An empirical analysis of knowledge co-construction in YouTube comments

Ilana Dubovi, Iris Tabak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Internet and social media platforms such as YouTube are an emblem of information on demand, but, their educative value, especially for conceptually rich domains, such as science, remains unclear. Many people perceive YouTube as a good resource for learning about science, yet viewing many of the available videos can be akin to learning through transmission models, which are considered inferior when they are the sole form of instruction. The goal of this study was to examine whether YouTube's embedded feature of posting (post-video) comments could mitigate these limitations, and offer a potential educative added-value by opening opportunities for discussion and deliberation, which have been associated with deeper learning. Focusing on Science as a target domain, we examined 1530 post-video public comments from a corpus of leading science channels. We coded the comments for argumentative and knowledge construction moves, and tested whether particular moves led to higher-level knowledge construction. Our findings reveal that this informal setting reflected comments that went beyond information sharing to argumentative negotiation, reaching a higher level of knowledge construction, and yielding a greater proportion of such comments that have been found in previous studies within formal settings. This study demonstrates that YouTube can offer an informal space for science deliberation and a forum for collaborative interactions that have a potential to support life-long learning. Implications for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103939
JournalComputers and Education
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • Collaboration
  • Informal learning
  • Knowledge construction
  • Social media
  • YouTube

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Education


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