University of Wisconsin–Madison

Lecture Recordings Should be 15 Minutes or Less

How long should lecture recordings be?

Increasing Student Engagement

In an MIT study conducted by Guo, Kim, and Rubin, video length was found to be the number one factor in student engagement. Optimal viewing occurred from 3 to 6 minutes with engagement dropping off around 6 minutes. Students were also found to engage most with fast-speaking instructors as pace correlates with enthusiasm, a good reminder to enjoy and express yourself in recorded lectures.

Optimal Viewing Time

TED curator Chris Anderson says that videos should not be longer than 18 minutes:

It [18 minutes] is long enough to be serious and short enough to hold people’s attention. It turns out that this length also works incredibly well online. It’s the length of a coffee break.

Because TED Talks include audience reactions and are highly condensed topics fine-tuned over months, and even years, it is recommended that you aim for shorter lectures. 6-minute lectures are ideal with 15 minutes being the cutoff. If 6 minutes seems too short, think about including only a single topic, main point, or concept in a video or podcast lecture.