Learning doesn’t end when the school bells ring or you receive that much-anticipated diploma. But learning does become infinitely more difficult without structure or professors to pave the path, especially when most of our lives are already filled with scrabbling to fill the bank, make the bills, and somehow entertain ourselves in the meantime. So how do we fill the gap, successfully? How do we increase our knowledge of the world outside of school without emptying our pockets or committing to it too much time?
Easy. Meet “Crash Course,” the video series first created by Hank and John Green (VlogBrothers). Launched in 2012 with YouTube funding (later to be provided by Subbable-Patreon), the series offered courses on the humanities and science in bite-sized pieces. Each video was no more than 20 minutes long and was filled with colorful animations (thanks, Thought Bubble-Thought Café) and digestible information paired with memorable humor. In 2014 Crash Course partnered with PBS Digital Studios, introducing three new hosts and four more courses.
Fast-forward to 2017, and the YouTube channel offers more than 15 courses with almost as many hosts, including Phil Plait for Astronomy and Andre Meadows for Games. Courses range from Philosophy and Mythology to Economics and Chemistry, but every single one of them holds to the Crash Course formula: quick videos, bright visualizations, and clever jokes. If you’ve ever seen someone sporting a shirt that says “Mongols Are The Exception,” you can thank Crash Course World History for that.
But here’s the deal. Crash Course isn’t only exceptional because it boasts pretty pictures and sometimes makes us laugh. Nor is it particularly exceptional in that it makes short videos. Anyone can do that, right? To understand the true difference that sets Crash Course apart, we have to take a look at their statement of purpose.
“At Crash Course, we believe that high quality educational videos should be available to everyone for free. The Crash Course team has produced more than 15 courses to date, and these videos accompany high school and college level classes ranging from the humanities to the sciences. Crash Course transforms the traditional textbook model by presenting information in a fast-paced format, enhancing the learning experience.” –Crash Course
And that’s exactly what Crash Course does. Every video is wholly educational. Every video is fast-paced. And every video is free. Crash Course lives on YouTube currently, and their entire collection of videos is a gold-mine of free self-educational material- at its very best. We’re not exaggerating. Watch the original Crash Course World History series hosted by John Green and try to tell us that you knew just about anything they talked about. After watching it? You will. And you’ll remember most of it.
Even when we’re in school we often miss important details, or sometimes those important details aren’t provided to us. When we leave school? Much of the information we learned falls readily out of our minds. But knowing your basic world history, your basic astronomy, your basic sociology as an adult? That’s priceless. And Crash Course makes it incredibly easy and accessible to regain what we’ve lost and to learn plenty anew. And for those currently in school, it’s a tremendous supplement to what is already being taught in class.
In a day and age where misinformation and fake news runs amuck, it’s breathtakingly important to have resources that commit themselves to providing truly honest and accurate education. Crash Course does that for us, and for free. We’re grateful.