Netflix-Like Bingeable College Curriculum? (Part 3)

07 Oct
2020

How do you create truly bingeable learning experiences? We’ve been working with the Innovation Lab of a major university to rethink curriculum delivery in the online/post-COVID age, and answer that question. We’re helping to bring their classroom curriculum online, and their online curriculum to the next level.  

In our first blog post (LINK) on this topic, we outlined our overarching goal for rethinking curriculum delivery and how we were going to use sprints to reach that goal. We were striving for bingeable learning experiences.  

In our last blog post (LINK), we outlined how we determined exactly what kind of binge-worthy episodic learning we wanted to create, and how we assembled a team of Instructional Designer, Writers, Subject Matter Experts, Current Instructors, Graphics Designers, and Project Managers, and a Show Runner to create it. And we introduced you to our first two characters, Toni and Mandy.

Once the team was assembled, we needed to “put pen to paper,” as they used to say before Google Docs, and script the first episode to see how the concept played out in a script.

We developed a collective writing process. An individual would create the initial draft, then the team would review and modify. We’d discuss and dissect as a group, then let the originator polish the final draft.

Individual and Team Sprinting

The first step was to have our instructional designer create a complete episode design— detailing what the episode was about, identifying the main and supporting characters, what the setting was, and how the overarching plot line and the characters themselves supported the curriculum.  

Our team reviewed, assessed, and modified the episode design.  Each team member added their perspective and their expertise.  

We did the same for each step of episode development: Concept, Instructional Design, and Script Writing. In each sprint, the Instructional Designer and/or Writer created the initial draft, then each team member brought their expertise to the effort. SME’s added technical details. The Show Runner enhanced backstories and narrative arcs. Current Instructors ensured the excitement of the story didn’t cause the curriculum to stray from reality. Our first episode focuses on a young intern starting his first day of rotation. 

Script Snapshot

MANDY, 30’s, fair-skinned, Caucasian, blonde hair in a ponytail is staring at the workstation screen glassy-eyed. Her ID tag says Mandy Watson, LVN. Her head drops as she nods off for a moment. Startled, she shakes herself awake.

TONI hustles down the hall crowded with monitors and extra equipment, dodging doctors and nurses. He reaches MANDY.

TONI

“Hey! Mandy, how was your shift?”

MANDY (tired, but cheery)  “Hi Toni. It went by fast, actually. I’m just really tired. But, time to head to my next shift: making a gourmet dinner of box mac and cheese and overseeing kids’ homework.”

TONI smiles. His eyes always twinkle as he speaks, as if he shares a playful secret with whomever he is talking with.  “I dunno how you do it. It’s all I do to keep up with my own classes and these clinicals…”

MANDY (friendly)  “It’s all in the time management, Padawan.”

TONI  “Speaking of management, how’s Martinez today?”

MANDY  “Professor Martinez is stellar. As always. And right behind you.”

From Episode 1 to Bingeable Series

The client has taken on the responsibility of determining how to market-test the first episode, and, if this new curriculum is as binge-worthy as we expect, how to produce episodes at a cost and speed that will meet both the curriculum budget and the academic calendar. The university’s Show Runner will spearhead this issue and determine how to enhance the series with Apps, Dashboards, Discussion Boards, and other educational tools.

We’ve thoroughly enjoined participating in this Innovation Lab. We were happy to be able to contribute to the process and help develop the final concept.

Dwight Johnson
author

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