International Association of Educators   |  ISSN: 1949-4270   |  e-ISSN: 1949-4289

Original article | Educational Policy Analysis and Strategic Research 2021, Vol. 16(4) 164-177

Why Do University Students Prefer YouTube to Learn and Study?

Satı Burhanlı & Gülgün Bangir-Alpan

pp. 164 - 177   |  DOI:   |  Manu. Number: MANU-2103-08-0002

Published online: December 02, 2021  |   Number of Views: 54  |  Number of Download: 178


YouTube has over 2 billion users who watch YouTube videos regularly. It is one of the social media platforms that increase its popularity in the last years with its use in educational purposes in various grade levels. The purpose of this study is to investigate the factors that make university students use YouTube for learning and studying. Firstly, it looks into the reasons that make university students prefer YouTube for learning and studying. Secondly, it examines the factors that university students consider during content selection on YouTube. The qualitative research design methodology is used in the design of the study. Data is collected through the interviews that held on face to face. The study emerged that the reasons that motive university students to use YouTube in the learning process are individual learning needs, manageability, limitations of face to face education, and availability of conditions. Besides, the study showed that university students also consider some criteria while selecting content on YouTube. They mostly consider the appropriateness of content to their interest, popularity, thumbnail image, and reliability of sources. The results of the study can be helpful for content developers to understand the needs of university students in digital platforms. Furthermore, the results can give feedback to instructors on universities to understand the gaps in face-to-face education. Besides, the results also help to understand the mindset of university students during content selection in social media.

Keywords: YouTube, Content Selection, University Students, Studying and Learning

How to Cite this Article?

APA 6th edition
Burhanli, S. & Bangir-Alpan, G. (2021). Why Do University Students Prefer YouTube to Learn and Study? . Educational Policy Analysis and Strategic Research, 16(4), 164-177. doi: 10.29329/epasr.2021.383.9

Burhanli, S. and Bangir-Alpan, G. (2021). Why Do University Students Prefer YouTube to Learn and Study? . Educational Policy Analysis and Strategic Research, 16(4), pp. 164-177.

Chicago 16th edition
Burhanli, Sati and Gulgun Bangir-Alpan (2021). "Why Do University Students Prefer YouTube to Learn and Study? ". Educational Policy Analysis and Strategic Research 16 (4):164-177. doi:10.29329/epasr.2021.383.9.

