Teach More In Less Time With Video Psychology

Follow by Email

Have you ever watched a video that was absolutely amazing? It’s easy to enjoy watching a great video, but it’s another thing entirely to create great video. Actually, a lot of science and hard work go into the content and media that make video what it is.

All-star course creators know how to maintain learner attention through the power of psychology. The science of the human brain holds the key to repeatable, scalable video strategies for eLearning.

As course creators, we have to understand how people process information. This helps us create courses that work with the brain’s natural processes, instead of against them. The result is heightened engagement and a better eLearning course.

Powerful psychological principles and video

Want to create videos that delight, inform, and educate? Great! Follow these four principles of video psychology.

  1. ActionThings happen in video. That’s why they’re more engaging than, say, a block of text. Your video needs movement and action to maintain learner attention.This is why many training videos aren’t engaging. The video just features someone as a talking head. Add a little action to spice up your course and keep learners engaged.
  2. PicturesWe don’t mean that you should stick more pictures into your video course. Pictures refers to cameos or silhouettes that happen in your video.Essentially, it means you need to focus on your story as it’s told by your video. Extras like effects and sound are important, but nothing is more important than your visual storytelling.
  3. Video isn’t always bestThis sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. Video isn’t always the best choice. Sometimes learners need to process information in different ways.Video is very visual. However, many course creators focus on audio for the bulk of the content, instead using simple graphics as a visual aid. This is a big mistake.

    Most learners are visual. Sometimes a simple graphic or worksheet will be more effective than a video. Make sure you understand what your learners want to get out of the course and use the appropriate media.

  4. Video should be simple
    The human brain is lazy. You have to deliver information in ways that are clear and simple to get your message across. Otherwise, learners will feel overwhelmed and won’t absorb information.Package the video in a way people will understand. Make sure every picture, word, and audio clip is relevant to the course.

Human memory and video

Even if you follow the four principles of video, you still need to understand human memory. Our brains process information in three stages.


This affects what learners watch and how long they pay attention. If you want learners to retain information, cater to how their brains work naturally.


  1. Sensory memory
    The first stage is sensory memory. This is where your brain detects pictures and sounds.Sensory memory is the gatekeeper of memory. You have just 8 seconds to appeal to someone’s sensory memory. Otherwise, they’ll give their attention to something more interesting.As a course creator, this means you don’t have a lot of time to persuade learners to watch your video. Make the first 8 seconds of your video incredibly valuable and engaging. It can make a huge difference in your retention rates.
  2. Short term (working) memory
    Short term memory is also called working memory. This is where the brain processes information.Our working memory lasts about two minutes. It also can’t focus on too many things at once. If we’re overloaded with information, our short term memory short circuits.So what does this mean for course creators?

    First, remember to slice your course into digestible, two-minute videos. Anything longer than that will cease to hold your learners’ interest.

    Second, keep it super simple. Don’t complicate the course with image overload or long text. Make it easy for people to commit the information to memory.

    Third, remove anything irrelevant. You don’t want to overwhelm learners with information they don’t need.

  3. Long term memory
    If we deem the information in our short term memory as important, we commit it to long term memory. This is where you want to end up as a course creator.When we commit something to long term memory, our short term memory will fetch the information as we need it. You want learners to commit your course content to long term memory. It means they’ve actually retained and used the information they learned.But how do you make information stick in the long term memory? The best way is to tell a story. The human brain is hard-wired to recall information through stories. Whether from gossip, fiction, persuasion, or history, stories help us learn.

    Focus on your video narratives. A good story can make the difference between a course that flops and a course that sells out.


The bottom line

The human brain is complex. Psychology gives us the understanding and tools to create better videos for eLearning. As education moves online, it’s even more important for course creators to embrace the four principles of video and the three types of memory. So go ahead— psych yourself up for giving a truly awesome eLearning experience.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Want to learn how to make awesome learning experiences? Sign up for our training content!

You have Successfully Subscribed!