The YouTube Revolution: Transforming Knowledge Transfer and Reshaping Institutions

Gina Martinez

Gina Martinez

Jul 24, 20234 min read


The YouTube Revolution: Transforming Knowledge Transfer and Reshaping Institutions

In today's digital age, the dissemination of knowledge has taken on new forms and platforms. One such platform that has revolutionized knowledge transfer is YouTube. While YouTube may be primarily known for its entertainment value, it has also become a powerful tool for sharing and acquiring knowledge. In this article, we will explore how YouTube has transformed the way we transfer knowledge, the implications it has for different industries, and how it can reshape established institutions.

Tacit knowledge, as described by Samo Burja, refers to the knowledge that cannot be easily transmitted through traditional verbal or written instruction. This type of knowledge encompasses skills like woodworking, metalworking, cooking, and even heart surgery. Traditionally, this knowledge was passed down from master to apprentice, ensuring the preservation of valuable skills. However, the transmission of tacit knowledge faced a succession problem - if a master failed to pass on their knowledge, it would be lost forever.

The convergence of four factors has made the transmission of tacit knowledge at scale possible. Firstly, the availability of affordable digital cameras that provide high-quality video recording capabilities has allowed individuals to document their activities easily. This has led to the widespread distribution of cameras, enabling the capture of tacit knowledge in various nooks and crannies of society.

Secondly, mass broadband internet access has made it possible to watch recorded videos on demand, ensuring easy access to valuable knowledge. Without this access, the vast amount of video content produced would be rendered useless, as it would be challenging to find the relevant information.

The third factor that has contributed to the YouTube revolution is the existence of search engines. With search engines, individuals can navigate through the vast sea of videos and find precisely what they need. This ability to search through videos has significantly improved the economics of transmitting tacit knowledge, making it more accessible and valuable.

Lastly, the ubiquity of portable screens, primarily smartphones, has made video consumption more convenient and widespread. Unlike traditional TV sets, smartphones allow individuals to watch videos anytime and anywhere. This shift in content consumption has led to the rise of at-home science, with individuals exploring fields like dermatology and combating pseudoscience in the process.

The impact of the YouTube revolution goes beyond at-home science experiments. It has the potential to reshape knowledge inside established institutions as well, such as academic science. The replication crisis in academia, where many published studies cannot be replicated, is partly due to the limitations of traditional scientific writing. Not all procedures and observations can be accurately expressed through words alone. By shifting towards visual documentation, the scientific literature can become more comprehensive and accessible.

Imagine a world where scientific studies are accompanied by videos that visually demonstrate the experiments and procedures. This visual documentation can provide a clearer understanding of the research process and make it easier for other scientists to replicate the study. It can also bridge the gap between academia and the general public, allowing for a more inclusive and transparent scientific community.

Incorporating YouTube and similar platforms into established institutions can also enhance the learning experience for students. Instead of relying solely on textbooks and lectures, students can access visual demonstrations and explanations that supplement their understanding. This can lead to more engaging and effective learning, as visuals have been proven to enhance comprehension and retention.

So, how can individuals and institutions make the most of the YouTube revolution in knowledge transfer? Here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Embrace visual documentation: Whether you are an expert in a specific field or a student looking to enhance your learning, consider documenting your knowledge visually. Utilize platforms like YouTube to share your expertise or create instructional videos that can benefit others.
  • 2. Seek out visual resources: When learning a new skill or researching a topic, don't limit yourself to traditional written sources. Look for videos that provide visual demonstrations or explanations. These resources can enhance your understanding and make the learning process more engaging.
  • 3. Support visual documentation in institutions: Encourage the integration of visual documentation in established institutions like academia. Advocate for the inclusion of videos and visual materials in research papers, textbooks, and lectures. This can improve the accessibility and comprehensiveness of knowledge in various fields.

In conclusion, the YouTube revolution in knowledge transfer has opened up new possibilities for sharing and acquiring knowledge. The ability to transmit tacit knowledge visually and at scale has the potential to reshape industries and transform established institutions like academia. By embracing visual documentation and supporting its integration, we can harness the power of the YouTube revolution and unlock a world of knowledge for all.


  1. "10 Best Newsletter Types and Templates", (Glasp)
  2. "The YouTube Revolution in Knowledge Transfer | Samo Burja", (Glasp)

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