I hate video tutorials

Sponge Bob like video for angularjs

Please stop making video tutorials about coding subjects. Stop it or you'll go blind - no seriously. I cannot stand video tutorials. When I do a search for information on learning a new technique I dread that awful feeling when arriving at the page only to see that big rectangle with the right pointing arrow/triangle. I feel cheated.

Everything I've learnt in my professional life has been through the written word. Yep - I know. What about school/uni/college/professional courses. Sure, these learning institutions all have a classroom or lecture component. Aren't these just like video tutorials? NO THEY'RE NOT. Classroom learning and even lectures are almost always complementary or supplemental to text based learning. They are two way learning environments. The teacher can respond to questions from the class about issues or problems raised by the text.

Now I'm well aware that different people learn in different ways. Some people are more visual learners and others more text based (me). That doesn't mean you can't accommodate the variety of learning styles alongside the more traditional text based style. And in all honesty, despite coding nearly always being a text based endeavour, it does need not only some visual explanation (ie code examples) but some 'hands-on doing'.

After spending some time on the Angular.js codeschool tutorial website I was almost in a state of tears. After sitting through what seemed like an eternity of Sponge Bob like cartoon figures singing about controllers and views, I then had to endure some guy pointing to a picture of TEXT listing the things I needed to know: like HTML and JavaScript. Why didn't they just have that same text before the video? They're not even saving themselves the time taken to type out the text and then publish it! At this stage I bailed.

I always avoid video tutorials for these reasons:

  1. They bore me and I often lose concentration and my mind wanders.
  2. You can't really skip over sections or scan ahead to get to what you are looking for or to even check if this is actually what you want.
  3. I can read faster than a video can talk (even if it is Sponge Bob talking).
  4. I can't refer back to a section in the text if I feel I haven't quite got the point right later on.
  5. I don't have to risk any accent issues (I've been told by Americans that they have to really concentrate to understand my accent!). But also - we have to think of non-native English speakers who may be able to read English quite well but not be as fast listening to the various English accents.
  6. I don't have to worry about the quality of the sound (I find this a problem quite often - probably my sound setup).

So why do coding organisations use video tutorials

  1. Hey - its the youtube/twitter/facebook generation. Videos get better hits when reposted on twitter or facebook.
  2. People love to see their heads on TV.
  3. It's easier than writing. Although most coding videos seem to be someone pointing at something they have written.

None of these are actually anything to do with what is supposed to be the purpose of a "tutorial".

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