Books vs Video Tutorials for Learning How to Program


Written By MrSun at 8:00 am - Tuesday, August 05th, 2008
Categories: Flash, Game Development

Both books and video tutorials are great mediums to learn anything from. But, which one is better for you? Let us investigate

Books

The Pros

  • There are millions of them
  • You can find them in many places
  • They cover any difficulty level
  • They are easily referenced
  • The are written by the pros
  • They usually give reliable information
  • You can bring them to many places
  • Some come along with exercise files to work with
  • They are indexed well
  • They are scan-able

The Cons

  • Some people don’t like to read
  • Most of them are without visual aids
  • Books can be very boring
  • It can be hard to contact the author for questions
  • They become outdated quickly unless the author comes out with a new edition
  • Some of them use language that is hard to understand
  • They can become damaged really easily
  • Most of them cost money
  • Some concepts just can’t be explained through writing

Video Tutorials

The Pros

  • You don’t have to read
  • The language is usually always easily understood
  • The entire thing is a visual aid
  • It’s more similar to a classroom experience
  • They can’t get ripped up
  • You can see the whole process move along
  • The creators can be contacted pretty easily depending on some circumstances
  • They are directed towards beginners
  • Many of them are free or give you free samples/trials

The Cons

  • They aren’t to easy to find
  • Many of them progress very slowly
  • The teacher might not be speaking in a manner that you understand or that you like
  • They usually cover the more advanced topics
  • The teachers might not be reliable
  • You can’t really skip the boring parts without skipping content that you may find useful
  • Your computer might not be able to run the movie file
  • Anyone can make them
  • Some concepts are even more difficult to explain in spoken words than in writing

Well, those lists summarize the pros and cons of each medium of learning. I, myself, learned ActionScript first by watching Lynda.com’s video tutorials. Then, after realizing that they did not cover any of the advanced topics that I wanted to learn about, I started to buy some books. In my opinion, video tutorials are best for beginners who are visual learners, while books are better for more intermediate or advanced users who don’t mind reading a lot.

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