Industry Blog

Netflix vs. YouTube vs. School: What Will Your Students Watch?

When students are faced with choices about how to spend their time and where to learn – how will schools and educational organizations compete for their attention to help them achieve success in their educational programs? The answer is video storytelling, which helped deliver powerful outcomes as just one part of the curriculum for the New World of Work’s 21st Century Skills Training:

  • 88% of California Community Colleges adopted the program
  • 9,867 Learner Digital Badges earned by students
  • 87% of Employers are more likely to offer work-based learning to these students

When collaborating with Rajinder Gill and the New World of Work Team on their 21st Century Skills Training Curriculum – we were tackling a challenge that a good majority of employers faced across the state of California. Many of employers’ new hires had the hard skills to do the job. But what they were missing – were the 21st Century Employability Skills like Resilience, Empathy, and Digital Literacy. And as a result, these students were either not getting hired, or getting fired within months. How could story driven videos help new hires from getting fired?

Rajinder shared that “Instructors let us know students would become very engaged in class conversation after watching the videos and would refer to the stories throughout the rest of the term. This showed us how powerful the video medium can be for making ideas stick.”

This program helped teach students the 21st Century Skills they needed to not only get the job and keep it. Many said these skills weren’t even teachable in the first place because students either “had the habits” or they didn’t. The argument meant that they needed to be “raised” a certain way. Rajinder and team didn’t believe that. Not for a minute.
Not to be put off by this rather 20th century old world mentality, Rajinder and team forged ahead into the 21st century with innovation and zeal – by designing a new kind of training program. This program was so successful empowering educators to teach and badge students with these skills through a comprehensive semester long training program, some of which included videos as a part of the resources and assessments that were produced at CreatorUp.

The videos included a narrative format that was easy to understand and extremely accessible to students from all backgrounds. Some videos allowed instructors to have ice-breaker videos on “What not to do” that were story driven and humorous, warming students up to abstract terms like “Resilience” and “Empathy”: showing these skills illustrated by characters in action during fun scenes that resembled a “Funny or Die.” style of comedy that didn’t take itself too seriously.

We also collaborated with Rajinder’s team on a second narrative series followed by exercise videos that allowed students to practice and test out their new skills according to what they felt the best choice of behavior might be in a given “story problem” for workers in different industries.

Stories in a video format allowed students to model out behavior. Stories and characters hook us, engage us, and make us want to know what will happen next, and how will it end. This is why Netflix and YouTube are addicting; and well, school isn’t. Our favorite teachers were storytellers. They could captivate the room and teach you anything by telling a good story: it’s what made you pay attention.

So why not use this powerful tool to help drive results in the classroom, outside the classroom, on mobile phones in the palms of where students are already spending so much of their time. Be there with your story, so your students can relate, engage, learn, and graduate with whatever skills you want to teach them.

Mike Tringe
Mike Tringe
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