Is Youtube A Valid Educational Tool?
Millions of users online go to YouTube not only as a source of entertainment and information, but also as a source of education. Given the fact that anyone can create an educational channel and garner enough subscribers and likes, especially if using booster services like YoutubeStorm, it is noteworthy that not all educational content on YouTube is accurate.
Why Do People Visit YouTube For Educational Content?
Ever since television and video recording were invented, people realized that visual media is an excellent educational tool. Many students learn better when using visual media, when compared to printed media and other forms. Additionally, the way YouTube is designed, people can watch as many videos as they like, and learn at their own pace. If at any point they find that the content is too complex, they can pause the video and look for clarification online. They can also choose between different channels to see which is the most suitable for their purposes. In short, educational content on YouTube is versatile and easy to use, with a variety of options to choose from.
Image Source: Pixabay
The Problem With Educational Content On YouTube
Unlike content on printed media, or other forms of distribution, there is no restriction who can post what. In a traditional academic environment, research papers are peer-reviewed, and information is backed up by the relevant community of experts. On YouTube, anyone can post a video claiming to be an expert on a topic, without ever having studied it formally. This has serious ramifications because it can easily lead to misinformation.
Do not be fooled into thinking that channels with a large audience are necessarily good sources of educational content. Audience size and user engagement is merely a measure of entertainment value of a video, or rather a measure of its popularity. It does not indicate that the content is relevant or even correct. For example, there are many videos online dedicated to “scientifically proving” that the Earth is flat. These videos have a high level of user engagement, especially as the content is controversial. The engagement and controversy are just that – hype. This does not mean that the Earth is certainly flat, but spherical (as it was proven by actual science).
How To Judge An Expert On YouTube
Before you put off education on YouTube, it is worth mentioning that there are ways to access high-quality, relevant educational content on YouTube. The best practice is to start by visiting a well-known channel from people you already know are experts. For example, Neil deGrasse Tyson is a well known astrophysicist. Visiting his channel is bound to give you trusted educational content. You may also want to try finding the content that your chosen experts follow. In the above example, this would be channels about astrophysics that Neil deGrasse Tyson endorses. This can reassure you that there will be high-quality content on the second channel.
YouTube is an excellent education tool, when used right. Users should be careful not to trust any self-proclaimed experts online, and avoid depending on channels that might be misinformation.