To facilitate the use of YouTube as an important global video portal for self-directed learning (SDL), it is important to understand YouTube users' distinctive learning experiences across cultures. This study examines factors influencing YouTube SDL based on the personal responsibility orientation (PRO) model. In addition, the two markets, US and Taiwan, were chosen to explore if national cultural differences affect YouTube users' SDL frequency and goals along with PRO variables.
A self-administered online survey of 372 college aged-YouTube users in the US and Taiwan was conducted to obtain the self-reported SDL behavior on YouTube and other demographic and video usage variable information.
Frequent video sharing and information seeking motives likely facilitate general YouTube SDL, while initiating online video search leads to specific goal-oriented SDL such as problem-solving and skill-improvement. Although American students use YouTube more frequently for SDL than Taiwanese students, Taiwanese students use YouTube more for specific skill improvement.
YouTube's social affordance enables YouTube users' informal and SDL across different national cultures and thus the role such social media play in encouraging lifelong learning needs further attention.
This study contributes to understanding how YouTube fosters the informal learning process through functions enabling YouTube users' self-directed information seeking, sharing and engaging with online videos with a cross-national comparison. This study is also expected to offer insights to promote the use of YouTube for SDL as a first cross-national study applying the PRO model in the context of YouTube SDL.
This work was supported by the Taiwan Institute for Governance and Communication Research for the Taiwan data. The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of Dr Chingching Chang of National Chengchi University and Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences Academia Sinica, Taiwan, for data collection in Taiwan.
Funding: The funding for the data collection in Taiwan was supported by the Taiwan Institute for Governance and Communication Research (TIGCR).
Joa, C.Y., Abuljadail, M. and Ha, L.S. (2023), "YouTube self-directed learning in the US and Taiwan: an application of the personal responsibility orientation model", Online Information Review, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-01-2021-0051
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