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Netflix-Like Bingeable College Curriculum? (Part 2)

30 Sep

We’ve been working with the Innovation Lab of a major university to rethink curriculum delivery in the online/post-COVID age.  We’re helping to bring their classroom curriculum online, and their online curriculum to the “Netflix-like bingeable experience” level.  

In our last blog post (LINK), we outlined our overarching goal for rethinking curriculum delivery and how we were going to use sprints to reach our “bingeable” goal.  But how an innovation lab team make content binge-worthy?

Must See TV

After a deep analysis of the course core content for each identified week/topic, we decided on lessons that were episodes of an ongoing narrative (Think “House” or “Grey’s Anatomy).  Our episodes would align an ongoing story narrative with the weekly semester-long curriculum and enhance the typical lecture and textbook experience.  This would ensure that our audience, the students, would learn through experiences–their own and our characters, Toni and Mandy.

Toni is a handsome, 20-something nursing student.  He’s starting his first day of rotations and is confident in his abilities, but nervous enough that he made sure to wear his lucky socks on his first day.

Mandy is a 30-something licensed vocational nurse, who sports a pony tale and works the night shift.  She plays by the rules and good-naturedly keeps Toni playing the same way.

Each episode is designed with some or all of these key features:

  • A patient storyline (patient history and presenting signs and symptoms)
  • A pathophysiology “mystery” (a medical challenge)
  • A storyline designed around a main character/nurse, that reveals their personality and builds empathy for the character through family, romance, drama, wealth, or a career issue. 
  • Clues to the patient situation that become available as the student interacts with the characters

Making a Good Plan Great

The first sprint was a success—we had a good plan.  Be delivering on this plan was going to take more than the traditional team of Instructional Designer, Writers, Subject Matter Experts, Graphics Designers, and Project Managers.  We needed someone singularly focused on “binge-worthiness.”  We needed a Show Runner—Someone whose focus was on the back stories, the plot twists, and the cliffhangers.

Our client found an excellent one and brought him onto the team.  In our next blog, we’ll talk about how our expanded team tackled the first episode.  We’ll even give you a preview of Toni’s first faux pas on his first day.

Dwight Johnson