“Education as Media” – Next Generation of Content

If “Content is King” then Your Learning Platform Should be its Queen…

There are interesting phenomena occurring in our country that started not too long ago. At a pretty fast growth rate Americans have been cutting back on satellite and cable TV consumption. These individuals are referred as “cord cutters, cord shavers, and cord nevers” within the industry.  That’s not to say that the entertainment industry is falling off, rather it is on the rise.

You see, with services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO on the Go, etc. entertainment consumption is actually on the rise. What’s happening, especially with millennials, is that they’re willing to pay for TV type entertainment over the internet but, it’s on their terms. Terms like what device, what location, what time, how long, commercial free, and unlimited reruns put the viewer in control. You know, something like a personalized entertainment plan…

A couple of perceptions have also been built around this new paradigm (which by the way isn’t just limited to millennials). Raise your hand if you have a Netflix account or something similar… yeah we thought so!

Perception 1: TV and movie type entertainment options are ALWAYS on where ever an internet connection is available.
Perception 2: The quality of that content is ALWAYS good because it’s coming from major production facilities.

Content aggregators like Netflix have even created their own programs like “House of Cards” for example, popularly branded as a “Netflix Original”.
Now at this point, you, as an educator, may be asking yourself, “why am I reading an article about internet entertainment?” Give me a minute, I’m about to make a point…

Education Enters a New Age

This entertainment industry phenomenon is beginning to have a dramatic impact on content creation for education consumption, largely in part because consumers don’t necessarily distinguish between the purposes of consuming content—whatever type of content it may be—via the internet. In fact, I would argue though that when it comes to consuming education over the internet both of the perceptions are not being fulfilled by education providers.

Sure, access to education content is always on when a student has access to the internet, however, the quality of content rarely matches or even comes close to the quality of entertainment content.
And that is where educators, and the companies creating online education curriculum, are falling short in delivering high quality education and training.

Now, before I go too much further, let me be clear that this is not a stance that classroom instruction should go away. In fact, this is a general call for united reform—a paradigm shift. Classroom learning can be better supported by transforming “education as media” whereby the teacher is the ultimate director.

And when it comes to the delivery platform, the learner shouldn’t care how content is delivered. It obviously has to come over a device—a tablet or laptop or phone—since that is how they expect to get any information—but what they are super concerned about is that it works on their terms.

For instance, the learning platform should not only be able to support the teacher and distribute media rich content, it should also support a wealth of collaboration and communication tools that allow learners to be immersed into learning in a way they’ve rarely experienced except while playing Mind Craft on their Xbox with “friends” in 3 different states, Canada and England at the same time.

The Future is Coming

With faster and smarter devices being introduced each year and with broadband access expanding at an exponential rate, learners will be creating more and more perceptions and expectations about their online learning experience simply based upon their online entertainment experience. Transformation of teacher pedagogy will follow.

“Education as Media” is Coming

Whether you realize it or not, as superintendent or as a senior leader of your district you’re often instrumental in instructional, business, or even political decisions that can have a lasting impact on your district. Suffice it to say that crafting the right strategy and orchestrating all the moving parts of an online learning initiative for your district can make the difference between life long learning and just getting by. Selecting the best content and platform solutions for your district is one of the most strategic decisions a school district leader can make.

You can do it, and we can help!

Tom Winterstein, President & CEO of Persona Learning (www.personalearning.com), has over two decades experience in the educational technology and training industries. He has a proven entrepreneurial and leadership track record in providing learning and training related technology products and services to K-12, higher education, and corporations throughout the US, UK, and Australia.