If you’re like me, there are probably hundreds of lectures and TED Talks that you wished you had the time to watch. Fortunately, now there’s a learning hack to get through all those videos a lot faster by watching YouTube videos at 2x regular speed.
I know what you’re thinking, what’s the point of watching videos faster if you’re probably not going to remember it nearly as well. According to Wikipedia, a comfortable rate of speech for listening is about 150 words per minute, which is the speed of most audiobooks and lectures. However, research suggests that we are very capable of listening with full comprehension at a rate of speech of up to 300 words per minute. In fact, when we are reading we are absorbing the information at about that speed already.
So, here’s how you do it. Thanks to the magic of HTML5, YouTube now allows you to adjust the speed of the videos that you watch on the site. To access this feature, go to http://www.youtube.com/html5 and click on the blue button to “Join The HTML5 Trial”. Once you’ve enabled the HTML5 trial, YouTube will show you videos with its new HTML5 player rather than in Flash. This means that you get extra controls like a speed setting in the bottom right of the YouTube player.
I gave it a try myself by watching different videos and attempting to summarize what I’ve seen at regular speed and at 2x speed. I found that I can remember the important points just as easily at 2x speed. Give it a try for yourself and you may surprised at just how great it works. If you find that you’re not comfortable with 2x speed, 1.5x is worth testing as well. Keep in mind that feature doesn’t work on all YouTube videos.
If you prefer watching videos on your iPhone or iPad, you can speed up with YouTube videos (as well as audio on iTunes U, audiobooks and podcasts) with Swift Player. For Android users, there is Dice Player.