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How TikTok Became an Unlikely Tool for Teaching and Learning

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TikTok users, have you noticed that your FYP seems to be full of people trying to teach you one thing or another? Why is that? And how did this trend spread so widely over a platform that was once primarily known for its trendy dance videos?

It turns out that this can be traced back to a single hashtag: #LearnOnTikTok. Below, we take a deep dive into the hashtag itself, as well as the broader educational content wave on TikTok.

What is #LearnOnTikTok?

A hashtag with over 360 billion views, #LearnOnTikTok is part of a campaign from TikTok that launched back in 2020, near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world was coming to grips with at-home isolation, TikTok invested $50 million into a Creative Learning Fund, which was meant to promote educational content throughout the platform. Using this fund, TikTok partnered with celebrities — like Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Tyra Banks — as well as museums, educational brands, and smaller creators on the platform to deliver educational content through the #LearnOnTikTok hashtag.

While the hashtag isn’t as widely used as it once was, you can still find a host of educational clips on TikTok, thanks to this big push from the app.

What are some of the best topics for #LearnOnTikTok?

While the best topic for a creator hoping to make educational content is whatever you happen to be an expert in, some subjects naturally get more attention than others.

While the following categories are some of the most popular, there are many other topics you can tap into for educational content on TikTok. It’s better to focus on a subject you know well than churning out subpar, uninteresting content on popular topics.

Personal finance

With how volatile the markets have been lately, and with increased interest in stocks, finance-related videos have received a surge of attention on TikTok. From practical budgeting tips to the basics of financial analysis, #FinTok and #MoneyTok videos have collectively got 16.3 billion views on the app.

@herfirst100k

We extended our Debt Defeater sale to today! Only $47 instead of the usual $77

♬ original sound – Tori Dunlap — Money Expert 💸

Health

Instead of browsing WebMD, TikTokers are now looking within the app for advice on common health problems. If you have medical knowledge, sharing it on TikTok can potentially get you a large following.

Science

Most people love that feeling of learning something new. Science is such a broad subject that all sorts of specialists, from high school teachers to astrophysicists, can find a captivated audience on the platform.

@chemteacherphil

There’s a lot of chemistry happening in an MRE heater! #learnontiktok

♬ original sound – Phillip Cook

Home improvement

Lucky enough to be a homeowner? Then sharing the little tips and tricks you’ve picked up along the way, from how to fix a clogged sink to retiling the whole bathroom, can just be your educational content niche.

@thesorrygirls

leave your “how to” video requests below 🥰👇#diy #makeover #transformation

♬ Snatched – Big Boss Vette

Who are some creator-educators on TikTok?

With a variety of topics fitting under the #LearnOnTikTok hashtag, a slew of creator-educators have emerged on the platform. Here are just a few examples.

@notoriouscree

James Jones is a Cree man, a traditional hoop dance artist, and a TikToker with 3.7 million followers. He uses his platform to share knowledge of Indigenous culture and Cree teachings, as well as to spread awareness of issues affecting Indigenous peoples across North America.

@lessonswithlewis

Mrs. Lewis is a high school business educator and content creator with more than 140,000 followers. Many of her TikToks feature fun tidbits inspired by her long teaching career, but she also uses the platform to share free course plans and other resources for teachers.

@humphreytalks

Humphrey Yang is a personal finance creator with over 3.3 million followers on TikTok. His videos serve as mini lessons about money, covering topics like how your credit score affects your interest rates, how business write-offs work, and even how movie theaters make money.

@humphreytalks

Dont let this mistake cost you! #personalfinance #interest #credit (ib: @Gabriel Nussbaum)

♬ original sound – Humphrey Yang

@hankgreen1

Hank Green is half of the Vlogbrothers YouTube channel, one of the oldest on the video platform. But Green also has a TikTok account, where he answers common science questions from “how do scorpions glow?” to “how do induction cooktops work?”.

@hankgreen1

#stitch with @thebasementyard #askhank (posted by @Payton Mitchell)

♬ original sound – Hank Green

@slntwrlddd

Otis Jones is a TikTok creator who teaches American Sign Language (ASL) in his videos. Some of his content covers potentially life-saving signs, like “inhaler” and “breathe,” while in others he raps along to hit songs using sign language.

