keeping learners engaged by letting them offer feedback or take part in an interactive activity based on what they’ve seen.
“Instead of using videos for ‘show-and-tell,’ turn them into show-and-ask activities. Add questions and quizzes that focus on key behaviors and video content. Or, make it social. In one of our training courses, we paired video skills training with both topical polls and a blog moderated by an expert, which gave learners opportunities to engage in dialog with their peers and ask questions about specific skills they’d just seen modeled.”
ITaP also mentions that student attention can remain consistent by posing a question at the beginning of each video, presenting video in an outline-like structure, and using short graded or self-assessments.
6. Know when to use video and when not to.
“Although the cost of developing video for eLearning has gone down significantly over the years, it is still a time- and resource-intensive undertaking,” explains Flirting w/ eLearning. “As such, you should only use video when there is a clear instructional purpose behind it.”
Here are a few examples of when video might be a good idea:
- To model behavioral or interpersonal skills.
- To demonstrate how to do, and how not to do, a specific task.
- To reduce the reading load for learners.
- To emphasize an important concept or point.
- When you need more emotional appeal than photos and text alone can deliver.
7. Edit like a pro.
Gretchen Siegchrist, digital video expert and contributor to About Technology, offers a few simple rules for video editing, and the full list can be found here.
For example, Siegchrist suggests using B-roll, not using jump cuts, changing focal lengths, cutting on similar elements, matching scenes, and much more.
These editing techniques can help students stay engaged and motivated during the video.
8. Check to see if students have access.
If the video is posted on YouTube, students will likely have access to the video, but it’s best to check, says Flirting w/ eLearning. If students need to access an LMS or download a specific software to view the video, make sure student equipment, or computers on campus, are equipped for download and access.
For more info on using video for online learning, check out the following articles, which also discuss time management, costs associated with video creation, and more: