You had me up until “short but complete”. Lessons of less than ten minutes? Come on.

Typical video lessons, like typical classroom lessons, contain a bit at the beginning that’s a review of previous material relevant to the current lesson, and a bit at the end that gives an overview of the current lesson and a teaser for the next. While the teaser portion can be omitted, an overview of previous relevant material cannot be eliminated: people frequently view these things out of order, or zone out through part of them, or misunderstand which points are central. Ten minutes isn’t nearly long enough to cover enough content to be worthwhile if we also have these overviews.

In domains with practical application, like the programming-related domains you focus on in your article, there’s a place for extremely short chunks of information. Specifically, after finishing a course or initially learning the material some other way, a person may need a quick reminder while actually applying the material. A video or audio lesson is a terrible match for this use case: finding and skipping to the relevant information is slow and error-prone. For short chunks of information, text is ideal. Audio and video based courses, however, have the edge in introducing new material to a partly or mostly passive audience.

Your other points generally make sense. But, I’d argue in favor of 1–2 hour audio/video lessons plus textual review/summary sheets.

Written by

Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software. http://www.lord-enki.net

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store