Study history and math with YouTube videos? It’s not that weird…

Kids between the ages of 11 and 19 spend an average of more than an hour a day consuming content on this platform, on which not everything is entertainment

Jon Ander Goitia

Does the trunk that YouTube seems to have become really have a bottom? The answer seems pretty obvious. This digital platform is now more than just a channel to share entertainment videos. There is more to check the use that is given daily, and in some (many) cases almost every hour. Let’s analyze this particular carbon footprint. Take out your mobile device and check your history on this website in the last month, to set a frame. The result reveals a variety of searches as wide as the offer offered by this small 3.0 world. In it we find everything we set out to do. From musical content, to the much-needed video tutorials to repair broken technology or clothing. Without forgetting, of course, the star ingredient, the kitchen.

This window is opened more and more often to resolve any setback, as if it were the digital version of Petete’s Big Book. And the palm is taken above all by young people. According to Barlovento Comunicación, kids between the ages of 28 and 24 spend more than an hour a day viewing content on the screen. And despite the fact that it may seem that they do it without any specific purpose, the truth is that they are the group that best knows how to squeeze the content of this digital tool. For them the range is much wider, so much so that it comes as a surprise. On the other side they find the great ally with which to overthrow the enemy and manage to overcome the mission that choked so much in the video game. A wide variety of entertainment content. Or even the substitute for books. Because yes, some receive their reinforcement classes through YouTube, that teacher open to everyone who needs it.

These are the three main conclusions that can be drawn from the study led by Carlos A. Scolari, professor in the Department of Communication at UPF (Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona) and researcher in the MEDIUM Research Group, which has analyzed the use that is given to This platform is for kids between 11 and 19 years old. The work, entitled ‘Learning with YouTube: Beyond formal and informal through new actors, strategies and affordances’; that is to say, ‘Studying with Youtube: Beyond the formal and informal through new actors, strategies and possibilities’, has had the participation of Fernanda Pires, from the UAB, José M. Tomasena, linked to the UB and the UPF, and Maria José Masanet, from the UB, and has been published in the journal Convergence.

the virtual teacher

What his research tells us is that in some cases pressing play is synonymous with expanding the school curriculum. This is testified by one of the students who volunteered to share the use she makes of the platform. “I learn more math on YouTube than I do in school, because you can replay the video as many times as you want,” she says. An option with which to lighten the backpack they carry every morning. And not precisely behind their backs, but rather the slab that some achieve good grades in school performance supposes. In other cases, for example, the content rewinds in time to project parts of the story in an animated way. Physics, chemistry or languages ​​are some of the other examples of this digital whiteboard.

And the truth is that Youtube does not stop updating. Well, rather it is its own users who constantly water it with these new trends that society itself demands. If what people consume is video games, then they are going to be offered all kinds of videos in which to help them overcome all the missions. Zack, one of the study participants, explains that “I search YouTube for the specific problem I’m having in the game and click on the one that comes up first.” Minecraft, Fortnite, LOL, Call of Duty… all of them find a place where they can strengthen their quarry on the small screen.


And the fan is completed by leisure. The study states that users come to this platform to learn about crafts, entertain themselves or play instruments; those melodic teachers who simplify the initiation in the guitar or drums, according to what many precisely claim, simplicity and the rhythm that each one requires. Also to perfect that chef that we all have inside, without stars but proud with each dish. The truth is that in this case it is content that everyone, regardless of age, can consume. But here too, young people are experts when it comes to finding the key to find the formula for success.

And why do they opt for YouTube? The causes that have led it to be the reference platform are diverse, but they are based on the ease of users to imitate and learn through repetition. In addition, it also helps that it is a free platform and that any user can upload content of all kinds. There is a learning trend among the new generations, where free, instructive platforms filled with diverse content are essential in the learning process.

Finally, during the investigation it was also observed that gender roles and stereotypes persist in the habits of use, consumption and production of media content by adolescents. The study confirmed the existence of a sphere of male use and another of female use of the media. Regarding learning through YouTube, it was found that some areas and learning environments are predominantly male and others female. For example, the video game area is a masculinized space in which the presence of girls is exceptional. The opposite occurs with the field of beauty or videos about books, where the presence of girls is practically hegemonic, with some exceptions in sports and music.