Watching YouTube isn’t learning

Eddie Dobson

by Dr Eddie Dobson

We so easily fall into the YouTube rabbit hole, intending to learn DAW skills, coding, or mastering, only to skim through endless videos, unlock that old software vs hardware Pandora’s box, then start daydreaming about kit… simply downloading and doodling until we’re sitting in the dark blinking at that red line and trying not to read the comments below. At this point you may as well be on Insta or TikTok because it’s become a shop window and your original ideas and interests have dissolved under the weight of everything else you didn’t know you were interested in or concerned about.


Do you really see yourself as a passive receptacle of knowledge, or are you ready to be centred in your learning? While YouTube does offer knowledge, insight and often entertainment, participation in an online seminar can literally fire up and grow your brain!

This is because learning happens when you’re, not just passively listening. Language is a psychological tool of higher mental development (Vygotsky) and talk is an incredibly powerful tool in developing your knowledge and understanding. The Chinese education system requires learners to receive and consume information (passively), while in Finland education is approached from a social psychology perspective; advocating learning through interaction, with emphasis on communication, community, play and collaboration. This approach places communication at the heart of learning in Finland through project-based learning.


At Music Hackspace, we believe that social interaction is key to learning. Our online courses are designed to foster learning within a community, maximising peer engagement through collaborative exercises that are delivered in breakout rooms for 5-7 people. This makes it possible for you to experience a virtuous cycle of learning (listening, asking questions, answering questions), and enter a dynamic experience where talk, ideas, suggestions and connections can lead to unanticipated insights, knowledge and some pretty unique experiences.


Workshop participants also build meaningful connections with each other, offering potential for collaboration, and further knowledge/resource sharing. All of this simply doesn’t happen through a-synchronous content broadcast delivery, such as YouTube videos or large scale University lecture broadcasts.


Allow yourself to step into a dynamic space where you can experience active learning, and make more efficient use of your valuable time than you ever could drifting through the lonely YouTube amphitheatre.