A Preliminary Investigation of the Appropriateness of YouTube as an Informal Learning Platform for Pre-teens

  • Marié Hattingh
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10473)


The introduction of Web 2.0 technologies has provided an alternative environment for informal learning to take. This paper extends previous research by investigating the appropriateness of YouTube as an informal learning platform for pre-teens. A nethnographic approach was used to analyse two YouTube videos with their associated comments from one YouTube channel – “Grant Thompson - The King of Random”. The results were evaluated using parental guidelines for YouTube as proposed by Knorr [1]. The analysis has shown that learning has taken place in two instances: (1) learning-by-watching that turned into learning-by-doing when subscribers attempted to replicate the project and reported their success/failure, (2) peer-to-peer learning through discussions between different subscribers that furthered their understanding of the topic at hand. Factors that enhanced the learning experience was the self-directed interest in the topic and the fan base influence, which caused incidental learning. However, the risk associated with the informal learning environment created by YouTube that include that some projects are too dangerous for pre-teens to replicate on their own. However, the data showed that some subscribers were aware of the risk associated with these projects and admitted that they need consent from their parents. This paper contributes to literature by recommending YouTube as an informal learning platform for pre-teens under the supervision of parental vetting of the YouTube channel.


YouTube Informal learning Pre-teen Digital literacy Web 2.0 Digital natives 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of InformaticsUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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