How Long Should Your Online Course Videos Be?How long should your online course videos be? This article explains how to get the perfect online course video duration Click To Tweet
How long should your online course videos be?
Here are 3 simple tips for getting the perfect online course video duration.
Us human beings have incredibly short attention spans, and it’s getting shorter and shorter as we continue to be bombarded with information and distractions.
Successful online instructors get to the top, because their students enjoy their courses, watch all of the videos and complete the course.
If your online course videos are longer than they need to be, or do not meet the points below, your students are less likely to enjoy and complete your course.
The fact is, that there is no ‘set’ duration that is good or bad, right or wrong; nor does the perfect ‘duration’ just come down to the actual number of minutes your video is.
Here are three simple tips to get the perfect online course video duration to maximise your student engagement and completion:
Take Sarah Cordiner’s online course “How To Create Profitable and Engaging Online Courses” here: https://sarahcordiner.com/createonlinecourses/
1. Keep to one key point per video
As online instructors we can often be tempted to over-deliver and over-explain (it’s that over-giving nature of an educator at work!).
This means that sometimes we address multiple points, concepts or principles in one video, and ideally we want to be avoiding this as far as possible.
To get the most out of your course videos, cut them down so that you only have ONE, singular point being made in each video.
Why you should make shorter online course videos
Shorter really is sweeter. There are a number of reasons for making your online course videos shorter, and some I discuss in this article too.
Here are the top reasons why:
Attention spans are short
Online learner’s attention and concentration spans are often fairly short. If you are presenting multiple concepts in one video it is likely to take longer, and you could lose your students simply because they get bored or distracted.
(To learn more about the theory of adult learning, you may be interested in my book ‘The Theory and Principles of Creating Effective Training Courses’)
Cognitive information processing
Our brains can only process so much information in one go. By providing less information per video, you help your learners remember more.
Stop-Start Learning Bites
Online learners are more likely to come ‘in and out’ of your online course, rather than watch the whole thing in one sitting. By making your videos ‘one tip per video’ you are making it easy for them to learn flexibly and in short learning bites.
Illustrate the true value of your course
By having one key point per video, you actually end up producing more videos. This shows the true value of your course to your potential learners when they read through your course outline.
Effective online course marketing
When you have one point per video you can better use them for targeted marketing (read more on this here). I suggest to online course creators that as part of their bigger online course marketing strategy, that they put around 10-30% of their online course videos out into the public field for promotional purposes – such as YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn. Pick the videos that answer the most commonly asked questions in your niche, then title them with the ‘question’ being asked. This will make your videos come up in search results and attract your perfect online course customer – just make sure each video has a very clear link to your online course!
Pick n’ Mix tailored future content
Another reason why keeping one tip per video, is because you can later than ‘pick and mix’ from your video library to create specifically tailored mini courses for sub-sections of your niche audience.Click To Tweet
2. Make sure every video answers a question
People want information, they want practical tips, they want to know ‘HOW’ to do something, or exactly what steps they should take to get a specific result.
If your videos waffle on with content that does not answer their burning questions or tell them HOW to do something, they will very quickly turn off and will be unlikely to return.
By focussing your attention on turning every video (as far as possible) into a ‘How To’, you can make your online course even more actionable and valuable to your learners.
- By turning your video lecture into the answer to a question you do a couple of things:
- Enables your learners to see the immediate reason and value in watching each video
- Just by looking at your course curriculum your prospective students will see that it answers all of thier burning questions and be more inspired to enrol.
Answer the question as concisely as you can and cut out all unnecessary content. If it doesn’t answer a question, ask yourself if you really need it in your course.
Don’t forget that you can create an ‘extra resources’ section in your online courses for content that you’d like to include in your course, but that isn’t absolutely necessary in the main curriculum.
What is ‘unnecessary’ video content?
Although the following components can add significant value to your course when used in the right places, unless they directly make a point, answer a question or reinforce an example, keep these to a minimum in your course videos:
- Talking about yourself for too long (unless your story makes a point, or it’s your ‘About the Trainer’ video)
- When you are preparing your video, ask yourself if every word directly contributes to answering the primary question that video addresses. If it doesn’t, cut it out.
- If what you have cut out is valuable, then make that another video lecture.
3. Try to answer the question in 2-9 minutes.
I said earlier that there is no ‘right or wrong’ when it comes to video length – as if it takes 30 minutes to appropriately answer a question and it’s delivered in the right way, then so be it.
However, statistics show that the average viewing time of online videos is between 2-9 minutes – and that number is getting lower all of the time!
Therefore, if you want your students to get the most out of your videos, try your best to break your content down into videos within the 1-9 min timeframe.
