Davidson Community College Director, Career Development Charles Mayer has always been a visual learner. “Through my experiences as a former college student and then as a professional working at a community college, “I benefit most from learning through visual platforms,” he said.
He’s not alone. 65% of the population are visual learners, one of the three types of learning styles identified by Neil D. Fleming in his VAK model of learning. Visual learners learn by reading or seeing pictures. They understand and remember things by sight. They like to see what you are learning. They like to watch it.
Mayer sees this reflected every day with his own students, who gravitate toward platforms that incorporate content they can watch. “Millennials and Gen Z have an inclination for visual platforms,” he said. “For example, videos used in social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, YouTube, and more recently TikTok.”
Research backs up Mayer's real-life experience, showing that in all aspects of life, video is the way Gen Z and Millennials, the demographic that makes up the bulk of Davidson Community College’s student population, want to consume information, particularly when it comes to learning something new.
Enter VirtualJobShadow.com, whose video-based career and college planning platform was a big reason Davidson chose it for their Career Development Office. The “informative and reality-based career information videos” serve as a powerful visual tool in helping students explore and discuss their future career paths.
Utilizing a platform that works for students in different stages of career exploration is also key, as some students have a definitive career path in mind, while others are still figuring it out.
Mayer estimates approximately 20% of Davidson’s 3,700 students enter the community college with little idea of what they want their future to hold. Seeing what a “day-in-the-life” looks like for actual professionals gives students the visual insights they need to start crafting their future goals.
Davidson Community College’s Career Development Office also uses VirtualJobShadow.com for students who have chosen a major, but still need to assess and understand career paths. Mayer points out that some majors at Davidson are very specific, while some are broad. Watching jobs related to their majors can help students transition from a major to a specific career path. Mayer finds the short Q&A videos that accompany every Job Shadowing Video are particularly helpful too, as they answer questions students might not think to ask.
Mayer also plans to make VirtualJobShadow.com interest assessments and corresponding videos a mandatory part of Davidson Community College’s new student orientation. This new component will help students unsure of their major start thinking about what matters to them, while giving students who’ve already picked a major visual representation of their future career.
Mayer hopes to be back in the classroom by Spring 2021 but knows that if not, that Davidson Community College can still offer an engaging, visually-appealing remote orientation that will get its students on track to future success.