It would be interesting to see some sort of summary (text?) that would help a viewer determine what subjects are being covered in different portions of the video without having to watch the whole thing. Or perhaps even markers that indicate shifts in topic, etc.
Also, a fast reader can absorb information at a considerably higher rate than what you get from normal speech.
There have been experiments that indicate that it's possible to understand speech at significantly higher than normal rates (i.e., you can speed up the video and still get just about the same information from it). The "chipmunk" effect is a little distracting, but you get used to it.
One issue I see with books/articles is typos. Not many technical book writers are diligent about typos and outright mistakes and coming up with updates for a book is perhaps hard. I become especially infuriated and it stalls my progress when a particular concept/paragraph written in the book is either wrong or I am confused about it and the author is not immediately reachable for clarification. Same might be true with videos, but many videos are live talks and such mistakes are rarer in those settings.
This is why my book is hooked up directly to GitHub. You can ask questions and get clarification with two clicks.
It's not even close and it's always been this way.
In school, I really had trouble following lectures. Taking notes helped. It was hard to focus reading at night. Writing in the book helped. For homework, whenever I wrote or solved problems, I retained it forever (it seems).
At work, I rarely understand what someone's talking about when explaining or demonstrating something new to me. So I invariably say, "Stop! Tell me what to do and I'll do it." If they go too fast, I tell them to slow down. This has been the single most important thing I've done with learning in business, for myself and with others. I never teach by lecturing or writing (except here one the internet, of course); I always make the student do it while I tell them what to do. This is the only real way I've ever been able to assure myself that they'll remember.
Just this morning, I had trouble with the credit card swiper at the store register and asked for help. The attendant jumped in and starting hitting buttons. As usual, I yelled, "Stop! Tell me what to do and I'll do it. How else will I learn?"
As the old Chinese proverb said:
Tell me, I’ll forget
Show me, I’ll remember
Involve me, I’ll understand
I absorb information fine by reading but I get too bored to keep focused. Usually I already know what I want to build so I like to just be shown a reference documentation, example usage welcome. I can't do books on programming languages/webapps/technologies because it's such a slog through dense material, usually with a boring example project, and at the end of hundreds of pages you only end up knowing enough to "get started".
Videos are usually better for "big picture stuff" for me. Broad views on the architecture of a service, advice, or the story of why things are the way they are. I hate having to go through long tutorial videos and screencasts.
There is no alternative, at least with my wetware.
Your anecdote regarding the credit card swiper is also interesting in a different way because it goes to show how our day-to-day procedures are often still designed in a bad way. IMHO a very distinct indicator for stuff to think over again and to find better solutions for.
"Watch one, Do one, Teach one"
(for doctors learning new procedures - teaching something to others really makes you learn it)
I find the spoken word helps me with engagement, so listening to someone talk through something helped me to maintain focus.
In this case the Coursera course website allowed me to do listen to the whole lecture course at 1.5x speed - as part of the screen shows the work area with the code/slides at all times it was also easy to skip on once I'd grasped the point being made or when all I was doing was scanning over a new syntax and I felt I didn't need to listen (at higher speeds the software didn't make the audio clear enough). Similarly I could easily scan the video if I wanted to review something. The lectures followed a book, but I never used the book - in part because it was online rather than a proper book and bizarrely I don't really like reading long texts on a screen.
Before this I've only ever done formalised education using books. Though I've learnt to throw pots (on a pottery wheel) largely from watching YouTube videos.
My intent here is not to disagree but to add some complexion.
Something like that I could see making sense. Still pictures might not give you as good an idea of what's going on as continuous video.
This guy is showing how to write a game from scratch, by recording his screen and face for 2 hours per day. https://www.youtube.com/user/handmadeheroarchive
It would be very hard to to learn that amount of tricks and details from a text.
On the other hand, there are times where I just need some reference material to figure something out. That's when I need text. Videos-as-reference-material are generally terrible; they're slow and hard to seek and scan through. The only time a video is worth the compromise is when the content can't be explained any other way.
* Directed learning by reading.
* Undirected learning by videos.
