What used to be a depository of cat videos and dimly-lit vlogs has quickly become the Internet giant of all kinds of video content. YouTube is now the go-to place for nearly any video you could want — and that makes it a wonderful educational resource.
Whether you want to learn about sex, learn about STEM fields, learn about cars, or learn about photography, YouTube has you covered. There’s even a YouTube kids app for educational content aimed at children, and there are certain steps you can take to optimize your YouTube learning experience.
Today we’re going to take a look at 10 educational YouTube channels that are so funny and fascinating that you’ll want to sit down and binge-watch all of the content they’ve produced over the last few years.
What Is Marathoning?
Marathoning, or binge-watching, is when you watch large amounts of content all at once. Think of it as the Netflix model. Instead of watching one YouTube video every week as it’s released, you find a channel that you love and watch several years of videos in the span of a few hours or days.
Like it or not, this is the model to which we’re moving. Having TV shows that air at specific times on specific dates is becoming a thing of the past. Many people record their favorite TV shows to watch when they want, and YouTube and Netflix are basically made for this kind of consumption. In fact, many folks — especially the younger generation — are ditching traditional cable for more versatile streaming options.
It might not seem practical to sit down and watch hours of a single YouTube channel’s videos, but once you find a channel you really love, you’ll find that it hard to stop. And besides, they’re educational, so you be comforted by the knowledge you’re acquiring!
CGP Grey is a legend within the YouTube community. His videos are known for explaining extremely complex topics (like gerrymandering, first past the post voting, and the process of becoming the Pope) and making them interesting and relatable.
You’ll never see his face; instead, you’ll see graphics, images, and drawings explain everything, which means this is very visual rather than just someone talking at you. Occasionally you’ll see a stick figure guy sitting at a desk explaining things, but that’s a part of his signature style.
His most popular video, shown above, explains the difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and England. It currently has almost 8 million views, and as an American, it taught me so much about that confusing mess of islands across the ocean.
He doesn’t release videos that often — maybe one every couple of months — but he has built up an impressive backlog for you to tackle in a few sittings.
Physics can be a tough subject to wrap your mind around. It deals with such complex subjects, often on huge, unimaginable scales, and it can be difficult to get a concrete idea of what is actually being discussed.
But physics is super interesting, and MinutePhysics has tons of short videos (under five minutes, often under three minutes) that allow you to get all of the interesting with none of the confusing. The drawings illustrate concepts that might otherwise be too abstract to comprehend.
This channel’s most popular video, shown above, deals with the classic question: What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? The other videos deal with topics ranging from Schrodinger’s cat, through parallel universes, to why the solar system is flat, and things are explained that you might never have thought to question, like, Why is the sky dark at night? And, What exactly is fire?
Recently, the upload schedule has been inconsistent, but again, you’ll find a large backlog of wonderful content just waiting to be binge-watched.
What’s that? You find science fascinating but hate that it’s always explained in such a dull way? Well, worry no longer, because AsapSCIENCE has your back.
Run by Canadians Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown, AsapSCIENCE is home to tons of videos explaining scientific concepts — again by using drawings. It’s a similar style to MinutePhysics, but covering a wide range of scientific concepts, including classic questions like, Which came first, the chicken or the egg? And, What hurts worse, getting kicked in the balls or giving birth? You can even find more adult topics addressed, like penis size, orgasms, and marijuana.
More recently, Mitchell and Gregory have been appearing in videos themselves to explain topics, giving their channel a nice diversity of content. They have a whole playlist of interesting illusions, and their most popular video (over 20 million views!) brings us back to the “What color is this dress?” fiasco from earlier this year (shown above).
Seriously, even if you don’t like science, you have to give this channel a try. You’ll find you love science after watching just a few videos.
Veritasium is a YouTube channel with such high production values that you’ll feel like you’re watching a real TV show. Instead of drawings, you’ll walk through the streets with Derek Muller as he goes to different locations to try out various experiments and test different scientific concepts. It feels like a real science show — because it is.
With over 3 million subscribers, this is no amateur YouTube channel. Derek’s videos tend to be on the longer side of YouTube — around 10 minutes — but that’s because he really delves deeply into the various questions and ideas, and explores them to their conclusion. The length makes them even more ideal for binge-watching, since you’ll be changing videos less often.
