What are some of the best YouTube channels for learning?

Answer by Deepak Mehta:

I have taken this answer from an earlier post of mine on the University of Quora blog.


Here's a list of around 65-70 channels you should subscribe to, sorted according to interests.

Index:

  1. Serious learning (including official college courses and other MOOCs)
  2. Science and mathematics
  3. Nature
  4. Space
  5. History
  6. Technology
  7. Literature
  8. Real news
  9. Varied interests (Channels that create content spread over multiple topics)
  10. Niche interests (Arts, Finance, Philosophy, Travel, Food, Magic, Farming)
  11. Fun while learning (Videos that are informative as well as fun to watch)


A. Serious learning

A.1. College courses

  1. Yale Courses – The official channel of Yale offers full length lectures on various topics, by some of the world's leading and most-respected experts.

    The lectures are beautifully arranged and sorted as classes.

    To start, you can check out the series on Financial markets by Robert J. Shiller – a 2013 Nobel prize winner in Economics for his work on "empirical analysis of asset prices".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQui_3Hpmmc&list=PL8FB14A2200B87185&index=1

  2. MIT OpenCourseWare – Similar to Yale Courses, here's the official channel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  3. GreshamCollege A collection of full video lectures and some interesting shorts by Gresham College, uploaded so that everyone can learn for free.

A.2. Other official courses

  1. Khan Academy – The official channel of the first true online educator, Salman Khan, that started off as simple videos for his niece.

    *Subject-wise assorted playlists*

A.3. Everything else

  1. BIO – A collection of biographies of some of the most famous people from all spheres of life.

    *Sorted playlists – Olympic medalists, Oscar winners,  actors, politicians, athletes et al*

  2. DOCUMENTARY TUBE – A collection of full-length documentaries.
  3. Big Think – showcasing content that is actually relevant, analyzing the same, and featuring some of the most well-known thinkers of our time – Bill Nye, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Stephen Fry.

B. Science and Mathematics

  1. Applied Science – Focusing more on the practical application of science rather than the theoretical, Applied Science does some really quirky videos like building an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) or the electron microscope image of a vinyl LP.
  2. Minute Physics – Explaining some basic concepts as well as some of the most FAQs related to science with the help of hand drawn animation, in videos of less than 4-5 mins. Perfect for the less patient ones.

    They also provide some definitive Quora-type answers. For example, this video that proves that running in the rain is better than walking if you can find a shelter before the rain stops. Else, both are the same.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MqYE2UuN24

  3. SciShow – Keeping you abreast of what is happening in Science, SciShow does a good job of combining news, theories, and random facts.
  4. Naked Science – Don't go by the name; it is a perfectly SFW channel. It is named so because it tries to unravel some of the mysteries and secrets of science.
  5. ASAP Science – Similar to Minute Physics in almost all respects. The only difference being that their horizon is broader and includes biology, philosophy, neurology and other fields.
  6. MinuteEarth – Part of the same family as MinutePhysics, MinuteEarth does a similar style of videos, but this time focusing on everything related to nature – biology, ecology, genetics etc.
  7. Sixty Symbols – A collection of random, fun videos about mostly Physics and Astronomy.
  8. StarTalk RadioNeil deGrasse Tyson talks about everything science.
  9. Veritasium – A play on the word, Veritaserum (or the Truth Serum) from the Harry Potter series, Veritasium tries to bring the truth and dispel myths about science in the public.

    For example, the infamous myth that no person can stay in a perfect Anechoic chamber for more than 45 minutes, was disproved, when the creator Derek Muller stayed in one himself for more than an hour.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXVGIb3bzHI

  10. Numberphile

    Videos about numbers – it's that simple.

  11. Reactions – The best Chemistry channel out there, bringing to you the chemical reactions behind some of the daily phenomenon you encounter, be it your morning coffee, or your dog sniffing another's butt.

    *I especially love their Superhero series*

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gr3ov7R89Xo&index=1&list=PLtLT74crQcwUCcR9WjXjhlxXxe_3WNb2f

C. Nature

  1. Animal Planet
  2. BBC Earth
  3. NatGeoWild
  4. Discovery

The 4 biggest nature channels on TV offer some interesting content for nature lovers.

  1. This Place – "This place" is a veiled reference to the fact that we have only one planet. The channel tried to bring to notice some of the biggest issues with nature – viz-a-viz ecological preservation, and ties it to some of the basic theories of psychology and game theory.

D. Space

  1. NASA – Stay updated on the latest events in Space exploration. And also on what is going behind the curtains with this playlist, updated weekly to offer a glimpse of life at NASA.

