Study: Gen Z prefers YouTube over books for learning

A new US study by Pearson has found that 60% of Gen Z kids prefer YouTube for learning over printed books, but still value "traditional" methods of instruction.
August 27, 2018

New field research by global education company Pearson has revealed that Gen Z kids in the US like learning from YouTube more than printed books.

Conducted for Pearson by New York-based global market research firm The Harris Poll, Beyond Millennials: The Next Generation of Learners surveyed 2,587 14- to 40-year-olds to examine the differences between Generation Z and Millennials in terms of their outlooks, values, education experiences and technology usage.

According to the study, nearly 60% of Gen Z respondents prefer YouTube for learning compared to 47% who prefer printed books. Millennials, meanwhile, prefer printed books (60%) over YouTube (55%).

Gen Z’s preference for learning from apps or interactive games (47%) is also equal to its preference for printed books. However, Gen Z prefers in-person group activities (57%) for learning, more than┬átheir older counterparts (47%).

As for time spent on YouTube, 47% of Gen Z spends three-plus hours per day on YouTube and 55% say YouTube has contributed to their education—although 78% say teachers have the most impact on their learning and personal development, followed by parents at 69%. Though Gen Z is device-agnostic, they still value “traditional” methods of instruction. Nearly 80% say teachers are very important to learning and development, 55% prefer to take notes on paper rather than digitally, and only 22% prefer self-directed learning (versus 36% of millennials).

Despite Gen Z’s propensity to learn from “traditional” methods of instruction, 71% say they try to figure out problems on their own first via the internet, textbooks or friends and classmates rather than ask a teacher for help (29%). The same holds true for Millennials at 70% and 30%, respectively.

The study follows a recent report from family research firm Smarty Pants finding that YouTube is the most popular brand among US kids ages six to 12.

A full version of the Pearson study can be found here.

About The Author
Jeremy is the Features Editor of Kidscreen specializing in the content production, broadcasting and distribution aspects of the global children's entertainment industry. Contact Jeremy at



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