We recently performed a large scale internal analysis of MOOCs run by HT2 Labs to try and discover what was the right length of time for video content presented in Curatr. We classified video content into two broad categories; short content (less than 4 mins in length) and long content (8 mins or more). Using data collected by our LRS, we then performed an analysis to suggest how long users stayed on each object (dwell time).
What we saw was clear:
When content is less than 4 mins in length, users tend to stay for over 9 minutes. During this time they watch the video, read some comments, vote a bit and then add their own thoughts. When the video is 8 mins or longer, the average dwell time is just 37 seconds. That’s enough time to start the video, realise you aren’t going to finish watching it and quit out.
Our MOOCs are voluntary and perhaps they attract a fickle participant as there’s no big ‘end goal’. However, the evidence here is backed up by evidence from EdX, short videos are best for engagement and when we say short, we mean really short, 4 minutes or less.
We suspect even shorter would be better as shown by this research from Wistia.