The Pitfalls Of Learning On YouTube

You should use YouTube to supplement your training, not replace it.

When we need to know something right now, our first instinct these days is to grab our phone and look it up. Google breaks this type of behavior out into micro-moments: I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, and I-want-to-buy moments.

And when we “want-to-do”, what do we do? We turn to YouTube. Searches related to “how-to” on YouTube are growing 70% year over year. YouTube is not supplementing traditional learning methods anymore, it’s replacing them altogether. And that’s not necessarily a good thing.

On the surface, YouTube has some very important and valuable benefits to learners, especially the ability to access the content anytime and anywhere, and for free. But I can think of at least four pitfalls when you use YouTube videos as a substitute for formal learning, in particular when it comes to analytics.

Here are 4 pitfalls to watch out for when it comes to YouTube and #analytics training:

  1. YouTube videos are one-directional: They can only be consumed. When used alone, they are unable to cover the broad range of learning styles. This may work for learners with preferences for visual and audio learning. However, providing the demonstration examples and the software environment for the viewers to ‘follow-along’ with the activities performed in demonstration serves learners with preferences for tactile or kinesthetic learning. For a successful online training program, video learning is just one component. Students need the opportunity to perform exercises and activities on their own, as well as revisit the key learning concepts through the challenge of quiz questions and the review of printable takeaway materials.
  2. YouTube videos lack depth: Most videos that are put on YouTube are done by companies who are trying to market their tool or themselves. They are very good for showing very short demonstration experiences, or presenting a brief presentation of a high-level concept. However, their lack of indexing makes them less user-friendly for relating concepts in a more in-depth manner. They also are rarely bookended with introductions and conclusions. These generalized introductions and conclusions are what helps the viewer extrapolate from the specifics of the demonstration to the broader implications and potential application of the concepts related in the video.
  3. YouTube videos are not searchable: Because videos are not indexed, you can’t jump to the one section that includes that one piece of information you need. Instead you have to spend that extra time either viewing the entire video, or skip around until you find what you need.
  4. YouTube videos are not interactive: Although YouTube videos include a comment section, this is a poor substitution for a discussion forum which is monitored by product training experts. The interactive and collaborative aspect of learning is key to many students.

Want to learn more about “worst” practices for learning? Check out our new eBook “Avoid the Path to Failure: 4 Best Practices for Successful Analytics Training”.


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