Choosing Online Tutorials (part 2)


Online tutorials are often lead by experts you’d have no hope of meeting in your own community and provide resources that you might not be able to afford in either time or money offline.

My favorite video tutorials are well planned, beautifully produced, available for watching at any time, and come grouped in a set. Some online tutorials are published on a schedule similar to a regular community school program. Production values and the degree of interactivity might be very high, but unforeseen circumstances can cause you to miss sessions and lose your investment.

Here is an overview of the types of video tutorials available. To find particular a subject, just perform a web search by typing the subject name, followed by the short phrase “video tutorials.”

Free video tutorials

  • Generally seen on YouTube and Vimeo.
  • Production values may or may not be good.
  • Trainers are usually passionate about sharing knowledge.
  • Public TV or cable shows often post past programming here.

Low-cost video tutorials available through special interest groups

  • Do their range of subjects meet your needs?
  • Are members of the group asked to make presentations, and if so, are their skills good?
  • Are the tutorials uniform in quality?
  • Is supportive written material available?
  • Are they trying to drive their “numbers” through frequent email contact?

Smorgasbord video tutorials offered by groups like and

  • Does the hosting site guarantee quality or your money back?
  • Are the videos available here also seen for free on YouTube or Vimeo?
  • Are the videos up-to-date? This is a special consideration when you need technical and software training.
  • Do they ever remove out-of-date tutorials from their catalog?

Brokered video tutorials

  • Brokered video tutorials are led by a popular specialist, such as the artist Carla Sonheim. The broker markets his or her own tutorials, plus those of friends and peers. If you like the specialist, you might find that person’s recommendations very appealing.

Classroom video tutorials

  • SketchbookSkool and Art Tutor are examples of online video tutorial producers that model their programs after traditional offline schools.  Viewing must take place on specific dates and times. Art Tutor also has tutorials you can watch at any time.

Video tutorial production groups that oversee content and production quality

  • Groups like manage and produce hundreds of videos on art, sewing, cooking, crafts, and photography. All their tutorials are interactive, viewable at any time, and yours to keep online for life. Content and production values are high.
  • A relatively new group, called, harness star power to teach acting, singing, writing, performance, sports, and photography. Like Craftsy, their tutorials are interactive, viewable at any time, and are yours to keep online for life.

The articles that follow in this section will mostly feature reviews of fee-based video tutorials that answer the question “are the fees worth it?” If we publish the review, then the answer is “yes.”


Written by Karen Little ( of on April 21, 2016, all rights reserved by Please request reproduction permission.