The YouTube Revolution in Knowledge Transfer: Unlocking Tacit Knowledge and Enabling Mass-Scale Learning



Jul 18, 20234 min read


The YouTube Revolution in Knowledge Transfer: Unlocking Tacit Knowledge and Enabling Mass-Scale Learning

In today's fast-paced digital age, modern video media, particularly platforms like YouTube, has undeniably changed the way we consume information and learn. While some argue that it has shortened attention spans and diverted people's attention from longer-form means of communication, such as written articles or books, there is a critical aspect of video media that often goes overlooked - its ability to facilitate mass-scale tacit knowledge transmission.

Tacit knowledge refers to knowledge that cannot be adequately conveyed through verbal or written instruction alone. It encompasses skills and abilities that are best learned through observation and imitation. Historically, the transmission of tacit knowledge required in-person interaction, allowing learners to closely observe and learn from experts in real-time. However, the advent of video platforms like YouTube has revolutionized this process, making it possible for individuals to access and learn from a vast array of tacit knowledge that would have otherwise been lost.

While true autodidacts who can invent their own techniques are rare, many individuals can effectively learn by watching and imitating. This is where YouTube comes into play. The platform serves as a treasure trove of instructional videos, covering a wide range of topics and skills. Whether it's learning how to play a musical instrument, paint, cook, or even start a business, YouTube offers a plethora of "how-to" videos that cater to various interests and needs.

Interestingly, YouTube reports that searches in the "how-to" category have grown by an impressive 70% year-on-year. This statistic highlights the increasing demand for video-based learning and the effectiveness of this medium in transmitting tacit knowledge. People are actively seeking out videos that provide step-by-step instructions and visual demonstrations, as these formats allow for a more immersive and engaging learning experience.

Moreover, the power of video lies in its ability to capture and convey knowledge that individuals might not even realize they possess. The unflinching eye of the camera can capture subtle nuances and details that might be missed in other forms of instruction. This opens up a whole new realm of possibilities, particularly in fields like science and research. By sharing experiments, techniques, and insights through videos, scientists can collaborate and learn from each other on a global scale. This paves the way for a truly open and collaborative scientific community, going beyond traditional methods of sharing research findings.

However, while video platforms like YouTube have undoubtedly revolutionized knowledge transfer, it is essential to recognize that it is a double-edged sword. While it provides unprecedented access to information and skills, it also poses challenges and limitations. For instance, the abundance of options available on YouTube can sometimes overwhelm learners, making it difficult to navigate and find high-quality content. Additionally, the searchability and accessibility of videos can vary, making it crucial for learners to rely on search engines to find the most relevant and reliable sources of information.

In light of these considerations, it is important to approach video-based learning with a discerning eye. While YouTube offers a wealth of knowledge, it is essential to critically evaluate the credibility and expertise of content creators. Additionally, learners should actively seek out multiple sources of information to gain a comprehensive understanding of a topic or skill.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Curate your learning experience: With the abundance of content available on YouTube, it is crucial to curate your learning experience. Seek out reputable channels and creators who have established expertise in the field you are interested in. Look for videos with high engagement and positive feedback from viewers.
  • 2. Supplement with other learning resources: While YouTube can be a valuable source of information, it should not be the sole means of learning. Supplement your video-based learning with other resources, such as books, articles, or online courses. This will provide a more well-rounded understanding of the subject matter.
  • 3. Engage in active learning: Rather than passively watching videos, actively engage with the content. Take notes, pause and reflect, and practice the skills being taught. Actively participating in the learning process will enhance retention and application of knowledge.

In conclusion, the YouTube revolution in knowledge transfer has transformed the way we learn and acquire tacit knowledge. It has democratized access to valuable skills and information, enabling individuals to learn and grow in unprecedented ways. However, it is important to approach video-based learning with discernment and supplement it with other learning resources. By curating our learning experiences, seeking multiple sources of information, and actively engaging with the content, we can make the most of this revolutionary medium and unlock our full learning potential.


  1. "The YouTube Revolution in Knowledge Transfer | Samo Burja", (Glasp)
  2. "Analyzing AngelList Job Postings, Part 2: Salary and Equity Benchmarks", (Glasp)

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