The Rise of Online Video Tutorials

Need to make a quilt, but need some guidance? Youtube can help. Interested in learning the secrets to performing on stage from someone who has been there? is your answer. Wish you could learn how to better prepare for acting auditions? Check out Want to learn how to set up a video shoot? Visit

Video tutorials are on the rise with competitors targeting both corporate and academic sectors. Essentially, these are courses you watch. Leveraging the popularity and convenience of learning anytime and anywhere, why wouldn’t you consider purchasing a subscription for you or your staff to view video tutorials on your topics of choice? The beauty of video tutorials is that they are available when and where you need them, and yes, right at your fingertips.

There are certainly benefits to learning via video. Some of the obvious ones include the ability to easily replay them, their on-demand access, the opportunity to pause when needed, and the luxury to complete them at one’s own pace. The challenge may be ensuring learners’ real-world application of concepts and principles as close to the time of learning as possible. Additionally, the ability to talk and write about what one has learned is essential for transferring new mental models from working memory to long-term memory. However, these activities are not always included with online video tutorials.

Each provider of video tutorials offers their own niche for potential buyers of lifelong learning. For example,, offers brief previews for free so you can get a taste of their offerings as diverse as media negotiation to body language for public speaking. offers video tutorials on a variety of subjects as well, also providing handouts and outlines and the opportunity to take notes online. affords the opportunity to interface and learn from celebrities the likes of Serena Williams or James Patterson to teach you tennis or how to be a novelist respectively. For educators and students, offers videos for K12 and Higher Ed faculty, staff, and students, including how to use popular software for teaching and learning.

In today’s digital age, learning from video tutorials is clearly exploding. Video’s accessibility, the ability to chunk visual content, and self-directed replay and review all combine together to make them, well, . . . absolutely irresistible. Let’s do our part to ensure that they are the best video instruction possible so we can set the standard for quality instruction via video.

What say you?

Video Snippets: Our Preferred Teacher?

Volleyball Serve_crop

We have a child who recently joined the school’s volleyball team to have some fun, try it out, and hopefully, learn some competitive strategy along the way. What was most interesting to me, however, is the method and medium through which the coaches chose to aid and elevate the skill level of overhand serving in their players.

They sent a YouTube link.

All volleyball team mates received an email from their coaches, along with a link to a specific YouTube video which demonstrated the steps to a successful overhand serve. The video modelled a coach’s skill whose cumulative expertise had won her “Coach of the Year,” not once, but seven times. Now, that’s expertise available at your fingertips.

When you watch the video you can see why she has been such a successful coach and why her teams do well. She breaks down the overhand serve into its component parts, each building on the last. These skill sub-sets are then explained, modelled and practiced by the kids as they work their way toward mastery of the overhand serve. Players also receive encouraging or corrective feedback from their coach, and then incorporate what they learn into the next sequence.

More and more, we see user-generated content being produced by those with mobile devices. Not only is video providing us with a way to capitalize on and leverage the global expertise of others, but also offers advantages in re-playability. Because videos can be paused and then watched again, they are extremely helpful for teaching short tasks or skills because with visual repetition, they can be made accessible to anyone anywhere–provided, of course, there is Internet access.

Many of us would admit that if we want to learn how to do something like “remove wet road white paint off our car,” we’ve probably searched YouTube first. I, too, must admit that when I needed a reminder on how to cook raw beets, I did not reach for the cook book. I didn’t even call my mom. Instead . . . you guessed it, I watched a YouTube video. These short, step-by-step instructional videos help in moments of need and can sometimes clarify instruction in less time.

What implications do micro-videos have for us?

We need to ensure that our videos are what our viewers need and want, and let the viewers’ needs drive design. Videos should be short, clear, fun, memorable, and get the job done. So the next time you need to do something with raw beets, improve your overhand volleyball serve, or perform a specific task, selecting the right Vimeo or YouTube video . . . might just be all you need.

What say you?