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In a May 31st New York Times opinion article titled “What YouTube Taught Me”, author Peter Funt described his experience in using YouTube to learn how to break in a baseball glove. The article listed his conclusions from watching several “instructional” videos:

After two hours of viewing, I’ve learned that:
(a) it appears no certification is necessary to teach on YouTube;
(b) although baseball is the national pastime, no one knows how to break in a glove; and
(c) if you accidentally lock a new mitt in an old car, you might be able to use a tennis ball to break in.”[1]

Many software manufacturers now rely on YouTube as a medium for giving instructions about their software.

Youtube-NotAnd we hear what our clients think after seeing those videos. Their opinions are similar to those expressed by Mr. Funt after his experience.

YouTube videos are popular largely because they are simple to create and upload, and therein lies their appeal – to software manufacturers. We’ve seen videos narrated by developers who created a software application but can’t effectively communicate how it works. We are particularly fond of one video (whose product shall not be named in order to protect the guilty) where an animated arrow moves across the screen to point to an item. Except the arrow totally missed its intended target and kept on going right off the screen.

For the most part, canned video presentations do not teach. It is a one-way street. Viewers are limited to listening to what the narrator wants to say. There is no room for questions or interaction, except for perhaps posting a comment which may or may not elicit a reply. And canned video presentations remain for a long, long time – too long in fact. They are not updated, nor do they take into account new updates or features to the software program or application. For that a user must go looking for related video presentations, which may or may not exist.

Despite advances in technology, nothing replaces an experienced consultant/trainer. Knowledgeable trainers possess teaching skills, and work with users in an interactive setting, to ensure users can comfortably and fully leverage the software application in which an organization has invested its precious resources of time and money. Being “self-taught” on YouTube can lead to erroneous judgments and mistakes – and sometimes just bad information.

When you purchase a software application, you own 100% of it. At Eastern Legal Systems, our experienced consultants and trainers can help your staff maximize your firm’s investment. If you are interested in an interactive, user-focused training experience give us a call at 877-357-0555, or drop us an email at info@easternlegalsystems.com. We promise to listen.

[1] Funt, P. (2015, May 31). What YouTube Taught Me. The New York Times, p. SR3.