Creator Educators - Redefining Education in the Digital Age
August 24, 2023
10 min read
In the ever-evolving landscape of education, a new breed of educators is emerging - the 'Creator Educators.' These innovative teachers are embracing technology and becoming content creators to redefine traditional education. The COVID-19 pandemic drove more people online than ever, be it to study, work, socialize or entertain. With the rise of digital platforms and the need for engaging and personalized learning experiences, creator educators are paving the way for a more dynamic and effective approach to teaching and learning.
According to a global study run by Adobe, there is an army of content creators out there. Based on the nature of their content, they're likely to fall into either of these categories: creator entertainers, or creator educators. And as the names suggest, while the former create content to entertain their followers (through their slick dance moves or painless fashion hacks), the latter use their content to educate their audience and teach them something new.
A creator educator is someone who actively creates and publishes educational content online, sharing his or her expertise and knowledge in different fields through online platforms to educate, train and upskill audiences with new information and competencies. Creator educators leverage technology and creative tools to produce educational materials such as videos, infographics, interactive presentations, podcasts, online courses, blogs and other multimedia resources to educate as well as entertain their viewers.
In recent years, we have witnessed a significant shift in the role of educators. Many teachers are now taking on the role of content creators, producing interactive and engaging learning materials online. This transformation has been fueled by several factors, including the widespread availability of technology in the classroom, the rise of online learning platforms, and the increasing demand for innovative teaching methods.
The widespread availability of technology, such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and high-speed internet, has transformed the way we access and consume information. With the rise of digital tools and platforms, educators have new opportunities to create and deliver content in innovative ways.
Democratized knowledge refers to knowledge and information that is accessible and available to a wider part of the population, regardless of their background and financial status. With the almost omnipresent access to smartphones and the widespread availability of the internet, democratization of knowledge is becoming possible. Video-sharing platforms, like YouTube, Instagram Reels and TikTok, for example, allow anyone with internet access to create and watch content for free. This gives creator educators a chance at sharing their content to a global audience, eliminating any geographical barriers.
In today's fast-paced, ever-evolving economy, individuals must continuously enhance their knowledge and abilities to remain competitive in the job market, a process commonly referred to as reskilling and upskilling. Since not everyone can access formal online degree programs or certification courses, many are now seeking self-education opportunities from the convenience of their homes. Individuals are now turning to social media and online platforms to find educational content that suits their requirements and supports career advancement - from the comfort of their homes, often at no additional cost.
With the different styles of learning and learners being acknowledged and recognized, the need to shift from traditional to more engaging, hands-on and personalized methods of learning is rapidly growing. Take, for example, bite-sized learning and gamification, two of the biggest trends impacting education technology in the new year. Creator educators develop materials and resources that cater to different learning needs and preferences, ensuring a more effective and enjoyable learning experience for students.
Chartered Accountant, published author and TedX speaker, Sarthak Ahuja, creates insightful micro-content on topics such as startups, business, marketing and consumer psychology among many others. His crisp, concise and creative videos enable viewers to learn a great deal about the world of business and finance in only a couple of minutes.
Thanks to the internet, we can now access varied content from across the globe at the click of a button. Be it day or night, be it from the comfort of your couch or simply while traveling to and from work, creator educators allow people to access educational content of their choice at their fingertips, making all kinds of knowledge accessible anytime, anywhere. And of course, creator educators can also make the most of this barrierless digital world to reach audiences in different parts of the world.
#LearnOnTikTok, an initiative introduced by TikTok in 2020 during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed to promote educational content on the platform as people struggled to grasp the idea of isolating at home. To support this endeavor, TikTok allocated $50 million to establish the Creative Learning Fund, which facilitated collaborations with prominent figures like Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Tyra Banks, as well as museums, educational brands, and smaller creators. Together, they delivered informative content under the #LearnOnTikTok hashtag, which has accumulated over 360 billion views. Notably, subjects like personal finance, health, and science have garnered significant attention from the platform's users during this campaign.
