Social media like YouTube has been central in disseminating informative content, and that includes additional learning for students. YouTube channels for engineers are out there, ready to be discovered.
But is it helpful? The short answer is very, but only if there’s a mindful approach to using social media that doesn’t stray from academic pursuits.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 Engineering-minded channels that offer entertainment, but with an educational appeal.
Then we look at how traditional education has changed, and why channels like these are increasingly important for students to learn. Is YouTube learning for engineers a myth or a reality?
It’s important to again mention that most YouTube videos can’t be used as sources when it comes to academic writing, but they can be extremely helpful to engage with Engineering topics in a simple way, that is visual.
This channel, with over 1 million subscribers might have fallen into a stretch of inactivity during the last few years, but the older content is still extremely valuable.
Presented by Bill, a University Professor the video is a short introduction to engineering topics that stretches from sustainability to fiberoptics. With sprinklings of experiments and some readings, it’s a terrific channel to explore for fun, or for learning.
From exploring math problems to explaining how electricity works, Veritasium is an engineering entertainment channel that is also a bit skewed toward providing entertainment for non-engineers (there are even some true crime videos) – but is always engineering centred. As a result, it’s no wonder the channel has amassed 12,7 million subscribers since 2010.
With well over 5 million subscribers, minutephysics explains physics in the real world, and that includes many of the problems engineers will see in their work. Simple explanations are the key to the channel’s success and it’s a terrific additional tool to just gain a better understanding of some problems in physics.
What started as an Australian baking channel has become one of the champion channels in debunking Content Farm videos on the Internet. Presenter Ann Reardon might be a trained cook – but she uses her platform often to show people the dark side of algorithms on social media. While her videos give caution to the bizarre behaviours on the internet – she also breaks down chemical reactions or how kitchen equipment work. For engineers, there’s plenty to snigger at, especially when it comes to the videos that are being debunked, but also important reminders to be careful what videos you watch – and what information you take in. At the end of the day, it’s also a bit of a more lighthearted channel that will also make you very, very hungry on many occasions.
Although more of a general entertainment channel, for its 10,5 million subscribers the channel offers information on ways the world works. For engineers, there’s much to explore – from why buildings stay up, math problems, and even straight engineering topics.
With under 200,000 subscribers, Engineer4Free is an extremely valuable YouTube resource for engineers that give in-depth tuition on topics such as structural analytics, mechanics of materials, project management and engineering management. Of course, there are many more topics explored, and the over 500 free videos have terrific explanations engineers and students will find valuable and accurate. It’s an incredible resource.
EIT’s Webinars are recorded and shared on YouTube – and the information on these is terrific since leaders in the field explore topics, and participants are always able to ask questions after the webinars. If you missed one of the previous Webinars make sure to go to YouTube. To see our upcoming webinars click here.
Renowned as one of the leading online resources in STEM, MIT OpenCourseWare offers lectures, information, talks and discussions. While much of the content isn’t watered down for the everyday viewer – it is still accessible and engineers that are having trouble with certain topics or ideas might use it to wrap their head around a number of academic works they might be reviewing. The YouTube channel is one of the premium (and free) resources for anyone working or studying within the field of science.
Approaching 6 million subscribers Lesics is an information channel that challenges what engineers can do with limited resources or endless resources. It also explores new sciences, the reason for engineering design and does offer a variety of visual information engineers can use that is subject-specific.
With a decidedly more fun approach to engineering, The Civil Engineer does fun, virtual experiments often that uses the laws of physics to test outrageous situations. From mega structures to surviving Zombies, the channel aims to challenge what Civil Engineers can do in the world. But it’s not just fun – there’s an astuteness toward the sciences and offers learning in a fun and informative way.
According to the paper Mobile Learning for Engineering Education Reform a leading problem with education is that traditional teaching methods for engineers don’t follow a style that suits all students.
Mobile learning has become valuable in this regard, and social media websites like YouTube can be utilized in effective ways.
Sites like YouTube are deemed mostly visual, have elements of sensing and are active or reactive. Teaching methods are usually verbal and teacher-centred, where students are passive in the learning process.
Research indicates that a new generation of engineering students have adopted platforms like YouTube to gain a better understanding of certain topics, or to visually explain certain areas of studies. This is then married to academic work.
One problem with this is the fact that in most instances, the creators behind these videos can’t be used as citations or references for assignments – but the videos themselves become important to understand topics allowing students to find their own citations or references, further strengthening their knowledge of the work.
The reason students use social media or online resources is that it’s often non-linear, less textual, less structured, multimodal, visual, and uses dynamic representations of work encountered by students.
When accessing these mediums students are less distracted and don’t experience as much cognitive overload.
The paper Tips for Using YouTube in Medical Education explains some valuable bullet points that can be used by Engineering students as well since the goal is to gain STEM-based education to complete a science degree.
The paper states that videos play a role in supporting classroom-based teaching and can assist self-directed learning, help with work revision, and offers continuous education.
The paper notes that the importance of this lies in the fact that platforms like YouTube allow students to engage with work in an educationally relevant context and that it can change the way students learn and communicate.
Videos can even go as far as assisting second-language students to gain knowledge on certain terms and how to communicate them effectively with first-language peers.
En strengthens knowledge of using the correct terms and can even assist second-language speakers to correctly pronounce works and know their academic work verbally in their second language.
Web 2.0 applications, like social media, offer a visual of a multitude of online applications to educators – and these enable schools, teachers and companies to stimulate active learning and problem-solving in an increasingly fast-paced and complex world.
From sharing facts on Twitter, to releasing video-based content even Universities are utilizing Web.2.0 to engage with education.
Video and videocasting are two words illustrated in the Web 2.0 map and YouTube is becoming a widely used application in education.
It has also been strengthened during Covid-19 since education spaces had to start uploading lectures or information more often. It has been terrific for students to revisit work, or relearn acquired knowledge.
Tips for Using YouTube in Medical Education. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265231045_Tips_for_Using_YouTube_in_Medical_Education [accessed Aug 22 2022].
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