A few days ago I found the Virtual Training Company, a website with 70,000 video tutorials on how to use different kinds of software.
How can you watch 70,000 videos?
I can’t, but you don’t need to. There are over 650 courses to choose from covering everything from C++ and MySQL to Adobe Photoshop and Windows Vista. Right now, I’m going through one of the PHP courses which has 9.5 hours of video tutorials split into 92 mini lessons of 2-10 minutes each.
Each video shows you the presenter’s screen so you can see the code he’s typing while he talks you through everything he’s doing. You can watch the videos in QuickTime or Flash, so the quality is good enough to clearly see the text on the screen.
Is VTC any good?
Yes, I’m really impressed by how effective this method of teaching is. Actually watching things work in front of you beats learning from a textbook hands down – at least for me anyway. However, it’s not so easy to look something up in a video as you would do in a book, but VTC lets you take notes online and store them as “course notes” for review later. Also, each lesson is short and focused enough to keep your attention, so after watching a five minute lesson, you can then spend the next five or ten minutes practicing what you’ve learned.
The first few lessons of each course are free demos, so if you’re interested, make sure you watch a couple of videos before you part with your money. The cost itself is really good value if you can motivate yourself to study regularly. It’s just US$30 a month for unlimited access to all the courses.
I’ve only gotten through the first 19 PHP lessons so far, but your “account” keeps track of what you’ve watched, and you can claim a certificate when you’ve finished everything (yay!).