Help: Learn (Insert Whatever) in 20 Minuets video

Feb 12, 2015

My company has decided to take a step back from eLearning and focus a little on videos right now. They have tasked us with creating a video which explains how to use our software in 20 minutes of less.  I've seen the super focused video where you can learn things in smaller chunks but is there a proven technique for making this work?  We know what the objective is and how to get there but it's more or less boiling down to what video style would best be suited. Do you have an example saved that you think I should watch for inspiration?  Any and all help appreciated.

6 Replies
Bruce Graham

Hi Jennifer.

I am not sure there is a surefire technique, however, this is one area where you could certainly do some Pilot Group work very successfully. Get some "tame" testers, get them through a course, then get them to do some real exercised based on what they learned.

Whatever you do, you are going to have to chunk it into a logical set of small pieces that flow well.

Hope that helps a bit.

Bob S

Hi Jennifer,

Exciting stuff and video training can be a lot of fun. But I would caution you that for most folks today 20 mins of video is long....   You can do the research on web surfers and see what percentages bail out of after 1 min, 2 min, 5 min.   You might be amazed.

So my first thought is consider chunking things even smaller.... more shorter videos.  

Second, don't even consider trying to do a "complete" teaching in this manner. Instead show how to do a single task per video, preferably one of the more common or in-demand tasks. Leave out the caveats, leave out the what ifs, leave out the nice to haves.

Third, show only the procedure for the task itself; not all the navigation of pre-steps they had to do.  If need be, just make reference to them; "Once you have navigated to X, you are ready to do Y. Let's see how..."

Fourth, vary the shots. You can still use a single camera set up. But today we are used to faster edits and varied shots (thank you MTV) so cut in with close-ups, or even just inset still photos will work but mix things up a bit to keep interest. One single camera technique is to film the entire thing twice.... once at narrator distance, and again totally close up. Then intercut the two.

Finally, limit the intro and outro lengths. Yes it's great to give the entire cast credit or brand your company for 20 seconds.... but your learners will not be happy.  With video being passive, you need to get them right into the meat of the messaging as soon as possible.


Hope some of this helps and good luck!

Jennifer Valley

Thanks Bob! I honestly doubt it will end up being 20 minutes.  That is way too long.  This course is going to act as a way to get them "up and running" on main work flows.  The rest of our videos will be 3-5 minute quick hits that match frequently asked questions and other shorter topics.

I think the script already has the the what if's and nice to have's removed but I'll go back to make sure I can't make it more concise and I created a shot list and mixed things up where it makes sense so I think we're good there.

What kind of timing should an intro or outro have?  How long is too long?  10 seconds or less?

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