    *This Week @NASA*

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RyP8O_NO2c&index=1&list=PL1D946ACB21752C0E

  2. Scientific American Space Lab – Offering videos from the Space section of one of the most popular Science magazines.

    I highly recommend the *It Happened In Space* playlist.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl1VEO6Y9t0&list=PLPJAgyoV9m_NiBKQaoAOFdZEYbZ8Ihhy2&index=1

  3. VideoFromSpaceSpace.com's Youtube channel. Get a glimpse of life  in space, especially from their videos featuring astronaut, Chris Hadfield.

    *Astronauts, Cosmonauts, and Taikonauts*

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGiQZIb34_s&index=1&list=PLCE-SVF9BSTe9AhV2g-0TqsYfNHjTzZei

E. History

  1. It's History (Already featured on the blog)
    With an aim to cover every major event in recent human history – from the Industrial Revolution, to the numerous wars fought, the channel is a perfect one-lecture crash course for each topic.
  2. The Great War A brilliant channel where the host, Indiana Neidell, aka Indy, aims to cover the entire World War 1 in real-time, with a lag of 100 years.

    It is a very ambitious project that will take 4 years to complete (2014-18).

    'The Great War' shows you the history of the First World War in the four years from 1914 to 1918, exactly 100 years ago. Our host Indy takes you back week by week and shows you what was going on in the past. Learn more about the Allies and the Central Powers, emperors, Winston Churchill, Wilhelm II, soldiers, battles and of the life aside the battlefield. Subscribe to our channel to watch a new video every Monday & Thursday!

    Using a combination of an impressive narrative voice, actual pictures and footage from the war, maps, sketches, and an apt setting for discussing a 100-year old war, Indy manages to present one of the biggest events in human history in a lucid and engaging manner.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FgaL0xIazk&list=PLB2vhKMBjSxOb_127vxjaRRC7yu2TJlJX&index=1
    I highly recommend saving the official playlist that is updated regularly.
    *THIS WEEK 100 YEARS AGO – The Great War*

  3. HISTORY – The official channel of the History Channel.
  4. Smithsonian – The official channel of the Smithsonian group of museums.

F. Technology

  1. Codebabes While the premise of the channel (women slowly taking off their clothes as the video tutorial progresses) is sexist and promotes the objectification of women (and is inspired from Naked News), the content however is really good, especially for beginners.
  2. Eli, the Computer Guy For the ones who would love to get started with everything computers (Linux, basics of networking including DNS, TCP/IP, VoIP, basic Windows troubleshooting etc)
  3. LinusTechTips – Working for a Canadian software/hardware store as a product reviewer, Linus Sebastian soon started his own channel, which now has over 1.8 million subscribers.

    He reviews most of the incoming tech products, from gaming consoles, to unmanned drones.

    Also, check out his story on How I Became.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJbLHLnTrd4

G. Literature

  1. The Dictionary of Obscure SorrowsThe Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a website that creates new words; especially tailored to oddly-specific human emotions and experiences. Now they convert the same into beautiful videos.

    Just for starters,

    ambedo
    n. a kind of melancholic trance in which you become completely absorbed in vivid sensory details—raindrops skittering down a window, tall trees leaning in the wind, clouds of cream swirling in your coffee—briefly soaking in the experience of being alive, an act that is done purely for its own sake.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osrvO9Q3PtI

  2. SpokenVerse – Some of the most important and influential poems of all time, narrated by creator Tom O'Bedlam.

    *All of them wonderfully sorted by author*

  3. wordsoftheworld -Ever wondered where a particular word originated? Not anymore.

H. Real news

  1. Pulitzer Center – The official channel of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the channel features stories from journalists around the world. Stories that need to be heard.

    Start with their featured stories collection:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB3eXtBYUOU&index=1&list=PLHnHDmnHTrxf_xZqu2KSXfkQrnLQg6rcl

  2. Test Tube News News that actually matters, but is not TRP-worthy enough for channels
  3. VICE

    VICE specializes in exploring uncomfortable truths and going to places we don't belong. Herein you will find people talking frankly about their hatred and love for various things, general heresy, the only culture, travel and news documentaries you'll want to watch, tons of exclusive new stuff, and probably not a lot of cats.

I. Across varied topics

  1. Ted Ed(uation) – The TED Ed channel focuses on disseminating knowledge across a wide variety of interest fields (superheroes, climate change, decoding the human mind, governments and politics, language, mathematics, writing etc.).

    Check out their *curated playlists here.*

  2. TEDx Talks – TED Talks are great. But there are a lot of underappreciated ones, that take place during those independently organized events (called TEDx) that go unnoticed.

