Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Health Education

YouTube: An Innovative Learning Resource for College Health Education Courses

Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Health Education

YouTube: An Innovative Learning Resource for College Health Education Courses

Article excerpt


As college health education professors attempt to engage the Web 2.0 generation of learners, use of innovative video technology resources such as YouTube can be integrated to provide relevant and targeted information to supplement college course content, create a sense of "classroom community," and enrich the learning environment for all students--both younger and older. In this article, a general description of YouTube, its relevance to the field of higher education, examples of how it can be effectively applied and integrated into college health education courses, and some limitations and challenges of this new technology will be presented.

Key words: YouTube; Health Education; E-learning; Technology; Learning Resource.


In December of 2006, Time magazine published the cover story "How to Bring Our Schools out of the 20th Century," which suggests that students need to learn new skills in innovative ways. (1) Further, instructors need to ensure they are addressing the needs of the new faster-paced, web savvy learners, sometimes referred to as the Web 2.0 generation. (2) In addition, a 2006 report sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation entitled "Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century" also noted that current learners are different in their interaction with media from previous generations. (3) The report contends that schools and instructors must teach and promote the collaborative and networking skills that students need in the social-networking Web 2.0 world.

Innovative and engaging teaching strategies are imperative in higher education courses, where the new Web 2.0 generation seeks to be engaged and motivated to learn. Creative classroom techniques incorporating technology promote a more productive and enriched learning environment. (4) Emerging technologies, such as the YouTube video-sharing Web site, are important for both in-class and online instructors to establish a sense of classroom community and achieve greater learner outcomes. In addition, Internet-based resources like YouTube integrate relevant content and encourage learners to reflect on how the material can be applied to settings within their discipline. This is a fresh and innovative way that speaks to their generation and learning style. For nontraditional learners, YouTube may provide the acquisition and experience of new technology and learning formats.

Many educators believe that having learners create content as part of their course requirements is an essential element to promote learning. Creating content for YouTube allows students to develop a deeper understanding of the material and provides an opportunity for experiential learning of not only the content, but the technology used as well. YouTube facilitates this content creation and has the potential to expose learners to new insights and skills, as well as engage students in online communities. (5)

Limited research exists on the utilization of YouTube as a tool for both educators and learners. A current search of the literature resulted in no information being found on instructors using YouTube as a teaching strategy in health education courses. This article presents an overview of YouTube and its applications as an effective learning tool in higher education, with specific examples of its use in college health education courses. Limitations and challenges of this new technology are also discussed.

An Overview of YouTube

Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim, three former PayPal employees, created YouTube, Inc. on February 14, 2005. YouTube provided a public-access Web-based platform that allowed people to easily upload, view, and share video clips on, and also share them across the Internet through other Web sites, mobile devices, blogs, and email. (6) YouTube quickly became the most widely used resource for online video (7). …

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