Learners can choose content that aligns with their specific interests and needs, tailoring their learning experience to suit their individual preferences and learning styles. A doctor can learn how to embroider, a dancer can delve into the world of quantum physics, and an engineer with a passion and knowledge of painting techniques can share his hobby with the world and monetize it. The best part - you choose when you learn. Educational content is readily available online, making it accessible to a broad audience with internet connectivity. Whether you dedicate a couple hours every weekend or learn over the Christmas break, the content is ready when you are!
Creator educators can quickly create and share content, allowing for the dissemination of the latest information and updates. This real-time aspect ensures learners have access to current and relevant content.
Robert Ross (@tik.stocks) advances his decade-long financial analysis experience and expertise on TikTok to educate younger people on healthy investing habits. He uploads videos analyzing his positions in stocks like Palantir, Alibaba, and Snowflake, while also giving his thoughts on the latest market trends to his 220k+ followers.
Digital content allows learners to access a wide range of perspectives and insights from individuals with different backgrounds and expertise. This diversity enriches the learning process and provides learners with multiple viewpoints. It can also cater to learners from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds, fostering inclusivity.
Otis Jones teaches American Sign Language (ASL) to his 650k+ TikTok followers. Leveraging the power of TikTok and his massive audience, he hopes to make ASL more ubiquitous and also contribute to the well-being of the deaf community.
Japanese creator Shogo takes his followers and viewers on a virtual journey through his birthplace Japan, sharing its history, culture, social problems and taboos, fostering their love and curiosity for language and culture.
Creator educators often employ creative and interactive formats, such as videos, infographics, and quizzes, enhancing learner engagement and retention of information.
Cool Chemistry Guy (@coolchemistryguy) on TikTok makes the subject fun and accessible for his 3.1M followers by conducting fun, easy-to-follow experiments and explaining the reasons for the chemical reactions in his videos. He also links to further resources that his followers can access to build on their learning.
Creator-generated content empowers educators to share their knowledge and expertise with a broader audience. Simultaneously, learners can become content creators themselves, contributing to the educational community.
Anyone can create content online, and while this offers numerous opportunities and benefits to the many involved, ensuring the reliability and credibility of the content becomes a challenge. In the absence of editorial control, user-generated content (original content created by customers and published on digital platforms) may contain misinformation, inaccuracies, or outdated information, leading to potential confusion among learners. It would be wise to not blindly trust everything one sees on social media and other online platforms, and do your due diligence before following a creator educator.
The effectiveness of online learning, at the end of the day, depends on the effectiveness of technology. People may be restricted from accessing the internet and the right equipment for various reasons; different countries impose different internet regulations, not all people have internet access privileges and some may not be able to afford devices like smartphones or tablets. Online content may not always be accessible to individuals with disabilities or those from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds, leading to exclusionary learning experiences. Lastly, online content requires ongoing maintenance and updating to remain relevant and accurate, which can be a challenge if contributors lose interest or are not committed to keeping the content up-to-date.
Online courses and educational content do not provide learners with a chance to connect and communicate directly with educators or peers. Online instructional content may not offer the same level of interactivity for those who prefer to personally unite and collaborate with others and share ideas and opinions, in turn impacting learner engagement and overall effectiveness. Online educational content is often scattered across different platforms and lacks a structured learning path, making it challenging for learners to progress in a systematic manner. Moreover, it may not include comprehensive assessments or feedback mechanisms, hindering the ability to gauge learners' progress accurately.
While digital educational content offers numerous benefits, addressing these challenges requires careful curation, effective moderation, and proper support to ensure that learners can access high-quality and reliable educational material.
Becoming a creator-educator involves embracing creativity, technology, and a learner-centric approach to enhance your teaching practices. Here are some steps to guide you on your journey to becoming a creator educator.
Start by identifying your areas of expertise in education. What subjects or topics do you excel in, and what teaching methods do you find most engaging? Focusing on your strengths will make content creation more enjoyable and impactful, for both you as well as your audience.
