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Do You Prefer Text Based Training or Video Based Training? [poll]

+42 votes
I am working on a new training course for online marketing and I want to know how you like it.

For learning anything on the net how do you prefer your training and why?  Assume all of the below are step-by-step.
Test based training with illustrated graphics.
Video based training.
Both, combined.
asked Sep 28, 2013 in Internet Marketing by michael brown (1,920 points)  
100% Accept Rate
I prefer text based training with video illustrations and demos to make a point of instruction clearer.
Both is definitely the ideal choice, of course. Videos are golden for demonstrating very technical details, that are hard to describe in words, and imagine by reading.

A PDF however is totally OK, if visual demo-factor is not that much required.
PDF has the benefit of simple quick looking up the steps.

So it really depends on the content you are talking about.

Other than that I usually always prefer video, and jump to the video even if there is a PDF to it.

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For this, I go for Video Based Training. But you just need to also give the transcribe version of the video to support those viewers that can't understand English fluently.
I prefer Video based training but having these 2 media is a cool idea - a video and a transcription of the video.
Video plus transcribed article is also a good.

35 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer
I prefer both but primarily text-based material.

Text Pros:

1. You can read at your own speed.

2. You can make notes directly on printouts or if annotations are allowed, directly in PDFs.

3. You can easily highlight important information on printouts

4. If you print out, you're not reliant on an internet connection or batteries, etc. to review the marterial.

5. Reading from paper is easier than reading from a screen (plus you can recline on a couch and read at your lesiure).

Text Cons:

1. Sometimes you need to see things in action to "get them" rather than reading someone's interpretations of those actions.

2. You can read at the PC/tablet/phone or from printed out paper. The only con is if there's no page numbers and the paper gets messed up, it's hard to get the pages in the right sequence again.


Video Pros:

1. You can watch "over the shoulder" as a technique is demontrated.

Video Cons:

1. Videos are slow to go through, especially if you can't download them and play them speeded up in the likes of Windows Media Player.

2. You're restricted by the speed at which the presenter works. If they talk slowly, it's easy to lose focus as you're thinking "come on, get on with it!"

3. There's generally too much waffle in videos. Presenters need to just give the exact information needed.

4. There's too much unnessary stuff in videos; we don't need to see someone (badly) typing in their login details to a system and such.

5. There's an assumption that videos need to be aimed at the lowest commom denominators; e.g. they include info like how to register a domain name, how to open a hosting account when most viewers are more than familiar with such processes. If you want to include such info, do separate videos on them.

6. It's hard to find important information in videos when rewatching. You have to first remember what video you should be looking at and then fast forward/rewind to find the info you're looking for. And, unless, you take notes, if you need the info again, you have to go through the whole process again.

7. Some people don't make their videos available for download. They're protecting their asset. But if they go out of business (take the website down), custoemrs are left high and dry with no access to a course they've paid for.

8. You can't highlight or annotate videos. You can take notes in a separate file (which you might lose track of over time) or on paper (which might get lost in the heap of papers you've taken notes on for all the other courses you've bought).

So for me, text-based material should be the prime consideration with video used to succinctly demonstrate methods and tactics only where necessary (and the videos should be downloadable). That's the best of both worlds!

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answered Sep 29, 2013 by nightwatch (1,440 points)  
selected Sep 30, 2013 by michael brown
Great breakdown of the pros and cons.  This will help make my training perfect for folks.

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+4 votes
I really like both and heres why.  I am terrible at taking notes and if I don't take notes I may miss some important steps and information.

Having text available for down loading and printing helps me when it comes time to use the information.
answered Sep 28, 2013 by larryj (460 points)  
+4 votes
I prefer both video and written tutorials. I like to watch the videos the first time and follow along. Sometimes, I will only forget something small and I really hate trying to search through a video to find a small bit of information. It's so much easier to scan a written tutorial for one or two minor details.
answered Sep 28, 2013 by kaweenbee (220 points)  
+2 votes
Depends on the what the tutorial is about. If the tutorial goes very slow, then I'll opt for the text to get through it faster. If it's a very complicated topic, then video usually is good to see thr process, and the text to reinforce and follow the steps once I get what I'm trying to do. :-)

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answered Sep 28, 2013 by Pandita (6,740 points)  
+2 votes
I tend to prefer things I can READ. I'm looking for a PDF.I like text and graphics... just bought one the other day about setting up facebook pages. It was a good mix of text and graphic.

But because I know a younger generation wants video ... I'm starting to do videos adn learn how to produce them.

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answered Sep 28, 2013 by Info Guy (16,740 points)  
+2 votes
If I had to choose 1 it would be video training.

However,I do like to take my Kindle fire with me and download PDFs.


John Hayes
answered Sep 29, 2013 by johnboyhayes (14,220 points)  
+1 vote

Hi Michael Brown,

First off welcome to our forum, glad to have you with us!!!

Now on to your question:

I preferr to have my training in both formats. I like to be able to see the steps in action in a training video, so that I can implement them at the same time, while pausing the video. I also like to be able to download the videos, so I can view them off-line to help me save on my internet usage levels.

