I read a fair number of skeptics of massive online university systems, and they tend to be emphasize that the personal attention and labor of teaching cannot easily be automated. Most of us aren't autodidacts which is why public libraries themselves didn't make schools obsolete.
However, if you're motivated, you can learn things from books alone and I think that video courses, like the Ling Space by friend of the blog and Japan traveler Moti Lieberman, can add something to what we can learn from books. The recent episode on phonemes, the individual sounds that make up language, is a great example of this. Moti is an engaging speaker who actually has taught before, which is the equivalent for this medium of the way good writing can draw you in.
But that misses the real added value that comes from the video: incorporation of sound and images. In linguistics, sounds are very important. For those of us who don't know the international phonetic alphabet, we need someone to speak different pronunciations in languages we don't know for them to really sink in. Pure audio can help there of course, but much as teachers use blackboards or dry erase markers, video can help emphasize what concepts are related to the audio you're hearing.
I found this really valuable, in part because I'm a terrible student of languages. I have some French, less Japanese, and even less Mandarin despite having done classes of varying duration in all three. I also went through speech therapy as a kid, so I have an intense personal connection with the way the t, and particularly the th sound is made. Language tends to impact us all, albeit in different ways. While I'll never be a full-on student of the subject, some prior parts of my life are making more sense now that I understand some of the underlying concepts. If you're curious at all, I think this might be a good place to start, as it shows what you can get from video that you might not from another non-classroom approach.
Programming note; Planning to resume travel blogging and soon to post on the protests in Hong Kong. I'm sorry for the break, it was driven not by the one night of LWV work but by a larger set of end of the fiscal year deadlines. Happily FY2015 doesn't look nearly so frantic.