Watch and learn…

Watch and learn…

That phrase always came across as patronising to me, but boy, have I changed my tune.

I have been learning so much from youtube.

When I first came to China, I always met local people who had an excellent command of English. They would always say they learned some of the basics at school, but their mastery came from scanning YouTube and getting in deep with some things that would interest them. Obviously, it would be in English. From that, they would gather the more profound knowledge and understanding of everyday English that they would find helpful.

Now, I always thought that was smart.

If you want to learn something. Ask the internet. Get off the social media crap and ask the actual internet, and you will find a treasure trove of solutions. My current book of choice is YouTube. It is like working through volumes of encyclopedias from around the world. 

Time after time, I have chucked it a curveball.

Question after question, I have been looking to see if youtube will miss my point. It never does. The answer comes back in the batched offerings in response to my search. I can pick out clearly from that what the solution to my sticking point actually is. YouTube has to be one of the biggest and best search engines, yet it is not used in that way by most people.

As a personal realisation, YouTube as a search engine passed me by.

Bouncing from YouTube content creators to motivational speakers onto advice-givers has changed my learning habits. I was dumping money into Udemy, Linked-in learning, and other online learning offers… there is no need. It is all there for the taking on YouTube.

Learning this way is incredible. It’s like bite-sized chunks of information that is distilled down into the relevant point. When I think back to my schooling, the teachers from that era certainly made learning boring, long and uninteresting.

Soaking it all in and making changes to my project as I go.

As the knowledge is shared from my screen, I was stepping through the learning in real-time. Now, though, I am taking notes. This stuff is dynamite, and I am stashing it away for a later ‘big bang edit’ of the future.

No longer is watch and learn demotivate to me.

It is an essential part of my lifelong learning experience. I am happy to get burrowing down a rabbit hole of information. Conscious of staying on message, I work backwards if I am off the learning track. If I want to throw caution to the wind, I head back to the homepage and see what the algorithm tosses my way.

Now, the debate I am having with myself is, will I be able to use it to better my Chinese? Well, walking around Chinese towns with a local influencer is as enjoyable as any foreigner doing the same. I just need to listen better and learn to…


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