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How To Learn From Video Courses

Due to the amount of educational video content available, you need to learn how to learn from video effectively.

Nowadays there is a great abundance of information available to everyone. The internet has allowed people from all over the world to have access to a huge variety of resources on any subject.

As a result, education has changed radically in the past years. Various influencers claim that typical education is a thing of the past, and that self-education is the future. I personally consider this true, which is why I’ve created this blog to assist you on this journey.

To convey all this knowledge, many instructors choose video format. Not only is there an incredible amount of content on Youtube, but multiple successful companies offering video courses have emerged. Many deliver their own content, while a lot of others allow individuals to offer their own courses on their platform, like Udemy. We have come to a point that even university courses are offered online, through platforms like Coursera or edX.

Due to the amount of educational video content available, it is of paramount importance that you learn and understand how to optimally obtain and retain knowledge from video courses. That will both boost your capability to learn faster and greatly reduce the frustration of no progress despite consuming material.

Below I am sharing with you the key points you should keep in mind and put into effect to be able to learn from video courses.

Understand what the video is about

Before even starting watching the video, it is a good idea to know what the video is about. Usually, the title will give you a good sense on its own, but sometimes you may not know the terminology in the title. In that case, do a quick google search, just enough to understand what you are going to be learning more about. This can be really important in quickly identifying pre-existing mental models that will help you better comprehend the new knowledge.

Identify core sections

It is now time to start watching. Your main goal at this stage is to identify core concepts or parts of information and understand them. Actually learning those will come in the next stages. Watch a video with a notebook or a piece of paper nearby and note the different sections of the video. Not only will that be a reference for you later to quickly recall the information, but it will also help with connecting the knowledge together.

Pause, Rewind, Rewatch

The primary objective of this whole process is to be able to best self-educate. Why do we then often treat video lessons like actual lectures? The primary benefit of video content is that, if you don’t “get” something immediately, you can pause, rewind and rewatch. In an actual lecture, if you miss a couple sentences, the lecturer will have probably already moved on to another topic. By rewatching, you can ensure that you don’t actually miss on anything. That will also make the learning process more interesting, as not comprehending a subject can be very discouraging.

Execute at the end of the video/section

Most people just passively move to lecture after lecture and end up retaining none of the knowledge in the long term. After all, understanding is a different mental process than memorizing. In addition, even among those that engage with the material, most try to perform each step exactly after the instructor shows it. That can give the illusion of learning and is certainly better than watching passively, but eventually hinders the integrity of a section. It doesn’t allow you to correctly connect the information, as you are breaking the flow continuously by pausing the video and diverging your attention. The correct way is to go to the end of the video (or section if the video is too long), and then execute the whole process from the beginning. In case you don’t remember a particular step, that’s ok, just go to the video and rewatch the appropriate part.

This is the most important process in order to learn from video lectures effectively. It helps with the better understanding of the material, by allowing you to connect the info together appropriately. It also exercises recall, which is a fundamental process in memorizing new knowledge.

If the course is too advanced/ too difficult

In some cases, the course might be too difficult or too advanced for you. In that case, you should add another step after the video. Instead of immediately jumping to execution, watch the video a second time, this once executing in parallel with the instructor. Having created the connections from the first viewing, it is now ok to use the video as an instruction manual for the process. Then, like before, go ahead and execute without the help of the video, but still go back and rewatch a section if you don’t remember the process.

What if the content is strictly theoretical?

There will be some cases, where the content of the video will have no actual steps to execute and will be strictly theoretical. In that case, you may be wondering what to do instead of retracing the process.

At the end of the video, devote a couple minutes to 2 processes. First is simple recall. Just practice recalling the various bits of knowledge shared by the instructor, in order to boost retention. Then work your way in creating mental markers for the information, which will help with both future recalling and creating the appropriate mental models.

Don’t beat yourself up at this stage

It is quite common that people beat themselves up for not being able to recall everything after finishing a video lesson. That can demotivate you as a process and plainly beats the purpose. Do not forget that you are still in the learning stage, and the whole process described here is still part of learning. Allow yourself time to work with the material and get to deeply understand it.

Conclusion

Following this process, you will now be able to learn from video effectively and quickly. You will notice improved understanding of the new material, as well as better connection with previous knowledge. Finally, you will exercise recalling information, which is an important part of learning and memorizing.

Call to Action

While you utilize the advice above to learn from video, I’d love to hear from you about your achievements and/or your struggles. Leave a comment below or post on the Facebook group.

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