ELearning on YouTube by Kimberly Bowen

Turn YouTube into your interactive classroom, complete with message feeds.

These days, you can find a plethora of movies on YouTube ranging from clips of television shows to your brother-in-law’s home video of snowboarding over a vehicle. While a lot of the videos on YouTube are silly, there are also many that are motivational, promotional or instructional. More and more, teachers are using YouTube in their classrooms to show examples of things they are teaching.
Teachers are also starting to use YouTube as a vehicle to teach from. The types of skills vary from vocational to academic: pruning roses to solving second order linear differential equations. No matter what type of learning you are interested in, some basic standards apply for all eLearning on YouTube.
Qualities of a Good YouTube Educational Video
The main indicator as to whether the course is beneficial is the content of the video. Some things that decrease the value of a video are the visual and audio quality. For example, if someone’s hand is covering the screen while they are writing down information, camera shots are blurry or shaky, teachers mumble or do not speak clearly and background noise all diminish the quality.
The formatting of the class also has a lot to do with whether or not the video will be successful. These relatively small segments allow students to absorb concepts a piece at a time. Similar to traditional classes, an endless array of PowerPoint slides is far less effective than a teacher explaining the information.
Each video has room below it for a message feed. This message feed can connect students with the instructor, and vice versa. These messages allow students and teachers to discuss the content of the video clip, ask questions and clarify concepts.
Benefits of YouTube Learning
The learning process is personal. Even in a traditional classroom setting, students learn at different paces. Some need to hear the material repeatedly while others can hear it once and move on. Classroom instruction on the internet can make allowances for these differences. Students can watch the movies as frequently as they need to master the concept.
Another reason YouTube classes are good is because it is not in real time, meaning that the student does not have to watch the video at a set time. It is available on the internet whenever he or she is ready to view it. If they were real time hours, the student would have to be present, either in front of the screen or in the classroom in order to view it. Plus, the instruction is available wherever you can access the internet.
YouTube classes are also beneficial because they can be more interactive than traditional book learning. Students who need someone to sit with them and work through a problem but are also unable to do this because of distance restrictions can receive a similar effect by watching a video. They can view the step-by-step process of how a task is completed, as many times as they need.
The Downsides to YouTube Instruction
ELearning via YouTube becomes less effective when the message is not effectively conveyed from the instructor to the student. If the student cannot see the necessary visual information or hear what the teacher is saying, the video becomes useless and the student frustrated.
Just as in any other learning format, the student needs to feel the teacher’s respect. Attitudes of superiority are just as visible over a computer screen as in person. Mutual feelings of respect are important for the learning process to be successful.
Similar to all eLearning experiences, technology sometimes cannot make up for the lack of the teacher being in the same location. Even with a visual experience and the option of communicating via message feed, some students may not be able to work through their questions. In such cases, the student may need to be face-to-face with the teacher.
YouTube Classes and Online Schools
While most YouTube instructional videos are not delivered through accredited schools, some accredited schools have begun designing classes that meet in person occasionally but do most of their work via YouTube. In the future, more schools may start using YouTube to conduct classes. NorthOrion.com can help you find classes that you can take online or in a traditional classroom setting so you can get the learning experience that’s right for you.
Kim BowenKimberly Bowen is a staff writer for NorthOrion.com. She has written for several publications, including TopTenReviews.com, LDSjobs.org, and the Ensign and Liahona’s “News around the Church.” She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah in Mass Communication, with an emphasis in journalism. She enjoys helping people make well-informed decisions about their education and careers.

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