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Aug 15, 2016 10:03 AM EDT

Netflix For Education: A Boon Or Bane To Learning?


There are several edtech companies vying to become the "Netflix of Education." The streaming site's features and functions are believed to be able to make learning more efficient and personalized for the learner.

EdSurge reported that established learning companies such as McGraw-Hill, D2L and Udemy are seeking to become the equivalent of Netflix on education. It was revealed that the future of learning is in personalized instruction.

Netflix has made tailoring movie and series suggestions easier for its users through personalization. Learning, in the future, is expected to be tailored according to learners' preferences, interests and schedules.

However, Netflix for education can actually be a disadvantage to learning instead of facilitating it. The publication noted that while Netflix's movie personalization feature may have increased user engagement for the site, personalization of instruction should not be solely based on the learners.

This is because movies, or entertainment as a whole, is subjective. It all boils down to preferences. Learning, on the other hand, is more objective.

There is evidence that proves how students are poor judges of what instructional techniques are the most effective in terms of optimal learning. Moreover, research has revealed that students also prefer instructional techniques and formats that produce lower learning outcomes.

It was added that students don't always make the best decisions about when, where or how often they need to study. They also overestimate their memory's ability as well as their performance.

Learners are not the only problem. Instructors are susceptible to these biases as well.

Furthermore, Netflix's personalization feature actually does not look out for the user's best interest. It definitely will not recommend a movie that it does not have on its collection, even though the student might learn much more from that film.

The publication noted that companies need to understand how an effective personalized learning system should be much more than merely recommending content. It should be a tool to enhance the emotional and personal connection between learners and teachers.

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