    That is until now. The TEDx Talks channel brings you all such talks from all over the world.

  3. CrashCourse  Already featured on the blog twice (here and here), CrashCourse is a channel run by the Green brothers – John and Hank. John Green is the reknowned author of multiple best-sellers including Looking for Alaska and The fault in our stars.

    It is the single best resource on Youtube for learning anything from World History, to US Politics, from Ecology to Astronomy.

    Start here with this fantastic series by Phil Plait, aka The Bad Astronomer.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rHUDWjR5gg&index=1&list=PL8dPuuaLjXtPAJr1ysd5yGIyiSFuh0mIL(Full playlist: *Astronomy – Crash Course*)

  4. In a Nutshell – Kurzgesagt(Already featured on the blog)

    This isn't exactly a course, but more like a meta course, where you get an erratic Professor who rambles on about dark matter and energy one day and insists on debating the age old question of "are we alone" the next.

    The best part about Kurzgesagt's videos is that they are beautifully animated. Using both Adobe Illustrator and After Effects, they come up with some stunning visuals which obviously takes a lot of time and effort, one of the primary reasons they only upload 1 or 2 videos per month.

    Start right here with the first (of two) videos on the Fermi paradox.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNhhvQGsMEc

  5. VSauce – A what-if (XKCD) style collection of videos that seek to answer some of the most common hypothetical questions asked by people.
  6. CGP Grey – Educational videos spanning politics, British history, economics and geography.

    *Sorted playlists*

  7. #Education – An auto-generated Youtube channel featuring educational content from all the educational channels.
  8. Tell me why – Why does stuff happen the way it does? Know through this series of animated shorts.

J. Niche Interests

J.1. Arts

  1. BFI (British Film Institute) – The official Youtube channel of British Film Institute, who maintain the world's largest film archive.

J.2. Finance

  1. eHow Finance – Sort of like the ELI5 version of the most common questions people have wrt Finance. eHow Finance does short videos trying to explain the myriad, basic concepts of stock markets, trading, insurance, personal finance etc.

J.3. Philosophy, spirituality,  metaphysics

  1. Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science – The official channel of the foundation of the same name by Mr Dawkings. They have videos, interview clips, debates etc of Dawkins and a bunch of his contemporaries on the subject of God, the Universe, human consciousness and so forth.
  2. QualiaSoup – Animated videos to help facilitate discussions regarding phislosophy, theism vs atheism, and the science of morality.
  3. Spirit Science – Focusing on the spiritual side of the human world.

J.4. Travel

  1. travelfilmarchive

    The Travel Film Archive is a collection of travelogues and educational and industrial films — many of them in color – that show the world the way it was between 1900 and 1970. Our holdings include archives of the renowned travel filmmakers Burton Holmes, Andre de la Varre, and James A. FitzPatrick, as well as footage shot by many other intinerant cameramen.

J.5. Culinary Arts

  1. Food Wishes – From Allrecipes.com and FoodWishes.com, the channel features 100s of recipes to help you get started on cooking.

    *All recipes sorted by cuisine and occasion*

J.6. Magic

  1. Disturb Reality – Learn a few basic magic tricks to amaze your friends

J.7. Lifehacks

  1. expertvillage – Learn some of the most basic life skills.

J.8. Farming

  1. How Farms Work – Farming is a profession slowly losing its charm. But if you aspire to have one, and have no idea where to start, this channel is for you.

K. Fun while learning

  1. WatchMojo.com – Uploading 4-6 videos every day, WM is one of the best channels on YT if you simply want to relax and also learn something at the same time.

    They have a top 10 list on almost every topic – but majorly focusing on movies, music, TV shows, books, and comics.

  2. list25 – Same as WM, but with 25 items per list, and a little Buzzfeed styled content.
  3. Vi Hart – Vi Hart is a scribbling, fast-talking, restless piece of soul. Her videos are fast-paced, quirky, and at the same time informative. Don't believe me? Check her making hexaflexagons.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIVIegSt81k

  4. Mental Floss – Official channel of MentalFloss.com, the channel is perfect for a laid back evening.
  5. Smarter Everyday – 140 videos, covering a wide variety of topics, uncovering some of the obscure aspects of science, religion, tradition, nature etc. Learn something new everyday for the next 4 months.
  6. Stuff You Should Know – HowStuffWorks – Know the logic that will help you make better informed decisions.
  7. TheBackyardScientist – Learn stuff by doing.

  1. Hybrid Librarian
  2. It's Okay To Be Smart
  3. Life Noggin

3 channels to help you satisfy your daily need of information trivia.

What are some of the best YouTube channels for learning?

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