YouTube and the Age of Learning


There is nonstop change taking place in the world of learning today, and this change is taking place on many fronts and in many ways. It has everything to do with the internet.

Home schooling is catching on as an alternative to the Enlightenment ideal of public education, substituting customized one-on-one attention and instruction for the mass approach of the former. As the computer revolution and the Internet have undone the industrial age and its corollary – mass advertising via media of television, radio, newspaper and film – it has now enabled the same revolution of individuation in the classroom – or rather by turning your average living room into same.

Online learning is another big-and-getting-bigger all the-time development. The Information Age, with its micro-management of time, leaves us with less and less time to get in our car, drive to campus, sit in one or more classrooms in the course of a day and then make the long, drive home.

The solution is the internet.

With the demand for new and more modern teaching  venues and platforms, YouTube had its work cut out for it. With many millions of tutorials on all subjects, this Google-owned website is not necessarily a threat to the traditional, human-directed classroom. By giving the actual human teacher a digital library that contains thousands and thousands of sources of of instructional material, it expands that teacher’s instructional repertoire to a degree that was unimaginable in the age of brick-and-mortar (libraries) only!

Digital publishing’s advantages over print

We are no longer limited, in our quest for information, on the channel of print. Millions of copies of an online journal can be transmitted via cable or via wireless transmission that will end up on millions of computer screens with much less muscle power and much greater control  than would be required for the delivery of those millions of editions in printed form.

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The uses and applications of television are widespread. It can be used as a serious source of instruction or as a broadcasting channel for mindless drivel. Until the invention and spread of the internet, numbers ruled.The prohibitively high cost of operating a television network in the pre-internet days ensured that competition was kept to a minimum.

Commercial television  was the “numbers game” of numbers games.“ Since advertising revenue, in what was by and large a pre-interactive era, was based on audience numbers, the quest for profits in the days of analog broadcasting often seemed to entail an appeal to the lowest common denominator when it came to programming content.

No more. Easy access to online tutorials on subjects as diverse as  how to stretch canvas for artist and the care and feeding of your pet iguana is taken as a given these days, and it may be that more than 90% of time spent viewing this online content (2016) is spent viewing videos, not text.

The Age of Learning is here, and the internet  is its driving force.

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