Extraordinary Xtranormal

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While there’s always been discussion on how to engage students in learning, Micheal T. Stratton and Mark Julien in the Journal of Management Education, have utilized a unique tool in rather unique way: text-to-video technology in the classroom. Below, the authors discuss their newly published article, “Xtranormal Learning for Millennials: An Innovative Tool for Group Projects.”

“Engaging students in their learning, especially Millennials who love technology, has been a real passion for the both of us. We found text-to-video technology, specifically the previously available Xtranormal.com software, as a unique, fun, and user-friendly way to change the game. Our human resource management students transformed from consumers to creators of content; they became the directors and producers of cartoon videos to create virtual role-plays and animated cases to showcase their knowledge and application of theory. Working with more than 200 students over the course of three semesters at our respective universities, we experimented with this software as part of a group project that challenged students to design and deliver a new-hire orientation using Xtranormal to train participants on a topic of their choosing. The results were amazing. Students not only found that the software was accessible and easily adaptive to their specific storyline, but also discovered that it enhanced their creativity and understanding of the material.

One example of an Xtranormal video created by a student team depicts a balance of realism and humor to address the serious issue of patient privacy. This team devoted the new-hire orientation to training participants on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and developed a series of very creative and amusing Xtranormal videos depicting various examples of legal and policy violations by avatar nurses and doctors in a hospital setting.

 Other students in the class who played the role as new hires found this a useful way to test knowledge and stimulate discussion in an interactive format.

While Xtranormal.com is currently on hiatus as the company seeks to improve the user experience, we have experimented with goanimate.com with similar success. We remain committed to offering a student learning experience that encourages creativity and critical thinking in the spirit of entrepreneurial learning. If you are looking for a teaching tool to bring to life concepts, theories, and best practices in a variety of courses, we highly recommend text-to-video software.”jme cover

Want to learn more about Xtranormal and how to utilize it in the classroom? Dr. Stratton and Dr. Julien have recorded a podcast with JME associate editor, Kathy Lund Dean. For a free download, click here! Together with SAGE Publications, Management INK has made this article available to read for the next thirty days. Visit JME for more information on the journal and don’t forget to sign up for e-alerts to stay ontop of the latest research!

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