Saying that most of YouTube’s changes had been unpopular is an understatement. Between eliminating the dislike count and continually increasing the number of pre-roll ads (how many are we at now again?), it seemed like there wasn’t a lot being done to help creators grow their audience or make money.
But that’s about to change. In addition to updating its Partner Program to allow creators to earn ad revenue from Shorts videos, YouTube has recently announced some new features aimed at turning the platform into an educational powerhouse, one that content creators can use to completely transform their business.
Read on for YouTube’s plans to make its platform a better tool for learning, and what they mean for you as a creator.
What is YouTube doing for educators and learners?
Whether it’s been spurred by the success of trends like #LearnOnTikTok, or is closely watching the success of online course platforms like Skillshare and Thinkific, YouTube is working on a number of features aimed at educational content creators and their audiences. Here’s a breakdown of what’s in the pipeline at YouTube:
A new YouTube player
This new video player will be ad-free, and embeddable in a number of education apps. Right now, Edpuzzle, Purdue University, and Purdue Global have been announced as partners.
Educational creators who built their following on YouTube will soon be able to monetize their audience directly on the platform. Starting in 2023, qualified YouTube creators can offer both free and paid courses.
A great way to create more engagement with your audience, quizzes will allow YouTube creators to test their subscribers’ knowledge.
Some of these features, like Quizzes, will enter beta in the next few months, while all of them should be available sometime in 2023. It seems like YouTube is going to give other educational platforms a run for their money pretty soon.
Who are some great educational creators on YouTube?
Although the features that’ll turn YouTube into major competition for services like Skillshare are still on the horizon, there’s already a host of educational creators on the platform. According to YouTube’s own data, 93% of its users use it to get educated on something or other. Here are just a few of the creators serving that audience.
This channel is the brainchild of Derek Muller, an Australian-Canadian creator with a Ph.D. in physics education research, making him uniquely suited to a career as an educational creator. While his content often covers physics and the other sciences, he won’t shy away from other topics, like talking about what it takes to be an expert in something.
Are you an aspiring mathematician? Or maybe you’re trying to get up to speed on a specific topic, quietly grumbling that your geometry teacher was right in the end? Either way, this educational creator’s videos use animation to visually explain all sorts of topics, from the simple to the complex. If you’re a visual learner, this is the YouTube channel for you.
This channel is the creation of Mitch Moffit and Greg Brown, who both studied biological science during university. Much of their content is scientific in nature, with topics ranging from robotics to napping to the dreaded doom-scrolling.
This channel is one of the closest things to a one-stop shop you’ll find on YouTube for all sorts of topics. Started and operated by Sal Khan, this channel has over 6,500 videos covering topics that range from sewage treatment, to how the science of embryology proves the theory of evolution.
If you’re an aspiring history buff with a special interest in military history, check out this channel created by Daniel Turner. Whether you’re inspired by the intense tenacity of Spartan recruits, or the strange weaponry that came out of World War I, the animated content on this channel will have you spewing esoteric historical facts in no time.
Richard Coffin, the man behind The Plain Bagel, is a Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Financial Planner. He breaks down all sorts of financial topics, from how bankruptcy works to why betting on meme stocks is usually a bad idea.
How to become an educational creator
Are you feeling motivated to join YouTube’s educational creators? While there’s a ready-made audience out there waiting for your content, there are a few things you need to take care of before you can hit the ground running.
Choose your topic
While many content creators have channels that cover a broad range of subjects, they usually pick one topic and build around it. Many of them also choose a topic they’re already familiar with, whether that’s from professional experience or passionate research. Here are some of the most popular educational topics on YouTube:
Science: Whether you’re into blowing things up — or “physics,” as the nerds call it — or breaking down the human body’s strangest processes, this is a topic that will give you a lot to work with.
Finance: Budgeting, credit ratings, and even investment strategy are at the core of a ton of content on YouTube. If you can bring your own angle to this, you could build a very successful channel.
History: You can specialize in a specific historical period, or an aspect that’s shared between all periods, like cooking or warfare.
Math: Create content about math and you’ll get eyeballs from young people trying to get their heads around their homework, and adults who’ve realized just how much algebra they’ve forgotten.
Philosophy: While there’s no shortage of videos covering the writings of Marcus Aurelius and Plato, you could potentially find a niche in lesser-known philosophers.
Brush up on your research skills
One of the most important parts of an educational content creator’s process is research. The last thing you want to do is spend hours and hours working on a single video, only to discover you have to start over because you missed an important factoid.
While looking things up on Wikipedia is a great way to get a high-level overview of all kinds of topics, you’ll want to go deeper if you want to be an educational content creator. Get familiar with your local library, check out documentaries, and learn how to use tools like Google Scholar.
Make sure your video creation skills are on point
Even if knowledge and experience are great assets for any content creator, it’s still crucial that they know how to make videos that people love to binge. Whether you want to go for the talking-head-at-a-desk style of video creation, or create animations for each video, you’ll need to pick a style and get good at it.
If video creation isn’t already a skill in your repertoire, there are tons of videos and courses online that’ll help you make it so. Just make sure to spend some time building up your abilities, so the quality of your content reflects all the hard work you put into it.
Refine your craft
Content creators might just be some of the most multi-faceted people out there. They have to be good at filming, editing, research, marketing, and the list goes on. If you want to make a career out of content creation, you’ll need to be continually working to improve your skills. Take courses to shore up your weaknesses, make sure you improve on your strengths, and don’t hesitate to step outside your comfort zone to acquire new skills.
Lesson number one
Educational content creation is a huge market, and YouTube’s upcoming changes only seem to be confirming this. While free and paid courses, Quizzes, and more likely won’t be available on YouTube until 2023, there’s a lot you can do right now if you’ve dreamed of using your skills to share your knowledge with others. Stay tuned for when you’ll have access to YouTube’s new features, and work on creating fantastic content until then.