Learning a new skill gets more difficult as you grow older. It’s a whole lot easier to learn than to unlearn and it’s also easier to learn a new skill or a way to do something when you are younger. Just like it’s easier to learn a new language when you are a kid and you pick up things much easier. Also using it or doing it often is the best way to learn something quicker, more fluently and easier.
Do I prefer to read about it, watch someone else do it, hear someone describe it, or try it yourself? I can do either way or the best would be a combination of two or more methods. The best, in my humble opinion, is to watch someone do it or show it to you and then try it out yourself. That’s the apprentice method for lack of finding a true title to it. I just feels that it is the best method going back all the way to when you are a baby and learn by imitating what your parent or an adult does. Aping someone else or monkey see, monkey do! So that is the best way to do. Trying it myself is also a very cool way to do some things, like reading the instructions and then trying it out – it’s always great when you can do it yourself especially if you are doing it without instructions. It gives you a special sense of achievement.
Instructional videos are a great way to learn stuff – be it building something, playing an instrument, software related and stuff like that. Someone describing something to you and going by just the words they say can work for a lot of things but there are stuff that you need to see to understand better or it could just be that the person is describing something but because of lack of clarity in the communication or in your understanding capability there could be some misunderstanding or some confusion and the results aren’t what you really wanted to see. And reading the instructions is good but not as good as watching someone do it and then learning it by doing it yourself. For a lot of things reading about it, like recipes or some instructions on software and stuff, is more than adequate especially if they have really helpful pictures or drawings as well.
So it might depend on what it is that I or you are trying to learn or do and the best method will vary according to it. But all methods have their plus points.