As students go back to school, YouTube is equipping classrooms with some handy new features. The platform’s latest suite of educational upgrades includes a distraction-free player and a pair of new didactic formats: Courses and Quizzes.
The so-called “Player for Education” will remove ads, external links, and recommendations from YouTube videos. Other platforms, such as TikTok, have played around with distractionless interfaces. Unlike those experiments, YouTube’s streamlined player is designed to serve a scholastic purpose. It will be put into effect on “commonly used educational apps,” such as EDpuzzle, Google Classroom, Purdue University, and Purdue Global.
One of YouTube’s other new educational features seems like a direct attempt to compete with MasterClass. The online learning platform has recruited influencers like Marques Brownlee to serve as celebrity instructors, and YouTube is now strengthening its own creator-to-educator pipeline. Courses, which can be put behind a paywall or made available for free, will let YouTubers break down complex subjects into digestible, segmented lessons.
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When purchased, Courses will also employ a distractionless model. Users who pay up to learn a new skill will be able to remove ads from a Course and listen to it in the background while using other apps.
Initially, Courses are available in the U.S. and South Korea. “Learning a new skill, like how to code, can be so difficult – from knowing where to start to where to go next – it’s a lot for someone to do on their own, and it’s easy to get lost,” said creator Jess Chan in a YouTube blog post. “On my YouTube channel, Coder Coder, I’ve helped millions of viewers learn how to code and stay motivated throughout their coding journey. I’m so excited to be able to offer my viewers Courses, to help bring more even structure to their learning, provide exclusive content and, ultimately, enable them to be even more successful in their careers.”
The final addition to the YouTube curriculum is Quizzes. This feature, which will show up on Community tabs across the platform, will let creators drive home their Courses by testing their pupils’ knowledge. A beta test of Quizzes is planned for the “coming months,” with a wider rollout set for “next year.” My prediction is that Quiz creators will be more interested in making memes than reinforcing key concepts, but we’ll see.
YouTube was already an invaluable provider of free classes, and as it rolls out its new updates, it is ensuring that students around the world will be able to access its instructional materials. A Ukrainian version of the platform’s Learning destination has been developed to ensure that youths displaced by war are able to continue their education.