“Hey, Vsauce, Michael here.” Trust me, that’s a phrase you’re going to hear a lot. Every video on this YouTube channel subscribed to by 9 million people and counting starts with that sentence, and Michael Stevens’ iconic voice and persona are sure to draw you in right away.
Vsauce is about exploring the bizarre, about answering the questions you never thought to ask, and about teaching you something in a way you wouldn’t expect. You’ll mostly see his talking head, occasionally with graphics or images to demonstrate different ideas, but this channel is very much made by Michael’s charismatic personality.
Find out who owns the moon, why we kiss, and is your red the same as everyone else’s red? His most popular video, “What if everyone jumped at once?” (shown above) has over 17 million views. Watch one, and you’ll be sure to want to watch more.
I’m not going to lie, the word “math” always conjures up memories of hours of boring homework for me — so I wouldn’t be recommending this channel unless it was genuinely fantastic. It’s an entire YouTube channel themed around mathematics, specifically around numbers (as the name might suggest).
Numberphile’s concept — making videos about numbers — sounds boring, but watch a couple of videos and you’ll be hooked. People are interviewed about fascinating, obscure ideas that you may never have heard about otherwise, and they talk about it in understandable terms. This is math made accessible to the masses.
We can’t talk about all these other science channels without talking about SciShow. SciShow is one of the classics — it was even around back in 2012 when we talked about scientific YouTube channels, and it has got even better since then.
SciShow’s main goal is to make science accessible to everyone. So, in order to reach that goal, everything talked about is discussed in a way that even science amateurs like myself can understand. SciShow explain what anesthesia does to your brain, how to escape quicksand, do you really only use 10% of your brain, and, What happens after you flush the toilet?
Most of the videos tend to be short, around five minutes, but they often delve deeper into topics that require it (like overpopulation) and SciShow has a series of videos called Quick Questions that answers specific questions in under 3 minutes, like, What does your uvula do?
Crash Course offers the gold standard of educational videos. The production quality of its animations is amazing, and the topics range from economics, to astronomy, and from the U.S. Government, to World History, and more!
These videos are legitimate educational materials used in schools all over the United States — and for good reason. They’re well-made, they’re insightful, they’re interesting, and best of all, they’re fun. If you had told me in high school that after graduating I would willingly sit down in my free time and watch hours of educational videos about world history, I would have called you crazy. But now as an adult, I’ve done just that.
If you’re curious about a topic or even still in school studying, these are videos that can really help you.
Healthcare is confusing. And I don’t just mean the crazy healthcare system in the U.S., but in general. Trying to find out what is best for you is a nightmare. What is actually healthy? What’s a myth? How do you sift through thousands of studies and decide which were done well?
Thankfully, Healthcare Triage has done the sifting for us. They go through all of the studies, the evidence, and the science, and present the audience with fact-based videos to help inform their lives.
You can learn how vaccines don’t cause autism, how organic food isn’t better for you, and how video games don’t cause violence — all backed up by reputable sources that are linked in the descriptions of the videos.
You won’t find a more entertaining format for learning about healthcare. It’s a boring topic, but so necessary to learn about.
Maybe you have just graduated high school or college and moved out on your own. Maybe you’ve been living on your own for a while now but still haven’t quite figured out what you’re doing. If so, you might be asking yourself, how do I adult?
How to Adult is one of the most useful things out there for anyone just trying to figure out how to handle the basic things we aren’t taught in school. What’s the difference between renting or buying a house? How do you do your taxes? How do you do laundry? How do you write a resume?
If you have any kind of question about how to do something you should probably know how to do, How to Adult has you covered. This channel covers a wide array of topics from career advice to relationship tips to how to handle your mental health. For practical, real-world advice that you can use in your day-to-day life, look no further.
What Are Your Recommendations?
Obviously, in a single article, we couldn’t cover all of the amazing, binge-worthy educational YouTube channels out there, so now it’s over to you. What YouTube channels have you discovered that you just couldn’t stop watching? Which of the ones we featured has piqued your interest? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below!