So, as the title says, what is the preferred format for tutorials? A YouTube video, or a text tutorial with images?
I ask this question because I am seeing some people struggle with YouTube tutorials. I think the YouTube tutorials sometimes move too fast for inexperienced users and lack the fine details needed. Text tutorials can be boring, as it’s text and requires one to read.
I like text tutorials, but can get through a video tutorial when I have to (pausing a lot). I think the issue with video tutorials is that you have to be really good at making them. With text tutorials you can fudge a bit and still get the information across to the end user. Some of the best video tutorials I have seen have been made by people who work in the video/film industry. They know how to put one together in a way that helps the knowledge get imbedded into my brain.
In general, I prefer text because it allows me to highlight and underline important thoughts from the author without having to type any of it out, take good notes and even print them out if need to. I can quote the author and share deep insight from him/her in an online post much more easily, or reference the author in my own writings. The file will also be small and take up less space on my HDD, compare that to some videos that can take up to 50MB+ and the info could easily be summarized in less than 1MB.
With text, I don’t have to use a headphone or disturb anyone if I happen to be studying late at night. Text allows me to go at my own pace, without any commercial distraction and unnecessary fillers or music. Text is raw knowledge. With video, it’s easy to extend and distract to make it longer while not saying anything useful or take longer to get to the point. This is why a lot of us watch video tutorials at 1.75x (or more) the speed. Whereas with text you’re forced to share your knowledge in a deep and concise manner, and your every word is weighted and paid attention to. People can also speed-read easily if it’s the subject they’re already familiar with. I speed read a lot of art books because there’s nothing new under the sun. This is not to say that there aren’t videos that are concise and to the point, or that there isn’t text tutorial that take longer to get to the point.
I’m not a professional writer, but I do enjoy writing and sharing my knowledge in written form because I’m one of those people that just don’t feel comfortable being in front of a camera or speaking into a microphone. I have read and watched a lot over the years and understand that there are pros and cons to both sides. Certain subjects are better suited for video such as rigging and animation for example. Sometimes things are better demonstrated (video) than explained (text), and vice-versa. With more people now on their devices, it’s easy to combine both whenever it’s appropriate. For example, you can write a PDF as the main source of tutorial, but then include a few videos to demonstrate things that would be very difficult to explain in texts.
At the end of the day, text or video are just mediums. We all have weaknesses and strengths and you need to know what those are, and pick a medium that is suited for you and your style of teaching. For example, with video tutorial, you can’t be out in the field enjoying the weather while working on your tutorial. You would have to be in your studio. Know yourself, the subject and those you’re producing the tutorial for. In the end, both text and video requires skill and preparation. Neither is easy to make, and I’m talking high quality stuff here.
If you’re knowledgeable and very articulate and expressive, people will sense that and be captivated by it regardless of whether it’s text or video.
Every response here makes some valid points and this has given me a lot to think about. Most of you mentioned speed reading and I’ve kind of did that with some posts here, because I was reading them on my cell while at work. I will be re-reading all the posts in this thread later.
I value your input, but I’m always open to more input…
…and i don’t talk about the usual 20 second explanation what blender is and the addition 35 seconds how to download and enable and addon…
…some blender tutorial does speak of parts of the GUI in a complete different way…
( worst example: "use this thing over here: while explaining something… there is a reason why humans invented the words left, right, top, bottom )
…as the blender docu say so… or keep splitting the window…
(which in fact is an area mostly the Editor Type → 3D View Port … but okay that’s too picky )
…instead of using any workspace tabs…
…and nnnoooooo music pppplleeeassse… i have my own to listen to…
And finally: I’m not a native english speaker… but i do understand some british accents like irish, scotish even some little french accent… also some american accents… like some southern or hillibilly or whatever (not meant offensive)
…but please… if i have to enable english subtitles (and turn of the sound) and even can’t understand the sentences in slow motion…
and if the narrator starts to somekind of stutter because (s)he doesn know what to say anymore…
…seams to be i was holding this “rant” back for a while… so thank you …i’m felling better now
yes… maybe something like a partly tutorial transcript may be additional explanatory for someone (but also extra work)… indeed i liked BlenderGuru for this…
When it’s about explaining a quick technique step by step , video make sure nothing is missed and it’s possible to see every button that’s been clicked.
But I also agree when people say that it depends mostly on the content, and the educator.
Some people make very structured video that are very easy to follow, and some others try stuff on the fly and make the video more confusing that anything by including mistakes or unnecessary details.
I used to prefer text because I read very fast and absorb written instruction better than auditory – in university I’d always rather have a handout plus textbooks than a lecture in front of hundreds of students. I am also not bored by text, and I actively like reading much better than listening to somebody drone on.
And that’s still true today for learning all sorts of things. But not for learning something like Blender which mostly happens visually for me. I got several Blender books but didn’t care for the tutorials in them and stopped doing those. I much prefer video tutorials. I still learn things like principles of topology from text with images though. Anything that’s in large part theory is better for me in text, anything that’s “doing stuff” is better in video.
However, not any video tutorial will do, and it takes some effort to sort the wheat from the chaff (and not all people learn well from the same videos either, so my wheat might not be tasty for those with a gluten allergy). I want my videos clear and concise, well organized, without rambling, without random, supposedly entertaining jokey effects to “spice it up”, and made by somebody who actually knows how to teach, not just how to show off how fast they are with Blender. That turns out to be a pretty tall order; many Blender videos (including some really famous ones) waste a lot of time without actually spending some of it on errors people might make and how to fix those – as I said, the instructor needs to know how to teach.
Ideally videos also have a text transcript available if the creator is conscious of how many people could actually use that (and not just people with disabilities).
My definitely-preferred format is a well-planned text tutorial with equally well-planned video inserts.
It is very tedious to have to “scrub through” a random-blah-blah-blah unplanned video in which the presenter just as likely might be talking about his latest girlfriend, looking for the “pertinent bits.”
Another good strategy for effective presentation (IMHO …) is to present the video accompanied by a detailed outline and a summary. With very specific (MM:SS) pointers to the accompanying video.
I can learn better when I see how it’s done.
This has probably to do with the fact that I response better to visual stimuli and I have a better memory of visual processes.
I also have ADHD which kinda fucks with my short-term memory, dealing with tons of compressed information in a short text takes more mental power and concentration.
Also, everything sundialsvc4 mentioned, I agree 100% with.