The Educational Potential of YouTube

Haley T. Godwin, Murtaza Khan, Peter Mackinlay Yellowlees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of this paper was to examine the educational potential and effectiveness of a 3 min video clip of a simulation of schizophrenia published online at YouTube. Method: Researchers examined the 267 public comments published on the video-sharing website YouTube over 8 years by viewers of a schizophrenia simulation video titled “virtual hallucinations” made in the Second Life game platform. Comments were independently categorized into six groupings, then cooperatively finalized, and qualitatively analyzed. Results: The six categories of style of comments were “Emotional” (n = 76), “Identification” (n = 62), “Educational Interest” (n = 45), “Mocking/Displeased” (n = 36), “Game Interest” (n = 32), and “Other” (n = 25). Conclusion: Without any advertising or marketing by the creators, over 194,400 views of the video were recorded in 8 years, an average of about 1500 views per month. The use of YouTube with its viral marketing potential has created a vastly amplified reach for this educational offering that would otherwise have been impossible. Qualitative analysis of publically posted comments in response to the video, which were generally positive, has led to a greater understanding of public reactions to such educational offerings. YouTube videos are already a rich source of data for psychiatric researchers, and psychiatric educators should consider posting high quality video clips on publically available social media platforms such as YouTube in order to reduce public stigma about psychiatric disorders and patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-827
Number of pages5
JournalAcademic Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Education
  • Psychiatry
  • Schizophrenia
  • YouTube

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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