Why Learning From Videos is Difficult

We love watching videos. YouTube and other similar video sharing websites have made viewing and sharing videos as easy as possible. However when it comes to learning from videos, there is certainly a hitch. For example, consider I have to write a paper on Entrepreneurship and I am referring to some videos on the topic. Let’s say I look at the video below :

Referring to a video as shown above for learning purpose can be really time consuming and painful for the following reasons:

  • I will have to go through the entire video and then find out if there is anything relevant. If it is a lengthy video, I will be spending too much time going through the entire video.
  • Since there is no table of contents, I cannot skip portions and move on to more relevant portions.

Now look at this video here :

Learning from the video above is much more easier because:

  • The contents are clearly listed and segregated.
  • The duration is also indicated.

You can either listen to the entire lecture or  jump to portions that interest you. In this case, even if it is a 2 hour video, you do not have to worry much because you can always skip and look at stuff that interest you or is relevant to you.

What do you think about the point I am making here?  Please drop in your thoughts in the Comments section.

12 comments to Why Learning From Videos is Difficult

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  • Rachel

    Excellent point. Scanning (pre-reading) the contents allows you to see what is relevant and always helps to prepare your brain to listen.

  • Good point. One of the biggest problems with video and audio material is the lack of metadata compared with text material. Searching for video material is often a case of pot luck and very little content on YouTube etc is indexed as your second example. There may be a perfect 2 minute section of a video that is exactly what your looking for but how on earth are you going to find it.

  • Kristina Farentino

    The best way for videos to be relevant to learners is for them to be embedded in “something” which combines text, video, podcast, simulations, connect to other experts/learners interested in the concept and the ability to add your own notes and comments. “Textbooks” of the future. A rhizomatic approach!

  • “In this case, even if it is a 2 hour video, you do not have to worry much because you can always skip and look at stuff that interest you or is relevant to you.”
    How much is it possible?

  • Vaishali

    Good point.

    Following are good examples of using video for learning


    Video arts does good stuff too.

  • Pat Godfrey

    Nice catch – great timing, too; perhaps I’m not a crazy or outfield ID afterall? At the micro-screen level this should be the way we ALWAYS adapt videos into our elearning products. The common practice of the ID/video controlling the learner’s sequencing of their OWN learning has to stop. (Goes for click and reveals, etc., too – unless a sequence is IMPERATIVE; or for kids with attention spans less than a…a…) There. My spleen vented ;)

  • I just wrote a similar post about video the other day (http://rockidscience.com/?p=307).
    I’m not a big fan of it, but I realize that many of us have to deal with sponsors saying, “I want to do something like the RSA videos.” It’s good to have a response to that, so thanks for the post.

  • I think is a easier way to learn from video and may help I lot students to get to the point, but I’m worried with more compartmentalization of knowledge. We know that read a chapter of one book it’s not the same of reading that same book – and I think the same can apply to video here.

  • Don Presant

    Picking up on the embedded remark, it’s even better if the video permits excerpted citation, providing at least the start point of the relevant section (and ideally ending after the relevance is over) Transcription obviously helps, especially if the transcript is linked to the relevant section of the video – this reduces the need for comprehensive metadata. That’s why Google is so interested in closed captions.

  • Darren

    Great article! What software was used to integrate the video and content? This is very clever and definitely something that I personally would prefer, too.

  • Craig Ramsay

    I learn by repetition & the older I get the more repetition is needed to learn it.

    If after downloading a You Tube video, watching it, then initiating a second program to allow the user to click at the start & end point of what the user wants to watch so it would play that section over & over again until it was disabled, it would be a boon to all those trying to learn a specific wrestling or judo move, or Karate move. Maybe there is & I just have not found it yet.

    When I was driving on long trips listening to positive Earl Nightingale tapes & others I found the repetition extremely fascinating because when I heard it while thinking of other things each time it played it affected so many different areas of my thinking & was readily available later on during conversations of many different topics.

    Love the indexing of the videos. What a terrific idea.

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