  1. Barry, D. S., Marzouk, F., Chulak‐Oglu, K., Bennett, D., Tierney, P., & O'Keeffe, G. W. (2016). Anatomy education for the YouTube generation. Anatomical sciences education, 9(1), 90-96. [Google Scholar]
  2. Bergin, D. A. (1999). Influences on classroom interest. Educational Psychologist, 34, 87–98. doi:10.1207/s15326985ep3402_2 [Google Scholar] [Crossref] 
  3. Berk, R. A. (2009). Multimedia teaching with video clips: TV, movies, YouTube, and mtvU in the college classroom. International Journal of Technology in Teaching and Learning, 5(1), 1–21. [Google Scholar]
  4. Bonk, C. J., Lee, M. M., Kou, X., Xu, S., & Sheu, F. R. (2015). Understanding the self-directed online learning preferences, goals, achievements, and challenges of MIT OpenCourseWare subscribers. Educational Technology & Society, 18(2), 349-365. [Google Scholar]
  5. Burton, A. (2008). YouTube-ing your way to neurological knowledge. The Lancet Neurology, 7(12), 1086-1087.  [Google Scholar]
  6. Cayari, C. (2018). Connecting music education and virtual performance practices from YouTube. Music Education Research, 20(3), 360-376. [Google Scholar]
  7. Chtouki, Y., Harroud, H., Khalidi, M., & Bennani, S. (2012, June). The impact of YouTube videos on the student's learning. In 2012 International Conference on Information Technology Based Higher Education and Training (ITHET) (pp. 1-4). IEEE. [Google Scholar]
  8. Clifton, A., & Mann, C. (2011). Can YouTube enhance student nurse learning?. Nurse education today, 31(4), 311-313. [Google Scholar]
  9. Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. [Google Scholar]
  10. Duffy, P. (2008). Engaging the YouTube Google-eyed generation: strategies for using Web 2.0 in teaching and learning. Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 6(2), 119–130, Retrieved from. [Google Scholar]
  11. Dy, A. J., Aurand, E. R., & Friedman, D. C. (2019). YouTube resources for synthetic biology education. Synthetic Biology, 4(1), ysz022. [Google Scholar]
  12. Farag, M., Bolton, D., & Lawrentschuk, N. (2019). Use of YouTube as a Resource for Surgical Education—Clarity or Confusion. European urology focus. [Google Scholar]
  13. Fisher, A., & Ha, L. (2018). What Do Digital Natives Watch on YouTube?. The Audience and Business of YouTube and Online Videos, 29. [Google Scholar]
  14. Fleck, B. K., Beckman, L. M., Sterns, J. L., & Hussey, H. D. (2014). YouTube in the classroom: Helpful tips and student perceptions. Journal of Effective Teaching, 14(3), 21-37. [Google Scholar]
  15. Fleck, B. K. B., Richmond, A. S., & Hussey, H. D. (2013). Using social media to enhance instruction in higher education. In S. Keengwe (Ed.), Research perspectives and best practices in educational technology integration. (pp.217-241). Hershey, PA: IGI Global publication. [Google Scholar]
  16. Gilroy, M. (2010). Higher education migrates to YouTube and social networks. The Education Digest, 75(7), 18-22 [Google Scholar]
  17. Hidi, S. (2001). Interest, reading, and learning: Theoretical and practical considerations. Educational Psychology Review, 13, 191–209. doi:10.1023/A:1016667621114 [Google Scholar] [Crossref] 
  18. Jaffar, A. A. (2012). YouTube: An emerging tool in anatomy education. Anatomical sciences education, 5(3), 158-164. [Google Scholar]
  19. Jaggars, S. S. (2014). Choosing between online and face-to-face courses: Community college student voices. American Journal of Distance Education, 28(1), 27-38. [Google Scholar]
  20. Jones, T., & Cuthrell, K. (2011). YouTube: Educational potentials and pitfalls. Computers in the Schools, 28(1), 75-85. [Google Scholar]
  21. Karakas, F., & Manisaligil, A. (2012). Reorienting self‐directed learning for the creative digital era. European Journal of Training and Development, 36(7), 712–731. doi:10.1108/03090591211255557  [Google Scholar] [Crossref] 
  22. Kocyigit, B. F., Nacitarhan, V., Koca, T. T., & Berk, E. (2019). YouTube as a source of patient information for ankylosing spondylitis exercises. Clinical rheumatology, 38(6), 1747-1751. [Google Scholar]
  23. Krauskopf, K., Zahn, C., & Hesse, F. W. (2012). Leveraging the affordances of YouTube: The role of pedagogical knowledge and mental models of technology functions for lesson planning with technology. Computers & Education, 58(4), 1194-1206. [Google Scholar]
  24. Lam, N. H. T., & Woo, B. K. (2019). YouTube as a New Medium for Dementia Education Among Chinese Americans. Community Mental Health Journal, 1-5. [Google Scholar]
  25. Lee, D. Y., & Lehto, M. R. (2013). User acceptance of YouTube for procedural learning: An extension of the Technology Acceptance Model. Computers & Education, 61, 193-208. [Google Scholar]
  26. Lien, K. Y., Liew, S. L., Wong, C. S., Yee, A. L., & Yoon, C. C. (2019). Motivations and satisfaction: a study on YouTube use among children (Doctoral dissertation, UTAR). [Google Scholar]
  27. Maxwell, J. A. (2008). Designing a qualitative study. The SAGE handbook of applied social research methods, 2, 214-253. [Google Scholar]
  28. Mercer, A. (2011).The Educational Uses of YouTube.  Canadian Music Educator 52, (3), 42–43 [Google Scholar]
  29. Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. [Google Scholar]
  30. Murugiah, K., Vallakati, A., Rajput, K., Sood, A., & Challa, N. R. (2011). YouTube as a source of information on cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Resuscitation, 82(3), 332-334. [Google Scholar]
  31. YouTube (2020).  Rakamlarla YouTube. Retrieved February 16, 2020, from [Google Scholar]
  32. Raikos, A., & Waidyasekara, P. (2013). How useful is YouTube in learning heart anatomy? Anatomical Sciences Education, 7(1), 12–18. doi:10.1002/ase.1361  [Google Scholar] [Crossref] 
  33. Rapp, A. K., Healy, M. G., Charlton, M. E., Keith, J. N., Rosenbaum, M. E., & Kapadia, M. R. (2016). YouTube is the most frequently used educational video source for surgical preparation. Journal of surgical education, 73(6), 1072-1076. [Google Scholar]
  34. Ranga, J. S. (2017). Customized videos on a YouTube Channel: A beyond the classroom teaching and learning platform for general chemistry courses. Journal of Chemical Education, 94(7), 867-872. [Google Scholar]
  35. Rangarajan, K., Begg, K., & Somani, B. (2019). Online digital media: the uptake of YouTube-based digital clinical education (DCE). American Journal of Distance Education, 33(2), 142-150. [Google Scholar]
  36. Richards-Babb, M., Curtis, R., Smith, V. J., & Xu, M. (2014). Problem solving videos for general chemistry review: Students’ perceptions and use patterns. Journal of Chemical Education, 91(11), 1796-1803. [Google Scholar]
  37. Sherer, P., & Shea, T. (2011). Using online video to support student learning and engagement. College Teaching, 59(2), 56-59. [Google Scholar]
  38. Shoufan, A. (2019). What motivates university students to like or dislike an educational online video? A sentimental framework. Computers & education, 134, 132-144. [Google Scholar]
  39. Tan, E. (2013). Informal learning on YouTube: Exploring digital literacy in independent online learning. Learning, Media and Technology, 38(4), 463-477. [Google Scholar]