Anudeep Durishetty, an Indian Revenue Service officer and this year’s Union Public Service Commission, or UPSC, topper from Hyderabad, relied extensively on YouTube to grasp the complex concepts in anthropology, one of his optional subjects in the highly competitive examination. “I relied on YouTube’s Khan Academy channel to understand about genetics, DNA replication, etc. Even for understanding challenging topics such as climatology , I found the videos helpful," he says in an email interview.

The sheer amount of content available, and the free access to most of it, makes learning from video-streaming platforms a popular choice for millennials. “The duration of the videos usually varied from 5-15 minutes. They are short and crisp, yet conveyed the required information," he adds.

Durishetty would watch these videos on his smartphone while commuting to office or on a laptop. “These videos teach concepts in an entertaining manner—the visuals also helped me memorize the topic. I believe video-based learning will be an important tool to democratize education, though the language barrier to quality educative video content still persists and work needs to be done to bridge the gap," he says.

Finding the right e-learning channel or YouTube video, however, can be tricky. Use filters to refine search based on relevance, ratings, views, content type, upload date, or video duration. For example, the date filter excludes old videos while the duration filter keeps out long ones.

YouTube also has an offline mode that allows a user to download the video on their device for access later.