At the Online Learning 2018 conference, there were blocks of presentations which were usually on the same topic that were grouped together in a one-hour time-slot and given 15 minutes each.  In some cases it worked – and in others, it did not work well. It was clear that some of the presenters did not have enough time to get through the valuable points in their presentation in just 15 minutes. As presenters in this situation, it took a lot of thought about how to maximise our time.


In our case, I actually enjoyed how our presentation worked with the one before us. Jeff, Jess and I reviewed the abstract of the presenter before us and cut what was likely going to be redundant content out of our presentation. It was clear that the other presenter in our block did the same thing (click here for our abstract). In the presentation, she referred to us and we referred back to her – it was almost like it was one collaborative presentation instead of two. The only thing I would change in the future is actually making contact with her in advance of the session. While the presentation seemed seamless, we may have been able to make a few small adjustments or even collaborate on one larger presentation had we contacted her in advance.


We took our own advice and started with a hook, worked hard on concision and making the presentation memorable.

Cutting Back

When our presentation team asked for an hour and was given 15 minutes we spent a lot of time working on just what to say. We managed to keep a hands-on demonstration of our tips in the presentation by focusing on a series of quick actionable tips for beginners.

After several rounds of brainstorming cool ideas, practice and cutting back we opted for a Google slides presentation (above) and continued use of this website for hosting our resource materials for the audience. We also took the advice of a couple of pilot groups who came to listen to us practice the presentation as we were refining it. Jeff’s video tips from the presentation are described in the video below.


One of my personal presentation goals is to incorporate more storytelling into my presentations and videos. All of my speaking points in this presentation were framed around storytelling. My story begins with why I started making videos. It contained an overview of the reaction I received, a focus on making one small improvement each time and a few key things I learned along the way. The tips are:

  • Just try
  • hook the audience in the first 8 seconds
  • keep videos short (three to five minutes)
  • use multiple videos in playlists for longer content
  • keep improving

During the quick tips section, we also planned for a couple of story interjections to try and retain audience interest and make a point that forgetting things like charging your device can happen to anyone (and be quite disappointing).

Interestingly one of the questions at the end was about our opinion on a presentation earlier in the conference that talked about some neuroscience for effective video production. While I agreed that we need to put effort into making our videos interesting and memorable I do not agree that scenarios or stories can be used for every type of video. The strategies used to make a video memorable should be based on the best way to achieve the learning outcome for that video. Stories or scenarios often work, but not always. In this presentation it worked.

A Challenge

My story ended with the challenge to just try it!  This challenge was reinforced throughout the presentation and on the back of our business card handout. The handout was a reminder of what we hoped would be the key takeaway: just try it!

Our business card handout

Our business card handout

The Demonstration

An audience volunteer came up at the end of the presentation to be Jeff’s cameraman, which was a neat kinesthetic way to reinforce the key points in the presentation. Jess walked the audience member through a quick checklist of the tips Jeff had just explained. The demonstration took only a couple of minutes but was a fun, interactive and engaging way to hopefully


Jess is right – we brought our A game. She took care of the majority of shameless self-promotion of our presentation on Twitter. Read her blog about it here.

I talked to some people in person and handed out our buisness cards in advance. Someone may have also spread the business cards around the washroom and discussion stations on break before the presentation.


Whatever drew the audience, we had a good one. There were quite a few people. They were engaged – taking pictures of our slides and asked good questions at the end. Some came up to speak to us, which was amazing! We also had a lot of fun.

I would say that we rocked it (I hope the audience agrees – I wish we had evaluations). I would present with these two anytime. Hopefully, we can do it again. If you are interested in seeing something like this (or a more advanced version) in the future please let us know. We are all passionate about the use of video in teaching-learning.

Laura Killam


Laura Killam is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a keen interest in improving student learning through innovation. For more information please visit


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