Market Overview

Cinematic Course Content Improves Online Student Engagement, Persistence and Completion


In pilot initiative, Strayer University launched in-house film studio
to create content that drives online learning and student attainment

The initial results of Strayer University's new approach to online
education, Strayer
, which features interactive, cinematic curricula produced by
Emmy Award-winning film producers, show improvement in student
engagement and persistence. Launched in 2015, the online learning
platform connects curricula with episodic, documentary-style films that
are relevant and relatable to students.

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Preliminary findings indicate that students who engaged with the Strayer
Studios platform and coursework were more likely to submit assignments
and advance to the next course. Strayer estimates that 52,000 classes
will have been delivered in the Studios format by the end of 2017. That
number is expected to double by the spring of 2018 as the University
introduces new stories and classes.

The model was developed by a team of in-house filmmakers, producers,
course designers, and faculty to help make challenging course material
more accessible to students.

"The challenge was, how do we grab a student's attention? We thought a
lot about binge-viewing and not being able to wait for the next episode
of a show. Why can't we do that with academic content?" said Brian
Jones, president of Strayer University. "This new approach to online
learning is receiving positive initial feedback, which has important
implications about how the Strayer Studios approach can improve student
outcomes long-term."

Despite the rapid growth of online education, students who take online
courses can
often lag
behind their in-class-only peers in performance and degree
attainment. Strayer designed its Studios curriculum to change this
trajectory by creating course content that students would actively
seek—leading to the concept of television-style, binge-worthy content.

The Strayer Studios platform also provides real-time data about each
student interaction with the course material, enabling Strayer to
promptly incorporate feedback and adapt course material much faster,
often immediately. Initial findings include:

  • Increased Student Engagement – Student participation and
    submission of course material improves and is sustained throughout the
    term. Typically, viewership of online educational videos starts out
    high, and then declines, but approximately 85 percent of students
    watch Strayer Studios videos from beginning to end through the course.
    The average Strayer Studios course saw a 6.3 percent increase in
    submitted coursework (quizzes, discussion forum responses).
  • Improved Long-Term Retention Rates – In every pilot Strayer
    Studios course, more students progressed toward degree attainment
    compared to students who were engaged in traditional coursework. In
    those pilots, student persistence to the next quarter increased 5.5
    percent when students were served Strayer Studios content.
  • Consistency in Student Attendance – The average Strayer Studios
    course saw 10 percent fewer students dropping the course - a critical
    data point given drop rates are higher among the non-traditional
    student population.
  • Student Satisfaction – Students gave Studios courses an 88
    percent or higher rating on whether the courses provided effective
    real world examples, were intellectually challenging or were effective
    overall. The data was compiled from a survey of 21,737 students who
    took Strayer Studios courses; the survey received 2,011 responses.

For more information about Strayer Studios and the Outcomes Report

About Strayer University: Founded in 1892, Strayer
University is an institution of higher learning for working adult
students. It offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in
business administration, accounting, information technology, education,
health services administration, nursing, public administration, and
criminal justice. Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States
Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA,
19104 (267-284-5000,
The Commission is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by
the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education
Accreditation. For more information, visit

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