The era of free education has begun, and access to quality education has never been easier. From Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to IIT Madras, the list of colleges offering free online courses keeps increasing every year. YouTube, one of the most popular video-sharing websites, has proved to be an excellent medium for this purpose. Several talented persons have utilised this platform phenomenally to impart knowledge to students. Dubbed EduTubers, these individuals have created a niche for themselves through creative videos on their YouTube channels that students have become hooked to.
Take the example of Unacademy, founded by Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini, Hemesh Singh and Sachin Gupta. Started around five years ago with the aim of helping students get past various academic hurdles, the quartet began by uploading videos on computer science and java. “Two months later, there were thousands of people watching these videos, which gave us the inspiration to continue working on more,” recalls Gaurav.
Today, Unacademy’s YouTube channel has more than three lakh subscribers, more than 20 million views, and around 729 videos that cater to medical, civil service and computer programming aspirants as well as students planning to become foreign language experts.
“Unacademy has become a platform for other teachers to teach. We are a team of 15 people and have more than 100 educators from all across the country helping us with the content,” says Roman.
Working on similar lines with focus on English language learning is Aakash Kadam, founder and creator of YouTube channel Learnex, Let’s Talk. He also runs an institute in Mumbai that gives training on business English, personality development, IELTS, TOEFL, skill development, and so on. “We train around 11,000 students at our institute every year and we wanted to give them something additional. That’s how the idea of YouTube classes was born. Now we post videos almost every alternate day,” explains Aakash.
Most of the videos on Learnex are related to learning communicative English for situations such as how to introduce oneself at a job interview and answer various questions asked by the interviewer, among several others. “Our videos are presented with a lot of examples, illustrations and props to make them interesting,” he adds.
However, creating videos to capture the interest of the audience comes with its own set of challenges. “Content creation is not easy. Writing the script, editing it and coming up with new strategies to present things differently so that the audience can absorb it faster is a tough process,” says Aakash.
Thankfully, one doesn’t always require a big budget to run a success channel. Navin Khambhala, hailing from a small town in Gujarat, has done exceptionally well through his YouTube channel #crazyNK that focuses on making the “best from waste.”
“I have always been interested in building gadgets and have been playing with wires and batteries since my childhood. I used to watch DIY YouTube videos which made me realise that I could do this too,” says Navin. With this in mind, he began his YouTube channel in March last year and has come a long way. With more than 5,90,000 subscribers and 8 million views, #crazyNK’s popularity is evident. Some of the popular videos on his channel include making a hover-board, a vacuum cleaner using a plastic bottle and a speaker using an old CD. He makes it look so simple that by the end of the video, you would burst out laughing, marvelling at its simplicity. “The videos can help students get ideas for their projects. They also learn the real time application of various things that they come across everyday,” says Navin.
Another successful EduTuber is Roshni Mukherjee who runs the channel Exam Fear. Her journey as an EduTuber began more than five years back when she was working in an IT company. “I have always been passionate about teaching and used to keep thinking of ways to get into it,” she says. Her resolve was strengthened when she came to know of her domestic help’s plight. “She was from a small village in Tamil Nadu and often used to complain that her kids were studying in a government school and could never clear the exams because the quality of education was not good. Sometimes, people staying in metro cities face problems as well as they cannot afford expensive schools for their kids. This is why I decided to upload video lessons on physics, maths, chemistry and biology for class VIII to XII,” she explains.
At a time when everyone has access to Internet and a smartphone, YouTube proved to be an apt medium for Roshni to impart knowledge. “I uploaded the first few videos as a trial. What motivated me to continue was the constant flow of comments and feedback from people requesting for videos on different topics and subjects,” she recalls.
Online learning has its own advantages. “It gives students their own personal space to study and enables them to take as much time as they want to grasp the concept,” says Roshni. The fact that it is free and can be accessed by everyone adds to its appeal. With the help of animations and real life examples, students are able to understand concepts better than ever.