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Guest Post written by James Cross

James is MediaCore's Director of Education, and an Apple Distinguished Educator. He loves learning, technology, design, and things that bleep.

Today's students are the ‘Netflix Generation’ — they've  grown up in a world where video is available instantly, on-demand, and on any device. In fact, college–age students in the 18 - 24 age bracket are the biggest consumers of online video — with each watching an average of 398 online videos per month.

With video now accounting for 43% of all online traffic — (and that predicted to double by 2016) — forward–thinking colleges and universities are looking to explore the rich educational possibilities video can offer.

Students at these institutions are no strangers to video: they increasingly watch it on mobile devices, consume content across multiple screens, and love creating their own videos. Because of this, it's vital for any instructor incorporating video into their course to fully understand why video can be such an effective tool for teaching the Netflix Generation:

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Video resonates with students

As a medium, video resonates with students like no other. This resonance carries through to learning materials, too;

online video, when incorporated in to online and blended approaches to learning, can have a powerful impact on students’ engagement.

Video puts students in control of their learning

Every student is different: They learn in different ways and at different paces. We now know that the ‘one size fits all’ approach of the traditional lecture isn’t the best way to support their learning.

Online video, on the other hand, gives them the same control over their learning that they have over their entertainment content: they can watch, rewind and re–watch as many times as they need to, and revisit content at any point in the future when they need a refresher.

Video takes advantage of the devices in students’ hands

Traditional educational resources such as PowerPoint files and Word documents don’t translate very well to the devices students are using for their learning today, and they certainly don’t take advantage of the power and portability of modern smartphones and tablets.

But video does: the growth of online video has gone hand-in-hand with the growth of smartphones and tablets (there’s a reason your iPhone’s screen is the same 16:9 ratio as most video content!). Video leverages mobile devices for learning in a powerful and impactful way.

Video is a powerful medium for learning

Video can capture the essence of a great professor or instructor, which is why we’ve seen tremendous growth in online video learning resources like the Khan Academy over the past few years.

Video is especially powerful in subjects with practical elements, such as medicine, veterinary science, drama, physical education and music. With video, medical procedures and student performances can be captured and safely shared, in full HD — allowing students to learn, and access material any time, in a highly visual and engaging way.

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Online video is highly portable. In conjunction with new handheld technologies and networks such as 4G/LTE, students can access HD quality video–based learning content at any time and place — allowing them to take their learning with them wherever they go.

Colleges and universities are increasingly incorporating learning experiences outside of the traditional lecture setting — such as industry placements. With mobile video, students can access their learning materials on-demand during these placements, enhancing and enriching the learning experience.

In the time that we've been helping institutions develop and realise their video strategies, we've seen time and time again how, when used properly, video can to transform teaching and learning — both in and outside of the classroom. We compiled some of what we've learned in a free eBook about The Netflix Generation, including offering actionable strategies for engaging today's students using video, and a complete overview of the technology an institution can take advantage of to do this.

You can download the free eBook here. And, if you have any personal stories of how video has affected your teaching or learning, please get in touch — I'd love to hear from you. Follow James on Twitter @JamesRCross.

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