A few months ago, while talking to a potential client about several of our online compliance training courses like Business Ethics, Code of Conduct, and Workplace Harassment, she asked what the average course length was for Xcelus courses.  I told her that most of our online compliance courses averaged about 12-14 minutes in length.  She immediately questioned whether anyone could learn anything in 12 minutes.  But the opposite is actually true. I told her that it has been our experience that most employees tune out after 12 minutes of typical corporate compliance training. When the training is built with just stock photos and bullet points, employees will tune out even sooner.

So what is the optimal video length for training videos? Philip Guo, an assistant professor of Computer Science at the University of Rochester, published preliminary research conducted on MIT’s edX online MOOC suggesting the optimal video length is 6 minutes or shorter.


Dr Guo’s research confirms what Xcelus’ corporate accounts are also suggesting. eLearning or online training should be short and more frequent rather than the traditional “once and done” 60 minute training course.  For compliance training, we suggest a short 12-14 minute compliance overview course followed up by compliance reminder content throughout the year.  Also, it’s important consider online training as prerequisite course before in-person training sessions or as post-training to reinforce principles taught in the in-person training.

So how long are your compliance training courses?

What is your audience telling you?

Is it time to adopt and apply this new research to your training?