Experiment: The Best Content Type for Technical Content Online Learning

Online Learning — A Content Type Experiment

One tiny thing I’ve learned the hard way over and over again while working in IT is the fact that everyone is different and it’s not possible to assume that others think the way we do! Whenever I’m trying to solve a problem for someone else and don’t involve the user from the start, every assumption I make is a big risk of being totally wrong!

Online Learning

When I’m in the process of learning something new, I personally prefer written tutorials which I can follow as I like listening to music or watching “Good Wife” on Netflix while consuming the written content. That’s not possible while following video tutorials or even courses. Let’s assume I’m the same as everyone, therefor it’s time to focus on creating written tutorials and profit!

Not so fast! Lesson learned: I’m not even close to what others are! I’m different, ergo everyone else is different from me as well!

The sole reason I am even thinking about this is, that I’d like to create content. I’d like to provide knowledge to people willing to learn, but I am unsure what platform I should choose. Written, spoken, filmed, … the possibilities are in the current time nearly endless.

The Experiment

To find the best possible platform, I’m going to perform a 6-ish month experiment where I create content of different type on different platforms and analyse the results. As a background, the result may be different depending on the topic, that’s why I’m going to focus my content on one topic (even though a broad one):

The topic for all of the content will be related to databases and business intelligence.

Written Descriptions — Medium & Blog

Known from a lot of sites, the first content type I’m going to test is a written description of technical content where a technical topic is described in form of an essay. This could be describing the concept behind relational databases, listing some top features of a new version of a database management system, or similar.

Those will be posted both on my blog Bave and on my Medium account to get a bigger audience.

Written Tutorials — Medium & Blog

Different from written descriptions, the written tutorials solve a specific problem and the tutorial itself describes each step necessary. This content type used to be very popular but slowly got replaced by video tutorials (not sure if this is true, but that’s my feeling as a consumer of such content).

eBook — Amazon?!

Once some tutorials and technical description posts are written, they can be bundled into an ebook which can be published for Kindle or other platforms.

Podcast — Libsyn

Podcast is another source of learning in the information technology field. There are different types of podcasts. Some are interviews / discussions, others are about technical content and even others are about lessons learned.

I would prefer creating podcasts about other people with interviews but I’d assume that starting off with zero audience will not get anyone interested in an interview. But maybe the audience will grow!

Video Descriptions — YouTube

Similar to the written description, these videos describe a topic. What’s done often — although not primarily in the technical field — are top 5 videos or top 10 videos. Some topics I have in mind are for example “Top 10 Performance Tips for SQL“.

Video Tutorials — YouTube

Instead of in form of a text, a video tutorial will start with a problem and solve this problem step by step.

Online Course — Udemy

The online course is the biggest of all content types and contains video, text, and exams.

Measuring the Result

To find the best content types, the following metrics should be helpful:

  1. Number of Views
     Measures the number of views on each content. No matter if it is recurring or not.
  2. Number of Visitors
     Unique visitors on the content.
  3. Total Time on Content
     Whenever possible to measure, the total time spent on the content. This will be best measured for courses or videos.
  4. Return Rate
     How many visitors return to the same content?
  5. Number of Subscribers
    Depending on the content type, this measures the number of users liking, following, subscribing, … to the content.
  6. Number of positive votes
    How many people vote up the content?
  7. Number of Interactions
    Not only positive votes but also negative votes, comments, and all other types of interactions.
  8. Number of Comments
    Comments posted on each type of content.
  9. Time spent creating the Content
    How much time was spent creating the content?
  10. Objective feeling about the content?
    How do I feel about the content and did I had fun creating it?

To get even more insight into the data, wherever possible, the metrics should be sliced using the following dimensions: Age, Country, Gender, Source.



I’m going to try to create content of different types in each testing period to keep the results as comparable as possible but then again, this is not an empirical study, this is mostly for fun and giggles!

Stay tuned for updates! I try to post bi-weekly updates about the results.

Originally published at www.bave.me on October 26, 2017.