@slntwrlddd

Health Vocabulary words in ASL🤟🏾#fypシ #foryou

♬ original sound – OTIS

How do TikTok creator-educators monetize their audience?

Just because you focus on educational content doesn’t mean you can’t monetize your audience. In fact, you’ll be able to offer products and services that are far more useful to your audience than regular sponsored posts.

Creating online courses

Seems like a no-brainer, right? If you have some kind of expert knowledge, people will be willing to pay for a piece of it. One advantage of selling an online course is that you only have to do the work of creating it once. You can then sell your course passively while working on something else. You can also build courses that flow into each other. Let’s say you’re an expert in finance, you can create a beginner’s course to personal finance, an investment course, and a financial analysis course.

@the.leap

Replying to @the.leap Tap the link in our bio to download our FREE 30-page PDF guide on how to make money on TikTok 💸 Also check out @Thinkific #monetize #monetizetiktok #onlinecourses #onlinecoursecreation

♬ love nwantinti (ah ah ah) – CKay

Selling physical goods

Selling merch is one of the most common ways creators generate income. And while educational content creators can get in on this too (“Pluto is still a planet to me” T-shirts, anyone?), they can also sell products specific to their area of expertise. Take Anderson Bluu as an example. Known for his easy-to-follow art tutorials, the illustrator and TikTok creator sells everything from prints to stickers to apparel featuring his artwork on his online shop. Similarly, ceramicist Benjamin Cahoon, who makes how-to TikToks about pottery, also sells his handmade creations on Etsy.

Offering personal coaching

Many content creators offer personal coaching, often aimed at helping budding creators along in their careers. Madi Prettyman, who makes TikToks sharing growth tips for content creators, runs one-on-one social media strategy sessions off the app for those who want a more personalized experience.

As an expert in a different field, you also have a great opportunity here: specialized tutoring. Whether you’re a biochemist or an English teacher like @languageteacherfamily, you can set up private tutoring sessions and get paid handsomely for your time.

Building an exclusive community

Think of this almost as your own classroom. Instead of working in private one-on-one sessions, you can create an exclusive online community, where your audience can ask questions about your expertise. You can easily tailor this to your specific niche, too. Your community can be a group of filmmakers swapping rough cuts of their projects, or bakers looking to make your cake recipes together. Case in point: Edd Kimber, AKA @theboywhobakes, has a Patreon where members can access not only exclusive recipes, but also virtual bake-alongs and Q&A livestreams.

@theboywhobakes

A cloud of a cake, maple chiffon cake 😍 recipe linked in my bio #chiffoncake #spongecake #maplesyrup #caketok #fypシ #pastrychef

♬ As It Was – Millie

Partnering with brands

Being an expert in a particular niche means you can be invited to participate in paid workshops, or speak on panels and livestreams. You may also be commissioned to create educational TikToks for a brand. @chemteacherphil, known for his science experiments and explained-style videos on chemistry, partnered with Pepsi on a challenge video to encourage recycling.

In the beauty industry, some brands are looking outside of just makeup and skincare influencers when inking sponsored content deals. Brian Brigantti, a farmer who posts about his gardening journey and shares tips for planting different vegetables on his TikTok @redleafranch, was tapped by Supergoop! to promote its sunscreen.

@redleafranch

#Sponsored My day isn’t complete without SPF. I’m outside a lot! With @Supergoop, I know my skin is rejuvenated and protected. #butfirstsunscreen

♬ original sound – Redleaf Ranch

Those who do, also teach

Educational content is a huge opportunity on TikTok. Everyone’s an expert in at least something. No matter what you’re knowledgeable about, you can find an audience that’s dying to take in everything you’ve got to teach them. Whether you use the hashtag #LearnOnTikTok or not, sharing your expertise on the platform may just be the push your content creation journey needs.

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Nicholas Bouchard
About the author

Nicholas Bouchard

Nick is a content writer and marketer with a passion for creation. His hobbies range from writing fiction to slamming folks around the wrestling ring. He can only be photographed in national parks and on mountains, and pictures of him usually come out blurry. Some wonder if he even exists at all.
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