My day job for the last two or so decades has been as a software technical writer. Basically, I write the how-tos that people generally avoid reading.
I always default to buying a book when learning a new product. I did this for my iPhone and for Squarespace; I have bought innumerable e-books from Take Control to help me learn the ins and outs of certain concepts and software packages.
But now I find myself acting like you all: it takes considerable willpower for me to crack them open so I refer to them only when I have a problem. Example: when I bought my first iPhone in September one of my first purchases was Que's My iPhone. I skimmed the first chapters, gleaned a few things I didn't already know, and have not gone back to it.
I'm currently involved in a project where I'm using iMovie for the first time, and at work I find myself using Git and LaTeX. So now I'm watching Lynda.com or YouTube to introduce and acquaint me with the software.
I find I am naturally and unconsciously defaulting to this sort of just-in-time training -- and visual training at that -- while my "rational" brain still favors just-in-case training.
Do I learn any more quickly? I can't say. Some videos are just narrated slideshows, which is worse than reading because I can't skim ahead (though I can play the video at a faster rate and race through the material faster). I like Lynda.com's software video tutorials because they walk through a sample project so I can actually see how something like editing is done within this bewildering interface. I'm more of a visual learner than I thought.
So as I get acquainted with my iPad, I will stop myself buying newsstand magazines or books and instead watch some videos. And for what the videos cannot give me? There is always The Google.