In a paper published this spring, the CSAIL team outlined some key findings on what online learners want from videos. These include:
- Brevity (viewers generally tune out after six minutes)
- Informality, with professors seated at a desk, not standing behind a podium
- Lively visuals rather than static PowerPoint slides
- Fast talkers (professors seen as the most engaging spoke at 254 words per minute)
- More pauses, so viewers can soak in complex diagrams
- Web-friendly lessons (existing videos broken into shorter chunks are less effective than ones crafted for online audiences)
In my experience, I will leave my demographic and psychographic to the reader, I want:
1. A short lecture and six minutes is good.
2. A Lander approach with the Prof in front of a class, makes you feel it is real and you are pert of the process. Also it paces the instructor. It appears that Lander was the only one I used that did this.
3. I really liked the white board approach. I had the notes and could then annotate them as the lecture proceeded.
4. The rate at which a person speaks is not as critical and the rate which the transfer information. Again Lander is sine qua non, he had one to three points to get across and he did it simply.
5. Pauses, if the lecture is in front of a class they take control.
6. "Web friendly", again Lander was spot on, you did something with genes, you learned by your mistakes, my dyslexia came to the fore so I had to do a work around. This did Python program to read and translate the gene structures.
It would really be worthwhile to do real market research on these courses and not just a computer science approach. Yet that means you have to know your "students".