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Following Best Practices for Workplace Training Videos: Length & Run Time

When you’re planning out a training video and everything that’s going to go into the training series, deciding on the most suitable length is probably a topic that keeps popping up in your mind time and again. When following the best practices for workplace training videos, length and total run time are key considerations that really can’t be overlooked.  While there are many studies that mention the importance of keeping videos under 2 minutes long, those studies focus on social media videos, and advertisements, not so much on training videos.

Determining the most suitable length for workplace training videos requires a bit of a more detailed approach before a decision on total run time is made. Of course it’s still incredibly important to get the number right because if your training is too long, you’ll lose viewer interest and if it’s too short you risk your audience feeling that the topic wasn’t important. Finding the sweet spot is essential, but what about best practices?

Best Practices for Workplace Training Videos 

When producing a workplace training video, the quality of the information that is being presented is just as important as finding the most appropriate length or total run time. Most importantly, do not compare the optimal length of a workplace training video to the optimal length of a social media video or advertisement. This simply isn’t a suitable method of determining the appropriate run time for a video. 

Training videos, used in a classroom setting or office, can generally run a bit longer than a typical social media video. It is expected that learners involved in a classroom or any employment training will be more likely to stick around for a longer time to learn the content that is being taught. However, it’s important to understanding that attention spans are short these days, regardless of topic, content, or purpose for viewing the video.

Keep in mind that the quality of your training video can impact the total amount of time that your audience will stick around and engage with the content. Higher quality training videos, particularly those that use storytelling and emotions to draw the audience in, are going to keep the viewer engaged longer than a poorly produced training series that lacks a story.

The Statistics on Training Video Length 

In following the best practices for workplace training videos, length and run time are consistently top of the list in terms of focus points that must be considered in production. It’s important to produce training videos that are going to keep the viewer engaged, maximize interest, and ensure the greatest potential for the viewer to retain what they learn. But what does research say about optimal training video length?

Consider the following:

  • A study by MIT of more than 6.9M videos found that training videos that were under 6 minutes were more engaging for students than longer videos.
  • A Techsmith research study found that the ideal length for tutorial videos was 3:13. 
  • A study by the University of Wisconsin-Stout found that students believe training videos should be 15 minutes or less. 
  • Another TechSmith study found that more than 50% of people prefer videos between 3 and 6 minutes, but the next highest preferred video length was 10-19 minutes. 

As you can see, the research is varied, and shows that viewers have different ideas of what constitutes an “ideal” length for a training video.

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Determining Optimal Workplace Training Video Length

The research tells us that there is no single ideal length for workplace training videos and that audiences vary in regards to how long they think a video should be and how long they will engage with a video. The research suggests that people will watch longer training videos if the content contained in the video is in line with what they’re looking to learn. This essentially goes back to knowing your audience and providing content that they can resonate with. 

While the research tells us that there is no ideal length for workplace training videos that will be right across the board, it also tells us that people will stick around and watch content that delivers the information that they’re looking for. A training video that provides well-needed training that targets the audience will keep the interest of the audience longer than a video that fails to connect with its audience, plain and simple.

Determining the optimal workplace training video length for your content is about:

  • Targeting your audience with content that they can resonate with.
  • Using exactly as much time as it takes to teach the topic – nothing more.
  • Keeping the content highly focused and avoiding the use of any fillers.
  • Adjusting content length based on the audience’s engagement. 

When it comes to the best practices for workplace training videos, length is incredibly important to consider and the total run time for a training video that’s going to be used to train one group might be completely different than a training video used to train another group. Naturally a doctor will stick around for longer training than a fast food employee. Keep your audience in mind when determining the most suitable length for your training videos.

While there is no single optimal length for workplace training videos, studies have proven that most workplace training videos should be under 20 minutes, and that most people prefer a video between 3 and 6 minutes total length regardless of background, topic, or other factors. If you’re having trouble determining how long your training video should be, start by producing a video that addresses the topic fully & specifically and then take steps to minimize total length to create a video with a final run time that is close to 5 minutes. Shorter is better, but longer is still acceptable as long as you’re providing your audience with the information that they’re looking for!