Teach Online TV #17: How Long Should My Online Course Videos Be?

Thinkific TeamTeach Online TVLeave a Comment

Teach Online TV online course length

Teach Online TV online course length

A question I hear a lot is, how long should my online course videos be, or your online course lessons. If you are creating lessons for your online course, you want to have a good idea as to what your students can actually absorb, enjoy and learn from. And the answer is, probably shorter than you think. Watch the video to learn more.

I definitely see a lot of people putting out a half hour long or one hour long videos and this is generally a lot greater than our current attention span for online videos. The attention span for online videos is shrinking and shrinking.

Now it’s a little bit different statistically in the context of an online course where people have usually put aside some time to go and learn, as opposed to a YouTube video or a marketing video. With your YouTube and marketing videos, people are getting down to a minute or two of attention span or even shorter in some cases.

With the online courses, you can usually do a two to seven minute window, but try to usually keep it around the five-minute mark. If you have something that requires longer than that to teach, which I’m sure you do, it just means breaking up the content into multiple pieces. At its easiest, you can shoot an hour long video and then, in editing, just cut that up into five-minute segments at natural break points.

But if you do a little bit of planning ahead of time, you can create some natural pauses between mini-topics that make up a part of a larger topic and that will get you down to those two to seven minute videos.

By doing videos that are two to seven minutes in length, you can still stack them one after another and make it very easy for someone to flow through all of that content, back to back, but it does give people that momentary break where they are able to blink and take a break from watching.

And just that moment where they blink and then click to go to the next video or ideally if you have a gamified online education system, like Thinkific, then we’ll show them a bit of progress indication, give them a little pat on the back and a the reward, digitally of course, to let them know that they have finished something in the course and they are ready to move on to the next lesson or the next video.

That kind of thing will dramatically increase your engagement rates, the retention of student information, and course completion rates. And if you’re not getting people to complete your course, they’re not getting a lot of value out of it, and they’re not sharing it with their friends and bringing more people to check it out.

So if you’re doing lessons within your course, please keep them short, you’ll get much better feedback from your students from it. If you already have long lessons, you can cut them up into smaller pieces, but two to seven minutes is what we find is kind of that ideal length for online courses, videos or lessons.

If you need to stretch it, again, no rule is absolute; it’s just a guideline for most of your content. I hope that helps and that you can implement it in your next online course.

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