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YouTube Learning at 10

In the world’s largest classroom, these five creators have been fueling lifelong learning for over a decade.

Whether you’re trying to ace your next chemistry test, understand more about the world around you, or simply learn how to play the guitar, at some point everyone turns to YouTube to learn something. What makes lifelong learning so incredible on our platform is the community of creators who develop content that engages, entertains, and enriches.

Recently we caught up with some of our most established learning luminaries from around the world to hear about their content creation journeys and why providing access to free, high-quality educational content is now more important than ever.

Sal Khan from Khan Academy

Khan Academy is an American non-profit educational organization created in 2008 by Sal Khan. Its goal is to create a set of online tools to help educate students.

Tell us about your YouTube journey. How has your content evolved over the years?

Sal: I didn’t start my YouTube channel for the public. I started it for my family members and that was a bit of an advantage. It kept me from having to overthink it. Over the last ten years, I’ve tried to maintain as much of the authenticity and casualness as possible. We now have a whole series of experts that help think about what standards we need to align to, people to review the content, and those who help to develop the exercises. We’ve definitely gotten tighter.

If YouTube had been around when you were growing up, what kind of learning content would you have watched?

Sal: Well, the same stuff that I’m watching now. As a child, my family couldn’t afford guitar lessons. Now as an adult, in theory, I can afford guitar lessons, but I really enjoy learning on my own, using things like YouTube.

Fast-forward 5 years, what do you think will be most interesting in EdTech?

Sal: One day you’ll learn at your own time and pace. You’re going to get all the support you need. You’re going to be able to get credit for things that you’ve mastered and get many shots at gold. And it’s all going to be for free!

Roshni Mukherjee from LearnoHub

Roshni Mukherjee is the founder and instructor of LearnoHub (formerly known as ExamFear Education), one of the largest free education platforms in India. LearnoHub has more than 7,000 videos on physics, chemistry, math, biology, geography, and much more for grades 6 through 12.

You’ve been creating learning content on YouTube for over 10 years. Tell us about your journey. How has your content evolved over the years?

Roshni: When I first started on YouTube, I worked six days a week for a multinational company during the day, and at night, I created curriculum-aligned videos for my YouTube channel. I worked without breaks, even on Sundays. With limited resources, I was making simple, engaging academic videos. The comments from students, teachers, and parents across India motivated me to keep creating more content. As subscribers grew, it gave me the confidence to quit my job and dive into YouTube full time. Now I have a team and we’ve expanded to various grades, subjects and languages. We’ve also become more creative, like developing the Periodic Table Song and helping students create science experiments using items from around the house.

You have several channels now and in multiple languages.

Roshni: I started with content in English. Then, at the request of students, six years later I started producing content in Hindi, which was a huge hit among students from Northern India. This year, I have plans to launch in Bangla (Bengali).

The cost of education continues to rise. Why is access to free, quality educational content vital to the success of students?

Roshni: A better-educated population has less unemployment, reduced crime rates, improved public health, and greater political and civic engagement. I believe that a free, quality education is vital for all students.

Hank Green from Crash Course

Hank Green is a science communicator, video creator, and entrepreneur having founded Complexly, Subbable, VidCon, and One of the biggest programs on Complexly is Crash Course, with more than 40 courses supporting a growing community of high school and college students, as well as lifelong learners.

Tell us about your YouTube journey. How has your content evolved over the years?

Hank: There are a lot of ways to make a YouTube video, and since day one, a lot of people have been figuring them out. How that applies to education took some time to figure out, but once people started doing it, we were just all constantly learning from each other, iterating on each other’s ideas, and being motivated by each other’s successes. Just like all creative enterprises, it was collaborative. The content changes as new ideas emerge, as old ones get left behind, and as audiences and their tastes change.

If YouTube had been around when you were growing up, what kind of learning content would you have watched?

Hank: Oh, I would have been obsessed with Kurzgesagt.

New Year. New Content. What’s one thing you plan to start, stop, and continue doing in 2022?

Hank: We’re going to start an Office Hours program. This year, we will wrap up a number of long-running series and will be kicking off several new series. During Finals season, we plan to host livestream study sessions for our Crash Course student community.

Manual do Mundo

Manual do Mundo, featuring Mariana Fulfaro and Iberê Thenório, is the largest learning channel in Latin America. With more than 15M subscribers and 14-plus years of experience, the channel’s main goal is to explore science in a fun, enjoyable, and engaging way.

Tell us about your YouTube journey. How has your content evolved over the years?

Mariana & Iberê: Initially, we created videos about what people could do at home: life hacks, and also physics and chemistry experiments. Over time, we realized that what could differentiate us from others was to explain complicated things in a simple way. As the channel grew, we were able to produce more elaborate content, such as our Boravê series, where we visit places that the public cannot go, such as factories, power plants, and sewer systems. From an audiovisual standpoint, we’ve gone from recording videos in single takes with a camera on a tripod, to videos with hundreds of takes, using drone, cell phone and handheld camera footage.

Many YouTubers start out solo. Do you now have support?

Mariana & Iberê: We have 20 people in-house and another 10 as needed. Nowadays, we operate as a company with teams across content, social media, video production and administration. Our crew also is made up of subject matter experts across the topics we cover, including physics and engineering.

New Year. New Content. What’s one thing you plan to start, stop, and continue doing in 2022?

Mariana & Iberê: With the arrival of Shorts videos, we’re excited to produce content that doesn’t fit in long form. One of the things that’s in the pipeline is a series of Shorts about the Space Race. We’ll also have two new series: “Manual do Dino” to answer questions about dinosaurs and “Is there Science there?” a show about science in our daily lives.

Dianna Cowern from Physics Girl

Dianna Cowern is one of the web’s biggest education stars and the creator of the award-winning YouTube channel Physics Girl. With over 2 million subscribers and 100 million views, her viral series explores incredible hands-on physics.

Tell us about your YouTube journey. How has your content evolved over the years?

Dianna: I started making videos while still living on campus at MIT. I continued secretly creating videos during my first job as a software engineer at General Electric until my coworkers found my channel. They were nice about it. Especially since back then, my content was unpolished. I focused solely on how stuff works - like how physics says a proton and electron interact. But I always kept my sense of wonder front and center. Once my channel started to pick up steam, I moved to San Diego, and I was inspired to ask bigger questions and follow my curiosity without bounds.

What’s the key to lifelong learning?

Dianna: Surround yourself with curious people. I am so lucky to be a massive fan of Simone Giertz and Derek Muller (Veritasium), but to also be their friend. I’m also inspired by people outside of STEM, like the hilarious comedian Aisling Bea, and the wildly creative artists DSharp and Jacob Collier.