Many moons ago, back in the early days of roller skates and Rubiks Cubes, astute students used encyclopedias as educational reference points.

You’d have your encyclopedia books lined up on the shelf, in alphabetical order, and would use them as a go-to source for learning about all kinds of different subjects. Those books were a great starting point before taking a deeper dive into your topic of choice at the local library. 

Fast-forward a few decades and much of the learning content has moved online. The game, however, remains the same. Students want accessible information, and they want it quickly. 

For high-school and college-age students, Extra Credits, a YouTube channel with more than 2.3 million subscribers, is a fantastic source of storytelling relating to history, politics, mythology, science fiction, and game design. Each week, the team at Extra Credits researches, writes, and produces animated videos on the aforementioned subjects. The videos are typically 7-10 minutes long and are produced in an evergreen style, so that they can stay relevant for many years to come. Some subjects are one-offs while others stretch for multiple episodes, particularly those pertaining to war and history.

Geoffrey Zatkin, studio director at Extra Credits, was kind enough to join Huzefa on this week’s podcast. Zatkin possesses serious credentials in video- and board-game design, and he’s also worked in a virtual reality studio. He says Extra Credits is an educational channel with an entertainment-first mindset. It’s a perfect jumping-off point, like those ancient encyclopedias. 

“We’re not a replacement for your history class or your mythology class,” Zatkin said. “That’s never our goal. We want to get people started and inspire them to go learn other things. A lot of our videos are made with that in mind. . . .

“If we put out something on the flu pandemic or the Arab Revolt or talking about Viking expansion, these are things people might watch when they come out. But they might also have a college assignment or just be interested in researching more about it later, and that’s when they may bump into what we do.”

Students and teachers around the globe have been soaking up this online content at a rapid pace. To learn more about Extra Credits and the exciting videos available on their popular YouTube channel, check out the podcast at the link below.