We chatted with education tech entrepreneur Johnny Betancourt about “Enhanced Learning Experiences for All College Students.” Johnny’s company was recently acquired by Pearson, the leading higher education publisher. For the first time, students can now access curated video tutorials in their eTextbook experience that guides them through their courses. The new feature is available through Pearson+ “Channels” at no cost to students.
Check out our conversation below.
What made you start a tutoring company, and how do you help students learn?
Johnny Betancourt (JB): I’m personally passionate about building engaging video for problem solving classes, and students are increasingly turning towards video as a supplement for their class. Secondly, we have textbooks, textbooks have been around forever. And even though students have more options of what they used to study, there’s still certain information you can only find in your textbook, and students should lean on that. And thirdly, we have these new digital resources that are available to students. And I’m talking about things like digital notetaking, flashcards, practice problems, audio books. And these resources, when combined with the other two that I mentioned, can really help students to solidify their knowledge.
I’m excited to share that Pearson+ is an app that’s actually combining all these different categories of resources together in one convenient place for students. And it’s actually specific to over 1500 different e-textbooks. So, if a student was struggling in chapter seven of general chemistry, let’s say they could now go to Pearson+, and not only find their e-textbook, but also video tutorials and other online resources that will help them to really supplement their knowledge. And all of that is available for the price of an average streaming service, which represents a huge breakthrough in affordability and value to students
What are key learning tools to help students understand and retain information?
JB: I noticed that the students that perform the best on the exams are the ones that are able to build a framework for the information they need to retain in their own mindst. I’m talking about things like concept maps, stories and memory tools. And when students have these built in their minds, it’s easier for them to access that information later. Students that struggle are the ones that really just keep this information separately as random pieces of information – they have a hard time keeping track. And I’ll return to this idea of online video.
I think that video and other online resources are becoming really helpful tools to help students build these concept maps for themselves. So what I would say is, if you’re a student going into an exam, make sure that you have a good sequence of ideas in your brain where one idea builds on another before going to take that test.
For a student that’s struggling, what’s a key piece of advice to help them over the hurdle?
JB: The best advice that I’ve received that has always worked for me personally is that you’re not really going to fully understand something until you can teach it to someone else. So if you’re a student and you’re struggling with specific course content, actually studying with another study buddy and making sure that you can explain the content to them is important. Even if it takes a while to get there, it is one of the best ways to know that you’re going to be in a good position for the exam. What we saw in the pandemic really accelerated the use of technology in the classroom. And at this point, students are used to having a wide array of digital tools available to them. Whereas maybe 20 years ago, that wasn’t the case. And I expect that trend to continue into the future.
Check out Pearson+ Channels for more.
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