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Why we should watch hour long YouTube tutorials
Put your phone on Do Not Disturb
Recently, I’ve been on a lot of night shifts at the hospital. The hours are long but sometimes the nights aren’t as busy and lend themselves to me being able to work on side projects and things I want to learn. Most recently (for a while now) that has been getting back into coding.
I’ve written about this before but I’ve always had an inconsistent relationship with side projects. I get super interested in something and then do a bunch of tutorials or basic exercises and then seem to drop off. Part of this is that learning is hard and hype cycles are real. But the other part is that we live in a society filled with distraction. Not only is there distraction to work on the next shiny thing - be that a new coding language, interest in filmmaking and storytelling, or even focusing on writing consistently (whoops) - there is also a lot of distraction in how we go about learning new things to begin with.
So I’m back on nights at the hospital, and in the spirit of moving slower I’ve decided to attempt to go deeper into topics rather than jumping from one thing to the next. Going deeper means having more focus and more concentration and learning about the boring parts of something. It means understanding the foundations before doing all of the “cool” stuff.
Multi-hour tutorial videos probably don’t have great retention curves. I don’t know that for sure but I can take a wild guess. They aren’t fast paced and don’t keep users engaged the same way that quick cuts, fancy graphics, and in-your-face thumbnails do. But multi-hour tutorial videos is where the real learning happens. It’s how you take the first step into actually understanding something you’re interested in. Experts make multi-hour tutorial videos because they understand that learning the skill that they are teaching takes multiple hours!
So the next time you’re trying to learn something, like really trying to learn and understand it - look for a multi-hour YouTube tutorial. It’ll be hard to sit through and you’ll find yourself reaching for your phone to look at Twitter or switching to different tabs because the lecture is so slow. But if you put in the time and pay attention - if you understand that learning takes time - you’ll walk away with some real knowledge.
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