The focus of this paper is a project conducted in 2011, exploring the use of YouTube in the classroom. The project conducted a number of focus groups for which highlighted a number of issues surrounding independent informal learning environments. The questions posed by this research are concerned with what constitutes learning in these spaces; how valid this is perceived to be by the students and how they engage with materials in this space. A question also posed was how cognisant the students are of their learning in these spaces and how they perceive the efficacy of the materials to support and enhance their learning. The research uncovered how the students interacted with each other in these informal spaces and the role that YouTube video content plays in community formation and supporting informal peer learning. The nature of informal learning spaces being that their focus being not solely of education, but also of entertainment leads to a variation in quality, reliability and suitability of content. The research also explored the students’ digital literacy, uncovering the strategies used to first navigate in these spaces and then critically engage, analyse and assess materials that they may find.
Informal learning on YouTube: exploring digital literacy in independent online learning. Learning, Media and Technology, 2013