I like to have pictures, and text, so that when I am off line I can use those steps as well to help me set things up. However, the training in itself must be very detailed, so that I can duplicate it, and have the same success that the person doing the training has accomplished. To many times I see courses say do this, and that ,and you'll make this amount of money, but when put into practice it fails.

I hope my answer helps cover the question you asked on the topic.


answered Sep 28, 2013 by libby (23,340 points)  
Yes Michael, you made a good point that I overlooked in my answer. Being able to pause the video while working on each step is a must.
+1 vote
I would love to experience both.
answered Sep 28, 2013 by clnyule26 (160 points)  
+1 vote
For the most part, I prefer text with graphics. Video is ok if it can be linked to from within the PDF or ebook and it is very short.
answered Sep 28, 2013 by emailcash (160 points)  
+1 vote
I am happy with one or the other. If a course is low-cost I don't mind - whichever is most appropriate for the material.

What I DO mind is that if video is delivered - that it can be viewed on my iPad.  I host all my training videos so that they can be viewed on any device.  So I really don't appreciate it when I buy a course, I'm relaxing on the sofa with my iPad and the video won't play.

It's suprising how many well known IM people produce video that won't play on mobile devices. Amateur.

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answered Sep 28, 2013 by liz (1,740 points)  
+1 vote
I like text and images. In this format I can cut, paste, create a document of my own for maximum integration into my workflow. It can then be attached to almost any tool in any place to be a reference. Video can be good, but indexing and pulling the gold nuggets is an arduous process.

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answered Sep 28, 2013 by vitaware (4,210 points)  
+1 vote
Thank you for the good training,I like both.
answered Sep 28, 2013 by vee (160 points)  
+1 vote
Definitely both. Videos are great for getting an overview of the goal and how to go about it, however PDF's are the best way to proceed with carrying out a particular action. The reason is primarily because you can find information that you need a lot easier if the PDF is put together well with contents list and page numbers, whereas you can't very easily do that with video.

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answered Sep 28, 2013 by Cyberchoices (23,930 points)  
+1 vote
They both are a necessary evil, Because I work a 9-5 job, yeah! boring, I find when I get home Im absoutely shattered for most things other than eating and then have fun growling at everyone around me, the kids and the wife and the inlaws mothers and grannys to pleaaaaaaaaaase ssssssssshhhhh QUIEEEEEEEET!

So in this case I prefer a PDF with graphics, its clearer and time appropriate to me, I can scan and skip pages that are not revelant and spent more time digesting what counts. I find time in my head is so squeezed I dont manage it well in the mid week and also if Im going from PDF to video I get lost along the way or get side tracked easily.

For example Im reading a PDF training and there is a video link in the ebook I will click to get to it and if that video is not stimulating my juices I walk off and do something completely different and probabaly shelf that something I bought amongst the rest in my hard drive. Another factor is the speed of our internet in this country, they are not reliable as the USA Canada or UK.

However the weekend is brilliant for videos, its time to myself , I can dowload the videos to my HD when possible, I say possible cos sometimes them videos cannot be downloaded which is a big bummer.

So to summarise PDF with images is great for quick absorbtion and application of information.

And video is brilliant for enhancing the full picture of the course. It is more effective when its a video that  enables you to watch over the trainers shoulder, you know he actually shows how it is done as you have read from the PDF.

Thats my experience, thank you for listening, cheers :-)

answered Sep 28, 2013 by checkin (370 points)  
+1 vote

I personally prefer PDF files with lots of pictures and text. This allows me to work at my own pace without having to fast forward, pause, or rewind a video and try to find the right spot. I personally have struggled trying to follow along with videos.

Also, with a PDF document, I can print it out and make my own personal notes/adjustments in the document.

Call me old fashioned but I still prefer the feel of flipping through physical pages of paper  smiley

answered Sep 28, 2013 by bmcellhiney (200 points)  
+1 vote
I am not a techy person at all so if its something technical a short video plus a step by step text .  If the video is in deapth that is okay as I can pause it if need be,
answered Sep 28, 2013 by pinkpoppy31 (6,490 points)  
+1 vote
Like most people I prefer videos but having text to refer to really helps clarify things. Plus its easier to go back and look something up in text
answered Sep 28, 2013 by blackcat (19,040 points)  
+1 vote
In general, I hate video trainings. In most cases, they are very poor quality. and I would very rarely even consider buying a video course.

There are a few exceptions: for example instructions for using a software are usually easier in video. Similarly, complex sequences are easier explained in video rather than text.
answered Sep 28, 2013 by aramyus (160 points)  
+1 vote

I prefer BOTH. cheeky

answered Sep 28, 2013 by (160 points)  
+1 vote
has to be both,vidio for the over veiw, text for in depth

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answered Sep 29, 2013 by ironmonger (2,050 points)  
+1 vote
I prefer video course training( short but should should be infornative) combines with text and graphics( but this should include some information appeared in the video) for better understanding specially for non English speakers who could have some difficulties in listening.

