In this post I will argue that YouTube is a great resource for learning about how to use for certain things. This post is more conveying my personal experiences with using YouTube as an avenue for learning.

What subject makes a good tutorial on YouTube – languages no, programs yes

I am a language teacher and a tech consultant and teacher. This is my perspective based on my experience.  I think YouTube is great for learning computer software programs. However, YouTube is horrible for learning languages. In fact, it mildly annoys me when someone creates a basic video for say learning French or Spanish. In almost all cases the instructional Spanish video will be basic words and not systematic enough or put in the whole context of the languages. It will not teach you anything and is just for marketing something else to tempt you to get people to go to their website. Therefore, for languages YouTube is not the place to learn, but for techy things it is.

Computer software videos are produced by techies. In the tech world there is a big spirit of open source. Programs from WordPress to Open office are professional programs produced for free. This mentality extends to the tutorial world.  Even me I make tech tutorials for free but I sell language programs.

Cost of learning

I am a techy geek. One of the things about being into technology is you need to constantly keep up to date.  The problem is computer books are usually about 34 dollars, taking a programming class costs about 800 dollars.  In my opinion this is a lot of money. Further, I have a lot of books on programming I have not read. I like the idea of reading compared to the Internet, but it does not seem to happen, I do not read much except for fiction at the end of the evening. Therefore, to learn how to use a new software application or anything, whether it be how to create a iPhone app or something connected to CSS, I usually turn to YouTube to learn most efficiently.

YouTube more interesting than class

The Internet has an addictive quality to it. In theory attending a class or reading a book is the best way to learn, however, most techy geeks are somewhat hooked on the Internet, and to leave this brick and mortar enviroment to learn a new programming language.  I think YouTube is much more interesting than class. Further, you can take breaks whenever you like or skip ahead to parts of tutorials you might already know. You can further go back and play a part over and over.

Searching YouTube videos for learning

One of the biggest issues with YouTube is that it takes time to find a good usable tutorial. Many YouTube videos are very lame, even the ones that are professionally produced often are not well done as they have too long introductions or not enough meat. He is my screening criteria for finding a YouTube programming lesson.

  • Image of the video is my first determinate criteria. In the quality and lighting is anything less than high quality, then I will not consider it.
  • Length of the video. If it is long it is usually good. It sounds to simple but this is my experience. Further you can skip over the parts you do not like. It irritates me when a video is in 14 small parts. I prefer one long quality production.
  • Who does the videos.  People who are not selling anything produce the best videos. They might be selling something very subtle like a service on their website, but not overtly. Also something not produced by a professor, but a common sense useful practical study on your subject by users.

How fast can you learn using videos

I am reviewing two Android developement videos, each about 45 minutes in length. This is enough to get be started on Andriod development. I think with about 90 minutes of any videos on YouTube you have a good introduction to your target subject. In my opinion you could sit in the bath and watch videos in this time and it is one of the most painless methods of learning something fast.