The All-Time Greatest Education Hits on YouTube

For years now, YouTube has been a great resource of incredible educational videos, from scientific wonders to inspirational commencement speeches. And while there’s no shortage of great educational videos to check out, some have really stood out as runaway hits, attracting millions of views and attention from around the world. Check out our list to find several of the most notable, popular, and amazing educational hits on YouTube today.

  • Cobra vs. Mongoose:

    The National Geographic YouTube channel is one of the most popular educational channels, boasting plenty of videos with millions of viewers. But the single most popular of them all is Cobra vs. Mongoose, with nearly 35 million views of the epic battle between mongoose and cobra.

  • Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams:

    Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch died in 2008, but before his death, he delivered an incredibly powerful last lecture on achieving your goals that still resonates today. It has been so incredibly popular, with 15.2 million hits and growing, that it’s been turned into a best-selling book that’s been published in more than 35 different languages, sharing Pausch’s inspirational story with the world.

  • Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address:

    Steve Jobs holds a special place in the hearts of many: Pixar fans, Apple followers, and tech geeks everywhere. So it’s no wonder that his inspirational 2005 Stanford commencement speech is still gathering millions of hits, with more than 15.3 million today. In this speech, Jobs shares life lessons from pivotal moments in his life, encouraging graduates to pursue their dreams and find opportunity in setbacks.

  • ‘Holy Smokes’ Hurricane Dean from Space:

    What does a hurricane look like from space? Join more than one million other viewers as you check out this video from NASA crewmembers marveling at the size of a potential Category 5 storm.

  • HUGE explosion on the Sun on June 7, 2011:

    Did you know that the sun can actually explode? Thanks to this educational video from The Bad Astronomer, now nearly 1.6 million people know what it looks like. The Sun’s eruption was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory on ultraviolet camera, colored orange for viewing.

  • Walter Lewin’s Classic Mechanics, Fall 1999:

    Why would more than one million people want to watch a video about physics on YouTube? Because at the hands of the skilled MIT professor Walter Lewin, physics is kind of amazing. With enthusiasm and a fun teaching style, Lewin delivers an engaging 38-minute lecture on physics concepts including powers of ten, units, dimensions, and measurements.

  • Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?:

    This video from Harvard University explores the moral side of murder, and it’s attracted a following of more than four million viewers. Professor Michael Sandel’s lecture of moral reasoning discusses killing to save the lives of others, and asks interesting questions of its viewers.

  • Bill Gates Speech at Harvard:

    Bill Gates may have dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft, but he came back to share the secrets of his success with graduates in 2007. He urged graduates to change the world, telling them to “address the world’s deepest inequities,” particularly in health and social inequalities. With more than 3.5 million viewers, we know his words have had an impact far beyond the university.

  • Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?:

    In this brilliant TED talk, Sir Ken Robinson explains what’s wrong with schools, explaining how they kill creativity, and sharing his plan for an educational system that nurtures creativity. This video has been wildly popular, inspiring 3.8 million viewers to consider an educational world that opens up the doors to creative learning.

  • Bill Nye: Creationism is Not Appropriate for Children:

    Educational science favorite Bill Nye “the science guy” shares why evolution education is so important. Drawing on knowledge from Carl Sagan, Nye makes the case for why evolution is necessary learning, and more than 4.7 million viewers have listened.

  • The Hubble Deep Field: The Most Important Image Ever Taken:

    Over four and a half million people have viewed this video, getting to check out the image of a millennium captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2003. Join in to learn more about our place in the universe and understand why this image is so important.

  • Simple Equations:

    The Khan Academy has many incredibly popular educational videos on YouTube, explaining topics from math and finance to language. But Simple Equations is the academy’s most popular video, with more than 1.3 million viewers learning about simple equations in a short 11-minute lesson.

  • The Known Universe by AMNH:

    Want to know everything so far about the universe? Check out this very popular video from the American Museum of Natural History, offering a look at the Big Bang, Himalayas, and the inky black of space. You’ll be joining more than 10.6 million enlightened viewers.

  • The Most IMPORTANT Video You’ll Ever See:

    Like Walter Lewin, University of Colorado lecturer Albert Bartlett makes arithmetic incredibly important in this video. Check it out to see why 4.5 million viewers have enjoyed what he has to say about arithmetic.

  • 500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art:

    Explore the women of Western art in this creative educational video as portrait after portrait is morphed into the next with a musical accompaniment from Bach. This video has wowed more than 12.7 million viewers, and has been nominated as Most Creative Video for the Annual YouTube Awards. It’s certainly a fun and visually engaging way to learn about the history of female portraits.

  • A Fair(y) Use Tale:

    Think you’re the only one confused by copyright laws? You’re not alone! This Disney parody explaining copyright and fair use has 13.7 million viewers and growing. Offering an informative look at copyright principles, this is a fun and educational video to enjoy.

  • Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes – The Joy of Stats:

    Thanks to this video from Hans Rosling and the BBC, more than 5.4 million viewers now know the joy of stats. Watch as Rosling combines public data with an engaging style, sharing development of the world in the past, present and future.