Video tutorials take us back into the classroom — a virtual one. Few would disagree that online video ‘lectures’ are more interesting than what they are in the real world. After all, there’s very little chance of your professor catching you knocking back a milk shake.
Even as I am writing this, let me say that sometimes writing and reading is a pain on the eyes. Ours is a much more visual generation that just might enjoy an instructional video than a write-up. The web is getting more interactive and speedier. Bandwidth is no longer a constraint. Even in my country where bandwidth is a turtle compared to what’s available elsewhere, playing online videos is now part of the norm.
There are many DIY websites that offer free video tutorials. And then there are those that impart online computer lessons via video instructions. The one apparent improvement that video instructions have over the text and graphic tutorials is that you have a view of what’s actually been done on the screen. With text, it’s easy to get lost in the language.
So, if you like to learn about computers or if you just love an obscure geeky tip ‘n trick, check out these twelve free video tutorial sites. It could be an education.
Woopid is our first stop for free technology video tutorials. Woopid’s video tutorials cover categories from Windows, Microsoft Office, Mac OS X, Linux and others for hardware and the web. The tutorials are designed both for the beginner and the advanced user. There are some really nice features which makes video instructions easier to manage. Woopid arranges related videos together in Bundles.
For instance, Beginners Guide to Excel 2007 is a bundle of 17 videos. The other nice thing is that you can request a tutorial using their Request a Personal Tutorial page. The one feature that I really like is the Take a Step Back and Moving Forward feature in all videos. Just like going forward or backwards between chapters, it links you to other previous or later videos.
This is a video tutorial resource with a huge list of videos arranged in video channels. Though it is a bit heavy with free graphic designing video tutorials, you also get many on web designing (HTML, CSS, and XML) and some on Windows. Mac OS and iTunes also are covered quite well.
For the true blue geek, you have loads of tutorials on application development and C++ programming…and more. You can sign-up and create your own playlists. The site also lets you upload your own instructional videos and earn money through AdSense.
Video Tutorial Zone says it is a ‘Video Professor for Tech Geeks’. The professor is quite knowledgeable over categories ranging from SEO to Office Tools. There are some unique categories that may be sparse on other sites like tutorials on VOIP Telephony and Content Management which covers CMS like Joomla and Drupal.
You can also request a tutorial and also check out the current request list. Looking through the videos, I found that it’s a great place for the geek who knows the basic stuff and wants something more advanced.
As soon as I landed on Tubetorial’s homepage, I was greeted with quite a few WordPress tutorials. The site has a heavy leaning towards web apps and internet marketing videos. The site has a lot of blog style arrangement of free step-by-step video tutorials on internet marketing techniques. In between them, you might find a few on things like mindmapping.
The first video I checked out was on Blogger Law. I came away better educated. The one turn off could be the relatively high number of ads on the site. But hey, the knowledge is free.
I wouldn’t recommend TutorialParadise for its interface. It’s very ad-heavy. But here’s the good word on the tutorials. There are lots of them around lots of categories. You have a few hacking tutorials too. The other categories are Program Tutorials (graphic applications), Language Tutorials, OS Tutorials, and Database Tutorials.
Some of the tutorials come with source files which makes it easier to learn the step by steps. The site allows you to make a bit of money by submitting tutorials and they also have some competitions running.
It’s straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. If you are a user of Adobe products, then you should have Adobe TV bookmarked. It brings you the absolute best from the Adobe community. Also, there’s the advantage of getting the latest uses of the latest products. Videos are updated daily. Many videos are presented as features. Take a dekko at the number of channels and you realize the learning that’s there for free. For young learners, I can recommend the one that says Students & Educators.
It’s the video learning channel for those who work with the WordPress platform. Videos cover interesting tips, tricks and developments that are floating around the WordPress universe. The videos are in two languages – English and French. A lot of the videos also cover WordCamp, which is the WordPress meet-up.
When we are on graphic and web design, let’s also visit the Computer Based Training Café. The site gives you free online lessons on Flash, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Cleaner, QuickTime, Ebay, and PowerPoint. I am not sure about the number of video tutorials because the tutorials come bunched together with the HTML tutorials. Video tutorials have a QuickTime link.
Got My Idea is a category-rich video tutorial knowledge bank. You also get video tutorials on Wii, Xbox, and iPod, amongst others. Most of the videos lessons are sourced from YouTube but the site saves you the trouble of searching them out by putting it all in one central repository.
Showmedo is a peer-produced video-tutorials and screencasts site for free and open-source software. Many tutorials are presented as series of episodes. The focus of the site is on how to use open source software. For example, this is the place you can land if you want to learn something on Inkscape or GIMP.
Showmedo also brings in a feature that I believe should be a necessary part of all learning websites. The Learning Paths structures the video content in a way that you know where to start, where you are heading to and what skills you will require.
You might also like to Meet the GIMP if you are on the learning curve with the free image editor.
The site is about Flash and ActionScript tutorials. It will be a waste of time for someone who isn’t interested in either. But for the person who is into Flash programming this site is a good resource because it offers two things – free downloadable video tutorials and lesson files for download (at least some of them).
The user driven social content website has 9675 videos on all things tech related. The collection of videos arranged in multifaceted categories makes it a great resource for not only learners but also for other varieties of IT workers. For instance, you have videos on Conferences held, IT best practices, and lectures on sub-disciplines line math and science.
Video lessons not only educate, but they also entertain. But the greatest benefit, both for educators and learners is that, online education using short videos makes it possible to emphasis what education should be about – anywhere, anytime, and absolutely free. Tell us if you are continuing your education with any online computer tutorial website.