Not a reader? Skip to the bottom of the article for a playful video.
I first learned how to use a woven wrap from YouTube. I used YouTube to learn how to use my woven wrap in a front carry and how to do my first back carry with it. Pretty much any time I want to learn a new carry, I turn to YouTube and when I need a refresher on a carry I already know, I usually turn to YouTube first. Sometimes I even make YouTube videos. I send YouTube videos as part of my follow-ups with clients and I love posting some of my favourite videos on Facebook when people have questions. Have I mentioned this site called YouTube? If you don't know what YouTube is, you should Google it. And if you don't know how to Google something, I have no idea how you made it to reading this article.
Clearly, I enjoy YouTube and use it regularly. It can be a great tool for instruction. Why then would I equally believe that it can destroy the joy of babywearing in someone who is trying to learn?? Because I recognise that people have different learning styles and that there are more benefits to working with that person's style than fighting it.
Many educational professionals believe there are 7 different styles of learners. Since people are not binary, this means that you can probably do well learning through multiple styles but depending on the situation or your mood, one might suit you better. The way I've chosen to articulate these styles are as follows.
1) Social learners: You like to learn with others and find benefit from working in groups. Interactions with other people help you to learn.
2) Solitary learners: You do well when learning things by yourself. You understand your interests and have the confidence to further your understanding through independent means.
3) Verbal learners: You feel the power of words. You find written (word) instructions effective when learning something new. Mainstream education relies on verbal learning a lot (think of how many books you carried around in school!)
4) Visual learners: Seeing is understanding. You'd rather see what a circle looks like than hear a description. Videos, sketches, photos, and paintings are key elements to your comprehension.
5) Physical learners: You have a good awareness of your body and how it feels and moves. You can grasp concepts more successfully when you're able to feel them or practice things (through role play for example). You use your body as a tool for learning.
6) Aural learners: This is aural as in auditory (sound), not oral as in mouth. Sound is very important to you and music plays a big role in your education. When you can close your eyes and listen to something, you absorb the material much better.
7) Logical learners: You see to the core of problems or concepts. You can identify patterns, do puzzles, develop systems and you prefer to use logic and science to support your understanding. You want to know the critical information, not all the fluffy stuff.
As I said, people are not binary and there are different ways to approach learning the same thing. And yet, when I see people reaching out for help with babywearing on social media, they're often met with the same suggestion: YouTube. I'm guilty of this as well at times. We are physically seperated from those asking for help so the next best thing seems to be connecting through a video. But YouTube is not for everyone and a good babywearing educator is not just the demonstrator of steps. When I say babywearing educator, I am not restricting that term to people who are paid to teach - there are a lot of indespensable people in local babywearing communities and the international babywearing community who never get paid to teach or who did not go through formal training. The difference between YouTube and a good educator is that an educator can adapt themselves to the different learning styles.
Babywearing educators are often present at community gatherings, they may host workshops or do private group functions. These options are all appealing to a social learner. For a solitary learner, they may prefer one-on-one time with someone whose personality can adapt to their own so they do not become overwhelmed. While you can bond with others over using the same YouTube videos to support your babywearing, it is unchanging. You cannot interact with the video and it cannot adapt according to a difficulty you are having. Although people can add subtitles, narration and/or music to their videos, it is a service created for you to watch something. The reason this can become problematic is if people are led to believe that it is unequivically their best option, they can become discouraged if it isn't working. They cannot pause a video and say "but, the waist on my buckle carrier won't sit on my body the same way! Why is yours different?" or "I don't understand the way you're explaining this... could you use different words?" or "I sort of understand what I'm seeing, but could you break down each step and tell me what you're doing?" or "this is uncomfortable/painful for me, how can I change it to feel more comfortable?" This leads people to cull YouTube for just the right video for them and although many people find one that works, some people do not. Hopefully, you have an educator who is accessible to you who can answer these questions but most people do not want to meet with an educator any time they meet a roadblock. An educator's goal should be to provide you with an understanding of safety and to give you the tools you need according to your learning style so that you can then achieve your babywearing goals however you want to.
So what solution can be had for social media?
If you see someone post something on Facebook along the lines of "I've tried a million YouTube videos and we have been practicing for weeks but I still do not understand how to get this right!" my guess is, the first few answers will be more YouTube videos and maybe a question about ressources in their area (such as community gatherings or educators). Questions are the most important thing to ask. Pinpointing the cause of the problem instead of the symptom will be a lasting solution. Bear in mind that your solution could be shifting gears away from YouTube and onto one of the other styles of learning. Having someone reflect on what is going on and writing down each step. Just writing it down might help them to see where the issue lies, or they may compare it to instructions someone else wrote down or go back to a favourite video and read their notes as they observe. There are so many options out there beyond just watching a video and attempting to mimic it is only one of those options.
So although YouTube helped me and it might have helped you, if someone is reaching out and saying it did not help them, see what other approaches you can take when you make the great decision to reach out and support them.
Now that you are done reading all these words, let's try something a little different... I decided to draw a few doodles and add a catchy tune to give an example of how each style of learning might answer the same question.