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EDLAB REVIEW

Curious

by Laura Costello

October 29, 2013

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Curious is a video instruction site that features regular folks acting as educators in areas of expertise. Teachers on the site are paid per view and quality is maintained through an application process for instructors. Curious has an interdisciplinary, continuing education vibe with hits in art, fitness, tech training, and home improvement. The point of difference for the site is that excellent instructional videos are often hard to sift from traditional channels like YouTube. Curious does the work at inception and guides their instructors through the creation of a well-produced, instructionally sound product. The site is fee-based, with most courses setting students back about a dollar. To attract users, the site is currently offering a $20 credit for new enrollees.

Pros:

Curious focuses on 6-10 minute mini-lessons. Short as they are, these videos are also chunked into discrete content sections for easy reference. The video player is augmented with teacher-selected attachments like links to Amazon for recommended materials and required readings. Unlike most static video lessons, Curious lessons allow students to engage with instructors to ask questions or add comments. They can also post a picture or response video to demonstrate their learning and show off any completed projects. Videos are accessible via web and iPad and accounts sync between the two channels, so students can go mobile in mid-lesson. Curious also maintains a blog with witty juxtapositions to promote staff favorite videos.

Cons:

The video learning space is crowded, and free video sharing sites are numerous and familiar. Curious’ rich, bite-sized lessons are unique and solid, but may be lost among free behemoths like YouTube and targeted sites like Craftsy. Curious has locked down their content; proving their added value will be the next challenge.

Our Takeaway:

The recent trend towards heavily augmented players has moved video to a more central role in online learning. Massive platforms like Udacity have used video-embedded testing to promote learner engagement and Curious takes this idea to the next level with an entire course packed into their player. This type of low commitment, user-directed learning seems like an antidote to more structured online courses with famously high dropout rates.

The Bottom Line:

Curious packs a lot of learning into short videos.

Image: Logo via Curious