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UNDERSTAND IT
UNDERSTAND IT

Learning has long played a role on platforms like reddit or YouTube, where channels like Kurzgesagt (or ‘In a Nutshell’) and VSauce have drawn millions of subscribers. But recently, there’s been an uptick in the number of people turning to social to learn: 74% of Gen Zers globally have used social to learn practical life skills, which is more than any older age group.


After a year of forced experimentation with work, schoolwork, and self-directed political education, social media is gaining new in-roads as an educational tool.


While the consensus is that the infrastructure, process and behaviour that are required to formally learn or train online are not quite ready, there’s a sense that informal learning in the feed can equip us with practical tools we’re not always able to get from conventional education systems. Out of the ashes of the pandemic, people have experienced small wins in everyday life that are pushing a new kind of in-feed education.


Learning journeys don’t necessarily end on social, but increasingly, it’s where they start – and where they’re nurtured.


This has exciting implications for the future, when digitised education will be normalised. Educational features will be embedded into digital spaces, and digital platforms will in turn improve the accessibility of education for all.


We’re seeing the start of this already. The Kenya-KAIST campus – which will open by September 2023 in the Konza Technopolis, near Nairobi – is a university that will be housed in an immersive virtual world, aiming to democratise access with digital tools. In the immediate future, though, people are harnessing digital platforms as jumping off points to envisage a wiser and more knowledgeable version of themselves.

Social media users globally are more likely to say they’ve learnt practical life skills from social media 0 than from university 0

(We Are Social, 2021)

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WHAT’S DRIVING IT?
WHAT’S DRIVING IT?
Social justice slideshows have normalised educational content in the feed.
IN CULTURE
Political relearning.The death of George Floyd and subsequent civil rights movement spurred a swell of digitally native, educational content that looked to fill the knowledge gap around colonial histories and racial inequality. Instagram accounts like @shityoushouldcareabout and @so.informed set the scene for more practical ways to learn in-feed.
Instagram creator @futureearth gives its audience a 101 on wildfire awareness using Guides.
ON PLATFORMS
Long-form formats. Longer-form formats – not just on YouTube, but on Twitter, Instagram and many other platforms, too – have facilitated greater openness to immersive long-reads and deep-dives. It’s why Instagram introduced Guides, and it’s why Clubhouse has partnered with TED on in-depth, informative discussions.
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THE BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE

THE BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE

LIFE SKILLS FROM THE FEED

From financial literacy to colloquial language skills to Black history, social is gaining traction as a place to pick up the skills we didn’t learn in school. German media brand Funk is teaching Gen Z women financial independence, while Spanish Instagram page @spainsays offers daily tips on colloquial words and phrases. People are looking to digital platforms for actionable info they can apply to daily life.

@SpainSays is an Instagram page teaches rookie Spanish speakers colloquial words and phrases.

LEARNING AS LEISURE
The genre of edutainment is thriving in this context. While @depthsofwikipedia is a page dedicated to wikitrivia, German media giant BR recreated the 100-year-old story of activist Sophie Scholl via immersive storytelling on Instagram, telling her story as though she were a 21-year-old today.
@ichbinsophiescholl is an Instagram page where media giant BR reimagined the 100-year-old story of activist Sophie Scholl.

AESTHETIC EDUCATIONS
Instagram is ideal for informing people about complex issues with relative simplicity, with creators often using aesthetic beauty as a vehicle for hard-hitting content. On TikTok, Brazilian model Isabelle Boemeke – otherwise known as @isodope – is demystifying nuclear power with visuals that are native to the platform, while US illustrator @reesabobeesa makes feminist discourse more accessible via her art.
@realisabelleboemeke

stop shutting down nuclear power plants ffs #nuclearenergy #climatechange #decarbonize #fyp #learnontiktok

♬ original sound - isabelleboemeke
@isodope claims to be the world’s first nuclear energy influencer.
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USE IT

USE IT
We’re seeing a shift from online learning as a targeted, specialised act to online learning as casual and ongoing. Knowledge is power, and social is equipping brands with the tools to empower their audiences.
Ally Bank partnered with the Sean Anderson Foundation to create an immersive world on Minecraft that teaches young people basic financial skills.
Learn from Ally Financial. Brands can assert their values by educating people on important issues. Knowledge and education have the power to transform communities and populations. When Ally Bank partnered with rapper Big Sean’s foundation to improve financial literacy among young Americans by creating an immersive educational world in Minecraft, it wasn’t just creating a learning tool, but enacting real social change.
Anna Lytical is a Google Engineer who is making coding accessible to all by educating their followers on TikTok.
Learn from Google. Brands can collaborate with relevant educators to innovate their industries. With a growing number of young people taking to social to educate their peers on industry specific topics – like Anna Lytical, a Google developer, who teaches coding via TikTok – there’s an opportunity for brands to recruit and work with those educators to resonate with the next generation of talent.