With the recent surge in blended on wholly online teaching and and learning scenarios, there has been an uptick in interest in best practices for the creation of video-based instructional content. Here are a few resources discussing elements of effective instructional video creation -- particularly the optimal length for an instructional video. While YouTube statistics show that the top 10 videos on that platform are about 3 minutes long (Baker, 2018), Brame (2015) notes of research in an educational video context that:
the median engagement time for videos less than six minutes long was close to 100%–that is, students tended to watch the whole video (although there are significant outliers; see the paper for more complete information). As videos lengthened, however, student engagement dropped off, such that the median engagement time with 9-12 minute videos was ~50% and the median engagement time with 12-40 minute videos was ~20%. In fact, the maximum median engagement time for a video of any length was six minutes.
Brame (2015) sums it up nicely, stating that "[m]aking videos longer than 6-9 minutes is therefore likely to be wasted effort."
Long story short:
The following resources are fairly short reads, and are worth checking out.
Baker, A. (2018, December 4). Optimal YouTube Video Length. [Web log post]. Content Creator. https://contentcareer.com/blog/optimal-youtube-video-length/
Bhattacharya, P. (2020). Why Your Ideal Online Course Video Must Be 6-12 Minutes Long. [Web log post]. HubSkills.com. https://hubskills.com/online-course-video-to-be-6-12-minutes/#gs.elum6y
Brame, C.J. (2015). Effective educational videos. [Web page]. Center for Teaching. http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/effective-educational-videos/
Burch, B. (2020). Video Length in Online Courses: What the Research Says. [Web log post]. Quality Matters. https://www.qualitymatters.org/qa-resources/resource-center/articles-resources/research-video-length
Guo, P. (2013, November 13). Optimal Video Length for Student Engagement. [Web log post]. EdX. https://blog.edx.org/optimal-video-length-student-engagement/
Power, R. (2020, February 13). Helping Everyone Access Your Online Learning Resources. [Web log post]. Power Learning Solutions. https://www.powerlearningsolutions.com/blog/helping-everyone-access-your-online-learning-resources
Power, R. (2020, March 6). Using Video to Provide Assignment Feedback. [Web log post]. Power Learning Solutions. https://www.powerlearningsolutions.com/blog/using-video-to-provide-assignment-feedback
Power, R. (2020, April 17). Creating a YouTube Channel for Educators. [YouTube video]. https://youtu.be/Uy_5gOV80LY
Power, R. (2019, January 14). Using YouTube to Share Video in an Online Course. [Web log post]. Power Learning Solutions. https://www.powerlearningsolutions.com/blog/using-youtube-to-share-video-in-an-online-course
Power, R. (2019, January 22). Adding a Human Touch to Online Learning, Right From the Start! [Web log post]. Power Learning Solutions. https://www.powerlearningsolutions.com/blog/adding-a-human-touch-to-online-learning-right-from-the-start
Rob Power, EdD, is an Assistant Professor of Education, an instructional developer, and educational technology, mLearning, and open, blended, and distributed learning specialist.
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