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Which Way Would You Rather Learn Survey Results

video v. text learning preferencesA week or so I posted a two-question survey that asked you which way you’d rather learn, by video or by written instructions.

Maybe it’s not surprising since folks here are writers, but 72.3 percent said they prefer instructions that are written; 29.8 percent said they’d rather learn through video instructions.

Those in favor of written instructions explained in these ways:

I hate video– would rather have things in black and white. I am also the one oddball person that does not learn well by listening to lectures– I have to actually do it myself.

Because I learn better when I read than when I hear something. I actually learn best kinetically (physically using my body in some way, including taking notes). But video and audio do nothing for me. Also, written instructions save me time. A video I have to make sure I have X amount of time to watch it. I read so quickly that it’s easy for me to learn what I need in writing. Plus if I’m interrupted, I can just return to where I left off much later, without worrying about remembering the time stamp on the video, waiting for it to reload, etc.

…videos are usually too fast and I have to keep stopping/rewinding them.

Not sure why, but I retain things better when I see the written word. Perhaps because it’s in my own voice that way.

t may have to do with the fact I’m deaf … Written instructions can also come with image to support explanation. Watching video and reading captions can make it easy to miss something.

I’m a visual learner from monochromatic typed words. I learn worst from audio, and I don’t process it well. Video’s difficult for me to process due to the audio + color.

I can go back and read carefully if I did not read carefully at first.

I am going to have to write it down anyway if I watch a video. So eliminate a step.

I’m not patient enough to sit through a video.

I like to be able to review instructions on print. By either print or video, I learn best by taking notes.

I can flip through the material faster, then do a step, while I scan the instructions as I’m doing the task. Video is too much like trying to drive down the freeway and see the sights at the same time.

It sinks in better when I can read instructions.

I get tired of the “Hey I’m going to tell you something great and this is why you need to know this” for 30 minutes, 5 minutes of content, and then 20 minutes of “here’s my next product.” I can’t skim through a video, so it wastes my time. Written directions can be reread several times until they are clear.

The folks who like video best said things like this:

My style of learning best is actually “Hands On”, and video is as close to that as I can get on the internet.

If it is something I never did before, I need to see it in action.

It’s easier to visualize and see the execution.

I’m a visual learner.

I lose interest with video. Unless it’s a movie or a TV series, I don’t want to see some person talk for long minutes. Screencasts are okay though.

If it’s some kind f physical task or something where you are being taught a creative tool, seeing it allows me to better grasp the idea.

I need to see, then feel, what I’m doing. I can understand written instructions, but the information doesn’t always find its way from my brain to my fingers.

And some use both (which I didn’t allow for in the questions):

Written instructions allows me to highlight important components to refer to later. On the other hand, video works best if I need visual instructions on how install a plugin at my WordPress site.

Rather? I know these are good choices. I know they are EXCELLENT choices! I want a third choice because some people, albeit goofy, silly or deviant, can’t read instructions or won’t. They don’t have the patience to watch a video either. Perhaps it is a kind of narcissism? Yet to be answered. Am I the only one who wants to leap into it and then worry about the “rules” later? As I compile my manuscript I realize what an idiotic way this is, but I’m there now. “Where did I put my stuff…hum. Back at you later. ” Thanks for listening.

I need both methods to really learn something.

There were more responses, but I think I captured the sense of most of them. I wish I’d added an age question… my hunch is that younger folks like learning by video more than us boomer types. But I didn’t think of it.

Me? Drives me mad when I’m forced to learn via video. It’s impossible to review or go back with any efficiency. I’ll take even poorly written instructions over even a great video.

Write well and often,


A writing coach might make your writing life easier and more lucrative.

Anne Wayman Writing Coach



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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Depends… on the kind of instructions.
    If it’s something technical, ‘hands-on’ as someone put it, I definitely prefer video.

    On the other hand, my cognitive style is mixed — even when I see videos, I usually take down notes, both of what is said and of what is shown (and not said). Or, when I read instructions, I sometimes catch myself ‘reeancting’ the movements I’ve got to perform.
    WritersWritingWords (Eleni) recently posted..Synchronicity and a Blogging AwardMy Profile

    • Yeah, I take notes from videos which drives me mad… they could also post the script… sigh.

  • Thanks for sharing this
    – eye opening – info Anne,

    I do think that (also having worked as a Photo Editor once) I do think that I process both audio- and video info pretty well. I do think that with my Cognition, for me
    – Writing – just seems to be as a little harder to digest ‘sub-devision’
    from the Visual Aspect.

    Although, when motivated, I can also process written text pretty fast,
    to make the visually not that interesting ‘Grey Stuff’ a little more easy accessable
    for me, putting it into a – Mind Map – can make it accessible almost instantly.

    (Btw. I think you would really love ‘Mashup Video Clips’
    on MTV where both Audio- and Video from various
    Music Video’s are Mixed together :))
    HP van Duuren recently posted..What Do You Think About My Book Review?My Profile

  • Emily Woodhouse

    Agreed. Though video is a good tool too but writing is more influential. Writing instruction gives you the insight which is not possible by any other methods.
    Emily Woodhouse recently posted..vps 2My Profile

    • Writing can give insights, although instructional writing often doesn’t need to… just steps.

  • I agree with the person who mentioned reading faster than a video or audio can give the same amount of information. I can usually read and digest a transcript in about a quarter of the total time of the video.
    Brian recently posted..5 Things I Learned From The BlogathonMy Profile

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