Youtube – study resource or source of distraction?
If you were to look at my tabs when I’m supposedly studying, you’ll likely see the following: Moodle, LawTrove textbooks, a Google search asking some very dumb question about EU law, and YouTube. Why YouTube? Am I distracting myself? Listening to lo-fi study music? Nope, I’m studying.
Have you ever found yourself starting a new topic, either with some lectures or a reading, and realising you have absolutely no idea what’s going on? Yeah, same. Sometimes, topics are just not immediately accessible. They can be very technical and sometimes start at a point which assumes you have some prior knowledge, which you most likely don’t. In this scenario, you have a few options:
(a) try to power through – keep reading / watching the lecture and hope that you get that ‘oh!’ moment when it all clicks and makes sense
(b) spam the group chat – ‘please can someone explain this case to me’ is a very common phrase
(c) cry – just give up, cry, eat some snacks, and say you’ll do it at the weekend
(d) look elsewhere – step away from the content and find another resource to gain a basic understanding before you start studying
I really want to say I opt for (a) or (d) most often, but thats a lie. However, when I am feeling like I need to get a good grip on a topic, I often find myself looking outside of the provided resources to get that initial understanding. This is why I attend the University of YouTube. No, but seriously, I find it so so useful to go and find a short video on a topic that I’m struggling with. Who knew that people actually make really informative, and usually quite engaging, videos on like every topic you may wish to learn about?
Here’s some examples of videos I have watched recently that have helped me grasp a topic before even opening up the textbook:
Here’s some pros and cons I have found for using YouTube videos to study!
- they are designed to be understood by anyone – they break down complex terms & they don’t assume any prior knowledge
- they don’t go too into too much detail – they give you a basic understanding of a topic without boring you with all the specifics (don’t worry, the textbook will do that)
- they often come in series – usually, these videos are made by lecturers, academic institutions, companies offering services, etc. As a result, they often come as a series, so you might find one Contract Law topic and then go to that channel and find videos on every Contract Law topic you need!
- they are engaging – they use animations and images as a combination of visual and auditory methods to help you really grasp the concept
- they are short – most of these videos are 5-10 minutes long & you can easily watch them in bed or whilst you’re eating!
- they are non-specific to your course – they are very generic and sometimes can give you information that your course doesn’t require you to know
- they are sometimes not specific to your jurisdiction – the most popular videos that come up may be from another jurisdiction, like the US – you can either search more specially for videos on English law, or just take the video with a grain of salt & ignore the cases given
- they may be a little bit ‘cringe’ – some the the animations can be a bit childish, but again this is because they are not designed specifically for law students, but instead anyone at all who may want to understand a random topic
I really recommend using YouTube as a study resource. I know that’s not the primary purpose of the website, but there are millions of videos out there just waiting for you to access them. Next time you’re stuck on a topic, just type the name of the topic into Youtube and see if someone can explain it in a slightly different way – sometimes that’s all you need! Then you can go back to the lectures and readings with a basic grasp and then fill in the gaps and go into more specific details.