That is, if I know what I want to learn then I can usually go straight to it in books. If I just have a general fuzzy idea then videos tend to offer a higher level view that can help me to clarify my understanding.
I think videos are a poor medium for highly detailed learning. If you're looking for specific information then a book is much more easier to skim than a video is, it's not a good prospect to spend time watching a video to discovered that only 1% of the content was novel and relevant.
- Learn by reading how to do it (books, articles, etc)
- Learn by being told how to do it (audio lessons, in-person teacher, etc)
- Learn by seeing someone do it (video, demonstration, etc)
- Learn by doing it yourself (tutor, coach, instructor, etc)
Neither of those modes is superior to the others. Some people find one mode works best for them. Others find another works best for them. Everyone has a preference. Everyone is capable of learning in any of these modes, but is better at one or two of them.
So, I would suggest to all those whose comment summarises as "I think learning works best by doing A, not B, C or D" to consider that as the original question implies, this is a preference, not a universality! Everyone's different.
That being said, I play tut videos on fast speed in the background, I've learned a lot this way. Type 5: Osmosis.
Realistically, everyone probably benefits from multiple factors. There's understanding to test, to do, and to discuss. They are often learned at different times.
I use a service - http://www.narro.co, I built it - to extract text from any web page and listen to it via podcast. It's great for listening/reading to articles and blogs while doing other things.
On the other hand, integrating highly interactive visualizations is, in my opinion, a key aspect of learning, and that's where video should be used most. Developing intuition behind equations/code is what triggers connections and understanding.
UI/Tools: video, especially when several tools are being used together in a somewhat complex workflow.
Nonetheless, I've learned a lot of interesting concepts from video lectures like "Software as a Service" by Armando Fox and David Patterson, and "Functional Programming Principles in Scala" by Martin Odersky. But when I need to apply those concepts I will look for written matterial, like "Engineering Software as a Service: An Agile Approach Using Cloud Computing" by Fox and Patterson (covering the subject matter of their video lectures), or "The Neophyte's Guide to Scala" by Daniel Westheide, explaining particular topics about how to write idiomatic code in Scala.
Worse yet, if you learn a concept from a book or video and don't effectively apply it correctly, there's a danger you can have the wrong idea about a thing.
While the idea that different people may be more or less effective with different learning styles seems reasonable, I don't think you want to focus too much one method.
As an earlier poster said different modalities have different strengths.
But beyond that I think there's a synergistic effect when you combine modalities. There's insight you get by comparing what you learned via different techniques that you can't achieve by using one method alone.
Videos take longer, and I have to following their flow and pacing instead of my own. Also, there are very low standards of quality for videos these days, especially in the tech world, where it is now OK for someone with poor speaking abilities and presence to be on-screen. Clearly, most people are not bothered by this, but it bugs me. To each their own.
I will use video if reading just isn't getting the point across to me. But I will look for specific points in a video to see a specific visual example.
I almost regress in knowledge by watching videos.
And whenever read are not enough or i'm not fully understand i watch some video from Khan Academy. For example, when i learning about Laplace Transformation i watch some video from Khan Academy
Where video can shine is when it comes to explaining concepts or using analogies to clarify things, much as a lecturer would. Watching someone code is coma-inducing to me.
Just did this recently with the new async/await keywords in c#. I just wasn't getting it, but a few videos did the trick.
^ that's the kind of thing I'd whip out the plastic for any day of the week
Probably because most videos I happen to watch are either bad quality (both in content & literally), too slow or too fast. But then again, some things I understand better when seeing them.
But of the two given options, it's reading, because it's much easier to reread an important bit than to go back in a video.
Video's are way to slow for me, when a book has an easy chapter (eg. on a topic i already know things from). You can just skip it
same with computer stuff, although then there's a lot of looking at examples as well
Reading for looking for something specific.
I'll get started in a few minutes but how many of you liked your lunch today?
Yeah ... yeah...
Did any of you see that movie last night? I think it relates to this. What was it called?
Now, if you're all ready. I'll get started. You can all read this right?
What I'd like to write about today is my preference for reading about something compared to watching a video.