Tuesday, October 24, 2017

"Never memorize something that you can look up" #Einstein #InstantLearning

Should've gone to YouTube!
I wonder can you learn how to do anything you want on YouTube? Yesterday I went about fixing my broken car key fob. I had to buy a replacement shell, get a new key cut, and take the transponder and circuit board out of the old key and insert into the new key fob. Easy?

Getting the new replacement shell and key cut was the easy part - thanks to the extremely helpful people in Central Key and Hardware Ltd on Parnell Square East. The guy there opened up both key fobs and showed me the insides and gave me advice on what to do. It looked very easy.

Not so!

First - my car is a Hyundai, the new fob shell was from a Kia. While almost identical, they were not exactly the same. The Kia version had a screw under the badge. While trying to cut out the Hyundai badge I found out that my Swiss Army knife is very sharp and can easily stab my thumb. Ouch! It was only then that I tried YouTube, and of course I immediately found a video that showed me how to do the job properly step-by-step. This is not the first time YouTube has come to my rescue - and I'm certain it is now a "go to" place for lots practicals tasks like this.

As an educator I wonder about the future consequences of so much educational content being made available on YouTube. As I write, there are 13,429,780 views of my 154 videos on my YouTube channel - so I am using this medium myself to get educational messages across to learners. The great Albert Einstein once said “Never memorize something that you can look up”. Is there a need for students to study for a year, two years, or more in order to be ready for a job? Could they not look up what they need as they need it? Instant Learning is becoming more-and-more of a phenomenon (there's even a book about it: Instant Learning - How to Learn Anything Instantly!). Learning curves will become shorter, or perhaps non-existent. In today's fast paced world we need to learn more quickly and absorb information a lot better - YouTube is not the only answer to this, but for me it is becoming one of the most advanced and important educational resources that humans have ever created. Long Live YouTube!

In case you ever need to change a key fob on a Hyundai - here's the video:


  1. Einstein was right - knowing where to look or who to ask is the real skill.
    Zuboff revised Marx's factors of production a number of years ago claiming that 'learning is the new labour'. Senge and Strata, amongst others, believe that the ability to learn faster than others is the new source of competitive advantage. Perhaps it is time we show students how to use YouTube well, how to identify the most useful content, and how to create original visual content. Might we require students to create content and publish it for credit? Might they critique Youtube content as well as published literature? Long Live You Tube is right.

  2. PS: I hope your thumb is improving

  3. Hi Colm,

    Yes - I think publishing content by students would be a good idea. Will Richardson tells us that when student publish their content they take more care with it (accuracy, no typos, good grammar, etc) - partly because they realize that it will be readable by others (not just teacher/lecturer).

    Thumb? It's still sticking out!



  4. I think the danger with that quote is that it can be taken too far. If for example, you don't remember some very basic command in coding, or even something like multiplication tables, you will find yourself ploughing your way through a very muddy field in getting from A to B.