It absolutely does NOT mean that videos longer than this are ‘bad’. Not at all. It just means that your students might not get all the way to the end of them if they are longer and could therefore miss critical content that you share. If your students watch your entire video, they get 100% of the value from it – so your goal is to ultimately cut the waffle, get straight to the gold that they came for and as such keep it ‘shorter and sweeter’.
Not only does having shorter videos make your course more digestible, a course simply looks more valuable when it contains 6 x 5 minute videos, rather than 1 x 30 minute video – even though it’s exactly the same length. It’s all in the psychology of presentation.
Ask yourself this:
As you are preparing your video, ask yourself:
Can I answer this question in a more concise manner?
People hate fluff and despise their time being wasted; so if you can answer a question in 2 minutes, for the love of your students sanity, please don’t answer it in 3 or more minutes!
I have struggled with this in the past, as sometimes I have a tendency to get too technical and advanced with the way I explain things – not to mention getting too carried away with passion and over-explaining! But it all comes with practice and discipline.
Apply the ‘Man at the Bar’ Test
Here is a simple tip for making sure your explanations are as simple and straightforward as they can be:
I call it ‘The Man in a Bar’ test.
Simply imagine that you are sat at a bar, sipping a nice cold beverage of choice, when the man sat next to you (who knows NOTHING about your industry, and has had a couple of ‘fizzy ones’) asks you the question you are trying to answer in your course video.
How would you explain it to him so that he understands, BEFORE he takes his next sip of beer?
I find that the ‘man in a bar’ test significantly simplifies my explanation, makes it much more accessible and shortens it to it’s most efficient version.
So, there are 3 simple ways to get your online course videos to the perfect duration.
If you found this article helpful, please do share it!
Have you taken my FREE ‘Create Your Course Plan‘ mini-course yet?
Author: Sarah Cordiner
Subscribe to receive up to date information, training and news about edupreneurship, education, training, course creation and successful education business development from Sarah Cordiner
Let's connect! Click the links below to connect with me on social media:
Share this article with others:
Let me help you create your online courses and build a successful education-based business
There are 3 Ways To Create Your Online Courses With Sarah
Join the Edupreneur Academy and become a master course creator yourself! My academy includes my most popular online course "How To Create Profitable Online Courses". The Edupreneur Academy contains well over 30+ online courses, detailed video tutorials, templates and books (all designed and delivered by me), that will ensure you hone the skills and knowledge to create and sell your own online courses and build a successful education-based business without ever needing to hire help again! JOIN THE 30 DAY FREE TRIAL
ONE DAY SET-UP SERVICE or DONE FOR YOU SERVICES
Let me do it all for you in my 'done for you' or 'One Day Set Up' service. I will build your online school, set up your automatic course email sequences, design your course plan outline AND you will spend an entire day with me personally, one-on-one planning your profitable edu-business model and filming your online course. GET A QUOTE.
THE COURSE CREATION BOOTCAMP
Attend The Course Creation Bootcamp and spend 3-7 days with a small group and me personally on a face-to-face 'get it done' immersion camp. You will walk away from Bootcamp with your entire edu-business modelled out, your online course planned and filmed; your entire online school built and live, your course auto-email sequences active, a master class in becoming a go-to authority in your industry, including how to turn your course into a published book - AND 100% of my students have made SALES of their online courses before they leave Bootcamp. Find out more about BOOTCAMP
Become a master course creator. Get everything you need to know, guided tutorials and templates in the Edupreneur Academy.
Hire Sarah Cordiner to do your online course creation and online school set up for you. Join me face to face, via video call or just hand all the work over!
Film your whole online course & build your online school on 'The Course Creation Bootcamp'
Not Sure Which Option Is Best For You?
Send me an email or book a quick chat call with me to tell me a bit more about your business and where you are at so far, and we can make a plan on the best path for you personally.
JOIN THE EDUPRENEUR ACADEMY
Learn how to create your own online school and profitable education-based business in the 'Edupreneur Academy'
In the Edupreneur Academy, you will join thousands of other online course creators.
You will get access to over 30 of my online course which will give you every step, demonstration and instruction videos you need to create your online courses, build your own, profitable online school, become a leader in your industry and create a successful education based business by sharing your expertise with the world.
You can get a 30 day FREE TRIAL today.
Have you read the 'Edupreneur' book yet?
In this book (available on Amazon in print and on Kindle), you will learn how to monetise your expertise and create a successful education based business.
OR you can get it for FREE along with 3 of my other published books when you join the Edupreneur Academy.
Get the first 30 days FREE if you join now (cancel ANY time).
Attend the next 'Course Creation Bootcamp' with Sarah Cordiner
Create your online course, film it, build your school and launch in 2 or 5 days