Renowned tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou has taken his passion and extensive knowledge of the sport to Instagram and YouTube where he shares useful tips and player analyses. With more than 980k Instagram followers, he shares his masterful expertise with thousands of tennis players, fans and sports aficionados.
David Suh is a portrait photographer sharing his skills - from posing tips to photography techniques - through TikTok and Instagram, successfully managing to turn his service-based career into a revenue making model.
Before starting out, it may be a good idea to find out who your competitors and target audience are. Know your audience and their learning preferences. Understand their interests, strengths, and challenges. By tailoring your content to suit their needs, you can design content that will surpass your competitors and make the audience choose you over them.
Become familiar with various educational technology tools and platforms that can support content creation. Explore video editing softwares, presentation tools, interactive quiz creators, and online learning platforms. Embracing technology will enhance your ability to produce dynamic and interactive learning materials.
An hour of planning can save you hours of doing. Before diving into content creation and uploading, take the time to develop an outline for your educational materials. Whether you’re building an online community or creating an online course, a well-structured plan ensures your content is coherent, easy to comprehend, and follows a logical path for learners, making it easy for them to digest information and progress steadily. Strategic content planning also allows you to refine the information you need to convey, and helps you devise the most effective methods to deliver it, ensuring the best possible learning experience for your students.
Selecting a platform tailored to your niche and communication style is pivotal to success. For those who prefer in-depth explorations or explainers on complex topics (personal finance, case studies), platforms like YouTube, podcasts, or newsletters may be the best fit. On the other hand, platforms like Instagram and TikTok are most convenient for bite-sized learning (like tips and tricks). Many creator educators find success using a combination of platforms to cater to their audience's preferences and effectively teach their subject. For instance, a fitness instructor might use TikTok or Instagram Reels for short exercise demonstrations and YouTube for more comprehensive workouts. Monetization abilities must also be carefully considered while choosing a platform.
While the specific process of content creation varies depending on the type of content and your method of delivery, producing and publishing high-quality content is essential to deliver to an audience that relies on you to learn and grow. It is as imperative to dedicate time to in-depth research and keeping abreast with the latest trends, developments and technologies, as it is to invest in an at-home studio setup (proper lighting, sound, and camera) to publish top-notch content. Don’t forget to add your own spin of ingenuity and wit, and of course, to be your confident, radiant self!
To monetize your expertise and craft (that you’ve spent months and years developing), it’s important to let people know about you and what you’re offering. Invest time building an online presence, be it social media followers or an extensive email marketing list. Brand collaborations can be super helpful to reach out to new audiences. Additionally, creating, selling and marketing your own digital products (templates, notes, tutorials), is a great way to make more money. And remember - your customers are your best salespeople. Investing time and effort in building customer loyalty and relationships can pay exceptional dividends.
Creator educator Jay Clouse, founder of platform and podcast, Creator Science, offers people strategies and advice to become professional creators. Clouse monetizes his services through memberships, brand partnerships, coaching and consulting and selling his own digital products (workshops and courses).
Building and nurturing your online community is the best way to build your brand and make bank. Make sure to consistently engage with your audience by organizing live Q&A sessions, conducting contests and giveaways, or simply responding to their comments and messages. Going the extra mile, you can utilize an online community platform to establish exclusive members-only spaces, such as chat rooms and message boards, enabling your audience members to participate in discussions on various subjects and even learn from one another.
Being a creator educator not only gives you the opportunity to share your knowledge and passion with the world but is also a great way to generate income from your educational content and expertise. Here are some popular ways to make money as a creator educator.
'Creator Educators' are at the forefront of redefining education in the digital age, leveraging their knowledge, creativity and technological expertise to create an engaging and impactful learning environment for learners across ages, professions, and backgrounds worldwide. As we move forward, let us continue to champion the efforts of creator educators and work collaboratively to foster a dynamic and effective learning environment for all.