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How Tuts+ Is Navigating Online Learning During A Global Lockdown

How people consume online educational content has evolved during the coronavirus pandemic, so how is the curriculum for Envato’s tutorials and courses platform responding?

Posted 8 May 2020
Tuts Coronavirus Trends

Many people start their working day with a coffee while maybe checking a few emails. For Matthew Cox, most days start with a deep dive into Google. The Tuts+ Manager, who oversees a network of editors and content creators around the world, says keyword research is one of the most important aspects of his daily routine.

“Fundamentally, we are looking for what people are searching for and, especially, what they want to learn,” says Cox. “At least 50% of our curriculum is educational content that, at least in part, is inspired by what people are looking for on Google. We are continually responding to seasonal trends, and either updating existing content or crafting new courses and tutorials to meet that demand.”

Which is to say, the month of March was a particularly busy one for Cox and the Tuts+ crew.  As the world entered the grips of a global pandemic and social isolation brought on by the coronavirus COVID-19, hundreds of countries went into lockdown. 

Along with that came changing work habits, which in turn affected the traffic and content on Tuts+. Online learners were no longer interested in reading about mastering their calendars or inboxes. Instead, teaching themselves converting PowerPoint slides to video, mastering the art of video conferencing, or setting up remote desktop access are just a few of the topics that have been trending over the last month. 

Hustling and Isolating

Even non-technical skills have been highly sought after, with many of the drawing and illustration resources on Tuts+ seeing a spike in interest, as are business guides that assist learners with managing their budgets. 

“Clearly the demands of working remotely have changed how people do their jobs, and for many, that has meant they need to level up their technical skills in a range of areas,” said Cox. “We’ve seen incredibly strong demand for the course and tutorial content that covers video presentations and webinar tips, as well as pretty much any content that is aimed at helping you share your work more easily with large audiences.”

Google search trends support this view: searches for “Learn to Draw” have peaked at the end of March, while “Video Conferencing” has seen an equivalent spike.  

Some of the business-related tutorials and courses on Tuts+ that have seen a significant increase  in sessions (to the end of March) since lock-down conditions were imposed across the world include:

“People are also clearly looking to master new soft skills, whether it’s for hobbies or side hustles” notes Cox, “as this trend in educational content consumption has also included many of our more creative tutorials.” These have included:

A New Normal

“And we are still seeing sustained interest in these topics,” notes Cox. “We’ve had a big swing, and I wouldn’t expect it to change in the near future, as new ways of working especially in our big markets like the USA look like they could be here to stay.”

Don’t expect the Tuts+ team to run out of content anytime soon. “Our courses and tutorials are designed to be quite definitive, to stand the test of time.”

“I liken it to a kind library for any query you could possibly have around the areas where Envato operates,” says Cox. “But we don’t buy new books, we just update the existing books. An ever-evolving instruction manual!”

To get inspired, head over to the Elements Blog to read up on the latest trends, tips, interviews and roundups

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