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August, 2014:

What Makes an Online Instructional Video Compelling?

In an article published on Educause they take a look at findings from Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education (SCE) on what makes an online instructional video compelling.

In order to gain insight into what videos received the most views, SCE used analytics provided by Kaltura, an open-source video platform. SCE also interviewed students to gather information that the analytics couldn’t provide.

Here are some of the findings from the study:

  • Videos with high view counts usually had a direct connection with course assignments.
  • The average view time was four minutes. So when producing longer-format lecture content the SCE production team breaks it up into shorter content segments.
  •  Students related faculty presence in the video as a key factor in their engagement and described humor and wit positively.
  • Audio/visual elements were repeatedly described by students, as useful aspects of online course videos.
  • Students had mixed feelings about production value with some preferring higher production value, while others found it distracting.
  • Students reported that their viewing habits mirrored that of sitting in a class lecture. Most of the students interviewed said that they took notes as they watched the videos.