India has found newer ways of learning new skills, courtesy the internet and neverending curiosity. What began as an entertainment platform, Youtube has now become a primary source of education for many, especially Indians. Don Anderson, Head of Family & Learning Partnerships, YouTube APAC informed that learning is a key area for the platform. “We get nearly one million ‘how-to’ questions, from fixing a tap to how to cook; people, including myself, are turning to YouTube to learn something instantaneously,” he said.
Here is a list of top-ranked Youtube teachers and their inspiring stories:
A dental surgeon turned teacher
A BDS graduate and MBA degree holder, Gaurav Garg resorted to teaching after shifting careers for sheer gratification. Started with coaching as a tutor, Garg today teaches over six million subscribers through his YouTube channel StudyIQ. The channel, only four years old, gets 15 million views daily, claims Garg. “Besides those wishing to appear for competitive or government service exams, we have a large audience looking for easy ways to understand major happenings including GK, news and basic source of information. We have hired 15 full-time teachers who prepare topics daily and explain them in layman’s terms,” informed the 32-year-old.
The challenges on the digital platform, remarked Garg, is to provide quality-driven content which is also well-packaged. “The attention span is low; thus, the onus of getting a student to pay attention rests on the teacher online.” StudyIQ was among the eight Indian learning content creators to be supported by YouTube under its Learning Fund programme.
An IIT engineer who lost his job
After losing his job at a reputed MNC, Sabin Mathew, an IIT-Delhi postgraduate started sharing his subject knowledge through his videos. While his parents took it as just another hobby before he shifts to a ‘real job’, Mathew dedicatedly filled the gap between the industry and classroom teaching. Today, he has nearly three million subscribers.
“Education in India remains exam-oriented and concept-based learning makes up barely 30 per cent of the curriculum. There is a huge gap between core knowledge and bookish learning, which is more prevalent,” pointed out the 35-year-old teacher.
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With his specialisation in mechanical engineering, Mathew was afraid of running out of topics, but interestingly, students’ enquiries kept him going. “I never imagined I would be a teacher. After a couple of videos became popular, I began getting requests from viewers on topics they needed help to understand. To my surprise, there was a good audience base in the US as well, prompting me to hire someone to do the voiceover on my behalf to reach a larger audience,” he said.
His process is now to research fresh topics, first understand it himself and then break it down for viewers. He uses the new playlist option by YouTube which allows creators to enlist videos on the same topic in one list. “It helps to give a course-like structure to the content and can be a real value addition,” explained Mathew.
At 50, she’s competition to millennials
At an age where most women avoid changing gears, Nisha Madhulika not only taught herself about technology to showcase her talent but is today among India’s top-most cookery show hosts with 7.5 million subscribers. “I started a food blog in 2007 and within a few days, I started receiving video requests. My tech-savvy son helped me understand internet and video production. I made good use of my free time and started creating videos,” informed Madhulika.
On advice for women who leave careers to focus on family, she recommends, “After finishing our daily chores, we all have some free time that we can channelise in doing something creative. Food was my passion and the kind of feedback I received has boosted my confidence. So if you have skills, there are platforms like Youtube that can get you followers.”
Madhulika believes that in the process of making people learn how to cook, her knowledge about various cuisines has grown. “Video-based digital content is interesting, faster and accessible anytime. These factors make people refer to a quick search on their phones instead of browsing books. I too have learnt about camera techniques through online videos.”
A farmer who started a peer-based learning channel
Growing up in a Haryana village, Darshan Singh was not aware of options for education in agriculture. A Political Science graduate from Kurukshetra University, Singh started to research on current and safe farming practices.
“The new generation in farming families is moving towards more lucrative career options or venturing abroad. If farming is taught well, it can be very lucrative too. Being educated in latest technology, such as no-soil farming, etc, is very important,” said Singh, adding, “But like me, not many farming households have access to this. Peer-based learning is the primary source of getting to know about newer techniques.”
During his visits to successful farmers, Singh started to create video notes which later turned into a YouTube channel. Known as the Farming Leader, Singh’s channel now has nearly 2.3 million subscribers. “When I started the channel three years ago, there were not many interactive learning platforms for farmers. Now I get requests on additional farming practices, animal husbandry, etc, based on which we create content. I am happy that in my process of learning, I could also help others,” remarked Singh.