Open non-formal online courses hosted by commercial platforms are becoming increasingly popular as a self-paced option for learners across the globe. The numbers of students enrolled on these kinds of courses are significant and rapidly growing. For example, the Udemy course provider states that, as of October 2019, it has over 30 million students learning on 50,000 courses. These figures suggest that this type of online learning is popular; however, the attrition rates for such courses, similar to other online options such as MOOCs, can be high. In this show-and-tell presentation two teacher-researchers analyse their experience of creating instructional videos for online language courses. Videos are the main components of such courses and if they can be made as engaging as possible the chances of retaining students will be higher. The presenters collected data from an online survey and follow-up interviews with 19 English language learners from several countries including Japan, China and Hungary. Participants were shown short clips from six popular YouTube language teachers and asked to rate how effective they were. Results suggest various ways in which videos can be made more engaging. While the participants judged videos from a number of different criteria, which reflected their personal preferences and learning goals, there are some commonalities in style and quality that they expect to see in instructional videos. Although the data and analysis are focused on open non-formal online courses the findings and discussion are of relevance to other forms of online instruction and multimedia learning.