October 25th, 2016 Instructional Design


Taking an elearning course that doesn’t contain any videos can be difficult, especially if that course is long.

Videos are great because they can help break up the content and keep the learner engaged with the course in different ways. However, videos are not the “be all end all” for online courses.

One mistake I commonly see is the use of videos exclusively. In other words, the course lacks additional text, graphics, or other (non-video) material to support the course objectives.

While it may seem like the videos are more useful, there are some instances this is a hindrance.

First, there are people who don’t really like to watch videos. They would rather read through the content at their own pace. This is actually something I saw first hand on our LearnDash support site. In the very early days we only had videos demonstrating how to use our software. Sure enough, we received many requests to add text (which we now have in place).

Secondly, if you rely on only videos for delivering the content then there is a chance that your videos will have crucial mistakes that aren’t conducive to learning.

Consider these five common mistakes outlined above.

  1. The video is too long
  2. The video delivery is poor due to size
  3. The videos are inconsistent across the course
  4. The videos lack captioning
  5. The videos lack professionalism

Each one of these items requires a great deal of work to get right – arguably more-so than a “text only” course. The temptation to use videos is that it seems quicker to do but in reality it takes longer (if you want to do them properly).

If you plan on using videos for your course then take your time. Make sure you aren’t committing any of the errors listed in the infographic and test the videos thoroughly with a subset of your target audience.

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter


3 responses

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Great cautionary tale and tips!

Question: how do you recommend creating close captioning? Any tools or plugins, etc that you recommend?


Avatar David

Thanks David. Check out this interview. Zac gives some good tips for transcripts/closed captioning.

Good tips.
For chunking video into clear sections it’s good to enclose a sort of table of contents that would at the same time allow to navigate – it’s good to test some designs UX-wise.

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