JEEP Learning (we’re going for a new phrase for L+D buzzword bingo… want to join us?)
People are talking about learning being ‘just in time’. Accessible anywhere, anytime, and ‘on-the-job’. Relevant and instantly applicable, meeting the immediate need for the new bit of learning, proving just enough education to perform.
A conversation we often end up having when helping people create their own in-house video content is, how long should the video be? And does it even matter? And yet I highly doubt that anyone ever made a video and thought ‘well it’s 14 minutes long but I don’t really care if people watch it all as long as they watch the first half. The rest of my effortful creative content design is pointless anyway’.
Guo (2013) suggests that the optimum video length to get student engagement for the full video is 6 minutes. And that the average time that students actually watch any video, is 6 minutes, corroborated by Guo, Kim and Rubin (2014). After that, people tend to click away, and go somewhere else. Or do they go and do something with what they’ve just learnt, like: make some notes, try something out, talk to someone, query and question what they just watched, or look for the next step because they’ve got that bit nailed after 6 minutes. What is the proceeding post-learning-video action that you’re aiming for?
If we only consider attention spans and thus design and market our video on content on behavioural analytics, we might learn that viewers only stay for 6 minutes if there are no advert or buffering pauses. Guo also found that people disengaged quicker, with videos that were longer: on average people stop watching 12 minute videos after 3 minutes. Just the thought of knowing the video was going to go on for longer than someone believed they needed to get the info/learning they want, in that moment, was enough to disengage. Student’s told instructional designer researchers that 15 minutes was long enough (Berg et al., 2018); so there’s your window to get your message across.
Or perhaps it’s not just about attention spans, and perhaps we should stop saying “oh the millenial of today’s workplace, they can’t focus for much longer than a goldfish, they only want short snapchat-sized clips” (with Casella, 2017 on this one) Really? Ask people how long they can binge-watch a Netflix boxset for?
What Guo didn’t ask, is why? Could engagement in learning video actually be about something else?
Motivation to Learn
Why do we learn? What motivates people to learn?
Hopefully you clicked straight onto the video above, which is what I wanted you to do, Reader. I asked you a couple of open questions that hopefully you’re interested in answering.
If you didn’t click or watch it, here’s more:
- In total it’s 3:58 minutes in duration
- I actually only wanted you to watch up to 1:47 (although please keep going if you like it)
- It’s a comedian telling a true story during stand-up, and I happen to think Bill Hicks was great and reaching beyond the time and context of his day.
- The intention is a light comedy interjection to get you thinking even more about the themes in this blog.
- Oh, and I should warn you, there is explicit content (does that make you watch it or not watch it… to see how far it goes… to see if our humour aligns)
- And have you read any of this anyway or have you clicked-off elsewhere?
How do you embed video into learning content? What makes people want to click on it? Why are people ‘there’ (on your platform of choice) in the first place? Try answering these questions for yourself and avoid ‘us’ and ‘them’ thinking.
Guo did find that when the learning was related to an assessment, people watched the video for longer. They were motivated differently and presumably needed to make sure they didn’t miss anything that they might need later on. And I wonder… if people like to learn just a inch, because an inch is what they need to apply right now – they then complete the task at hand with that new inch. If they learnt a yard worth of learning, and only applied an inch right now, would that inch of performance be better because of the context of it within the whole yard.
Do we reduce the video to 6 minutes? Or do we entice people to watch for longer?
If we only learn JEEP, and then stop the video when we ‘think’ we have enough information to understand the task and concept we’re learning about in the moment, are we actually restricting our critical thinking; that which drives healthy self-directed learning in the first place and may motivate us to seek out video for learning. To really learn and shift our thinking we need to move aside our assumption and biases and make way for new and different, so that we explore a different approach or way of doing thing. Or does that not matter at all, because the majority need of workplace learning is for JEEP: just enough education to perform.