Good luck
answered Sep 29, 2013 by shawa (18,850 points)  
+1 vote
I like both. If the material is lengthy though, it's usually better to have a print version for reference you can return to easily as you work through it.
answered Sep 29, 2013 by geekability (18,680 points)  
+1 vote
Personally I like videos. I can see live a example and it is easy to follow, just do as you are shown and the fact that I despise reading may have something to do it as well
answered Sep 29, 2013 by Sal (220 points)  
+1 vote
I usually dont have time to see the videos, so I prefere to have audio training so I can listen it in the car and then make notes in the pdf files.
answered Sep 29, 2013 by rtrev (4,140 points)  
I am also especially auditory and listening while executing the steps is awesome for me.  But then you can play the videos and listen sometimes too depending on if they are verbally explaining the visual well.
0 votes
I'm not a native English speaker, so I prefer a text based training with illustrations, but if you offer video based training with subtitles, so it'd be great too.

Adding subtitles is something so easy, but most of people forget to do it!
answered Sep 29, 2013 by Christiano (49,030 points)  
0 votes
I prefer to have both.

It has been my experience that they often fill in where the other lacks.

I like text with step-by-step instructions (including illustrations of the steps) but often there is some small nuance that is left out that may be shown or explained in a video when watching someone actually performing each step. There may even be a small explanation that is mentioned in the video that tends to be left out when the instructions are put together. (Often, instructions are abbreviated for clarity, actually making the steps more difficult to follow...not enough explanation.)

When you have only video, it's very difficult to watch and perform the steps and stop videos as you are going. It's much easier to print out the instructions and follow it as you go. It's also easier to make notes on the printed instructions to help you remember essential tips from the video.

I like the way that Udemy has their training set up. While playing a video, you can make notes on the right-hand side about the video. The only other item I might include would be to be able to view the instructions & illustrations in another window at the same time, while taking notes or being able to write/type on the instructions & illustrations themselves...

I really enjoy having both for the sake of clarity in case something is missed in one, more than likely it's answered in the other format.

Just a thoughts and my two cents...

Thank you for asking!
answered Sep 29, 2013 by OnlineMarketing (220 points)  
0 votes
I like video-based training - but only if it's not too long-winded.

The problem is that you can't skim a video - you have to sit through it all.   If it's on a topic that's of great interest, and it moves along at a good pace that's no problem - but if you're just wanting to skim something that you already know, just in case the presenter raises an interesting point, it can be tedious.

So the ideal situation is both - a video presentation - but also a text and graphics version.

More work for you of course - but keeps everyone happy.
answered Sep 29, 2013 by 7Driver (2,000 points)  
0 votes
I do like videos if they are downloadable so that you can refer back to them in your own time.  I like another contributor am not good at taking notes and do tend to miss things.  I am not good at reading instructions either I do tend to go off at a tangent and do things before I fully understand what I should be doing so video for me is the answer.

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answered Sep 29, 2013 by Anitaku (2,260 points)  
0 votes
My preference is for text/graphics. However, some concepts are rather difficult to grasp in writing, and that is where I like videos that suppliment the writing. But, for the most part, I don't like watching videos.
answered Sep 29, 2013 by Neeznoodle (510 points)  
0 votes
I like to have both as long as the video is downloadable and it actually gets to the point, because i like to be able to see it in action and also go back through the video as well as illustrated material to get answers on anything i might be stuck on.
answered Sep 29, 2013 by Brian (140 points)  
0 votes
I prefer Video training and snapshots/images inserted throughout the text that reinforce important steps. My learning just seems to flow more smoothly when structured that way.
answered Sep 29, 2013 by LeosDesk (1,470 points)  
0 votes
Generally I prefer both but a PDF with a lot of images will almost always get the job done.

What I really dislike is a rambling, poorly done video that is all over the place and leaves in mistakes or the host searching for things while we sit and watch. Just a little editing would go a long way.
answered Sep 29, 2013 by azcats72 (240 points)  
I prefer text over video because I can go through the content at my own pace. With that being said, I do like video because of the trust factor. People connect with people better through video. Especially the talking head ones where you show your face and talk to your viewers. There are both pros and cons to each type of format though.
0 votes
A video overview or demonstration of performing a particular task is nice to have. Makes it easier to understand. But for configuring a piece of software or performing a task that takes many steps, I need written instructions. When it is a video only course I find that I have to watch it several times and take detailed notes in order to be able to set up the program myself. I would much rather have a PDF accompany the video. But if i had to choose only one, I would go with the PDF.
answered Sep 29, 2013 by Magmark (200 points)  
0 votes
I really like both, as long as the video isn't too long. I use both. Text training with few graphics, can be boring, but with  video to break it up, makes it more memorable. The major plus is I can save everything!

answered Sep 29, 2013 by nanations (180 points)  
0 votes
I find text/graphics to be far better than video - for a number of reasons.

If you are not sure about something, you can re-read it. You can also follow the instructions one by one as you attend to them. You can mark up points that require further attention or mark questions to ask.

It is nice to have dexcriptive videos for those that require illustration of where something can be found, etc., but this would be secondary to me to text and graphics.

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answered Sep 29, 2013 by BF1021 (340 points)  
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