Cinematic Course Content Improves Online Student Engagement, Persistence and Completion

By , in PR PR Health on .

WASHINGTON–The initial results of Strayer University’s new approach to online education, Strayer Studios, which features interactive, cinematic curricula produced by Emmy Award-winning film producers, show improvement in student engagement and persistence. Launched in 2015, the online learning platform connects curricula with episodic, documentary-style films that are relevant and relatable to students.

Preliminary findings indicate that students who engaged with the Strayer Studios platform and coursework were more likely to submit assignments and advance to the next course. Strayer estimates that 52,000 classes will have been delivered in the Studios format by the end of 2017. That number is expected to double by the spring of 2018 as the University introduces new stories and classes.

The model was developed by a team of in-house filmmakers, producers, course designers, and faculty to help make challenging course material more accessible to students.

“The challenge was, how do we grab a student’s attention? We thought a lot about binge-viewing and not being able to wait for the next episode of a show. Why can’t we do that with academic content?” said Brian Jones, president of Strayer University. “This new approach to online learning is receiving positive initial feedback, which has important implications about how the Strayer Studios approach can improve student outcomes long-term.”

Despite the rapid growth of online education, students who take online courses can often lag behind their in-class-only peers in performance and degree attainment. Strayer designed its Studios curriculum to change this trajectory by creating course content that students would actively seek—leading to the concept of television-style, binge-worthy content.

The Strayer Studios platform also provides real-time data about each student interaction with the course material, enabling Strayer to promptly incorporate feedback and adapt course material much faster, often immediately. Initial findings include:

  • Increased Student Engagement – Student participation and submission of course material improves and is sustained throughout the term. Typically, viewership of online educational videos starts out high, and then declines, but approximately 85 percent of students watch Strayer Studios videos from beginning to end through the course. The average Strayer Studios course saw a 6.3 percent increase in submitted coursework (quizzes, discussion forum responses).
  • Improved Long-Term Retention Rates – In every pilot Strayer Studios course, more students progressed toward degree attainment compared to students who were engaged in traditional coursework. In those pilots, student persistence to the next quarter increased 5.5 percent when students were served Strayer Studios content.
  • Consistency in Student Attendance – The average Strayer Studios course saw 10 percent fewer students dropping the course – a critical data point given drop rates are higher among the non-traditional student population.
  • Student Satisfaction – Students gave Studios courses an 88 percent or higher rating on whether the courses provided effective real world examples, were intellectually challenging or were effective overall. The data was compiled from a survey of 21,737 students who took Strayer Studios courses; the survey received 2,011 responses.

For more information about Strayer Studios and the Outcomes Report visit: studios.strayer.edu.

About Strayer University: Founded in 1892, Strayer University is an institution of higher learning for working adult students. It offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business administration, accounting, information technology, education, health services administration, nursing, public administration, and criminal justice. Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104 (267-284-5000, www.msche.org). The Commission is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. For more information, visit www.strayer.edu.

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Brad Bennett

Brad Bennett

Brad grew up in a small town in northern Iowa. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children.
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