If you haven’t embraced video yet for your tutoring business or in your school here’s an example of a good use of video for engaging students online. VocabVideos is a new service but tutoring and test prep company, A-List Education Services.

VocabVideos is a collection of 500 high frequency SAT vocabulary words that can be accessed for a monthly subscription of $9.99 or an annual subscription of $49.99. The services includes downloadable vocabulary word lists with definitions, practice quizzes, and suggested study guides for preparing for the ISEE, ACT, GRE and high school English tests.

They use parodies of popular tv series like Lost, The Office, 24, and Gossip Girl to make the learning fun and videos engaging. Check out this example video below:

So here’s my take on the VocabVideos Service:

1. Video is effective: There are numerous studies that will confirm that auditory and visual cues in content make learning much more effective. It should also come as no surprise that a great way to target Millennials and a Gen-Y audience is via video. There is a reason they are known as the YouTube generation.

2. Parody is questionable: Overall we are huge fans of making learning fun and interactive and agree with the use of humor in teaching. Also the use of parody could help make these videos viral (see next point on this subject). However at the same time it can also be a distraction. Focused students would like to take care of business and move on. The gimmick is good for drawing people in but perhaps not the best for learning.

3. Spread is stunted: VocabVideos has done a terrific job creating valuable video content. However they are greatly inhibiting the spread of their content and business by gating these videos. It seems they are hoping to generate an additional revenue stream by having students subscribe to the vocabulary content as a service.

As an alternative I would put out all 500 videos on YouTube for free and use that as a lead generation tool and brand builder for my core tutoring business. Just imagine how some of the fun videos could spread through Facebook and Twitter. They could generate 500x traffic to their site by using these videos effectively.

All in all, this is a step in the right direction. At any moment they can open up their videos for everyone to watch and I’m hoping all tutoring businesses including our customers will follow suit and start creating some fun, engaging video content to draw more students into their business.

What do you think??


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