Do You Want Your Audience To View Your Video Or Learn From It?

L'Arbre à Palabres #1

Online videos seem to be the rampant trend right now.

Online video sharing apps like YouTube, Vimeo, Netflix, Hulu, Instagram, TED Talks, Vine, Viddy, Vigi, Mobli, Lightt, Telly, TwitC, Socialcam, Klip, Tout and Bob.TV are all declaring it the decade of online video.

Here’s the fact many of these online video programs forget to tell you: All online videos have to compete with our attention and memory of the five-plus hours we spend daily watching TV, movies and other onscreen entertainment. (Nielsen, 2013)

The Audience Is Watching And Listening

The online video market is growing fast.

Watching online videos is now a mainstream activity. 78% of people watch at least once a week and 55% watch everyday. Consider the following online video stats from Three Motion:

Learners Who Watch Videos Want Something Different

Learners today want fingertip knowledge. They want to be able to find targeted, quick, short, easily consumable, user-friendly, practical information from search engines like Google and Bing. And if it’s in video, they may like it even more.

Learners are also requesting, short, succinct, relevant videos from thought leaders, experts and authors. They want video-recorded information from their field. They want to connect to video from conferences, events, meetings and speakers from their desktops, laptops and mobile devices. And they expect those videos to be in high-definition.

They don’t want to view a hour long presentation from the opening general session speaker unless the speaker and conference organizers have created an experience that is specific to the remote audience. They want to be included, not excluded like a fly on the wall on watching from afar. And if it’s just a replay without any other engagement, they will probably bail within the first few minutes of the presentation.

Difference Between Being Entertained And Learning

From web streaming, live streaming, webinars, Google Hangouts, Skype, flipped, blended and complete online courses, videos and face time have become an important part of our learning landscape.

Yet there is a huge difference between watching a video, emotionally connecting with it, being entertained by it and learning something from it. Videos are great to present visual information and make emotional appeals. Yet by themselves in recorded form, they are nothing more than animated, talking resources. It’s just recorded information. And information is not education or learning. Too often the video forces us into “couch potato” mode, conditioned by watching years of TV in passive mindsets.

A video of a ten-, 15- 30-, 60 or even 75-minute lecture is still nothing more than a passive consumption experience with a talking head. It didn’t lead to learning in its original form and it won’t lead to learning in its recorded form. Watching a video is not an effective way to drive thinking which is critical to learning.

What tips do you have to making passive video watching more active for learning? What do you like or dislike about online videos?

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  1. So I just watched a 2:07 minute video of …TEXT!


    1. Jeff Hurt says:


      Sort of defeats the purpose, right? Unless the video added music, included animations and graphics, focused on specific facts and drew your attention to some interesting concepts. Here’s an interesting brain fact…the brain is attracted to simple animations more than static images, especially when text is included. Moving text with animations trumps static text.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. […] Watching online video has gone from being a niche activity to mainstream. […]

  3. Jodi says:

    Users/learners want to be engaged- to make a comment or view a comment; they want to rate the presentation or see how others have rated the presentation; they want to take notes about it and come back to the notes later; they want to use their social media to share with others something they found pertinent. And if there is active learning going on it is helpful and satisfying to take a pre-test to understand their current knowledge and then a test after watching to see what they learned form watching.

    1. Jeff Hurt says:


      Those are some great tips. Thanks for adding them and thanks for reading.

  4. […] 1. @JeffHurt (11,000+ followers) Hurt is the Executive VP, Education and Engagement, for the event/conference consulting firm Velvet Chainsaw. A frequent tweeter, Hurt shares all sorts of useful information, both from Velvet Chainsaw’s blog, Midcourse Corrections, and around the web. (Velvet Chainsaw President, Dave Lutz, also tweets under @VelChain.) Recent tweet link: Do You Want Your Audience to View Your Video or Learn From It? […]

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