5 ways instructors can help students outside the classroom

Student success is the number one motivation most instructors have. It reflects on the teacher’s ability to clearly communicate concepts and show how to apply principles, theories, and ideas. However, the learning experience is a two-way street. The success of a student is also equally dependent upon the student’s effort in putting into the learning process.

We know instructors always strive to do whatever they can to ensure their student success. But we also know instructors are not always there to provide the guidance or answer questions as needed. Hence, we share 5 ways instructors can help their students outside the classroom:

  1. Set small goals. Having a big goal can be daunting. From the student’s point of view, it can be such an impossible task that they do not even know where to start. This is where instructors can help by starting to set milestones. Start off with small achievable goals. We know taking on a big challenge like starting a career in real estate is intimidating, so it is important for anyone to gain confidence with small wins. More small wins can lead to an increasingly bigger win. Instructors can help be the guiding post for students as they try to navigate their way to becoming a real estate agent. Instructors have been there before. Why not share the lay of the land, what to watch out for, what to focus on, and what not to waste time worrying about. This will help students avoid any pitfalls that could cost them time and money.
  2. Provide useful tools. Going on a journey to conquer a goal like passing a real estate exam requires resources and tools. Instructors can add more value by providing the most effective ways to help achieve their small wins. For example, real estate instructors can leverage the Ninebricks platform where students can access additional review material that enhances what they already learned in class.. Oftentimes there isn’t enough time to go into every concept in detail and other times students want to review specific concepts again in more detail. Ninebricks allows instructors to customize review materials with their unique video recordings.
  3. Communicate openly. Being able to build trust and openly communicate with students are highly valued. People appreciate honesty and will more likely be honest back when they feel they can trust the information and guidance instructors are providing. Students want to know where they should focus and what is a waste of time. Open communication is one of the key pillars to a successful instructor-student relationship and is valued by everyone.
  4. Make yourself available. We are in the days of smartphones so instant access is what students are used to. Students really appreciate the ability to openly communicate with their instructors to ask questions and clarify concepts they may be reviewing. Being available is highly recommended and a big value-add to students. Something simple as having a group chat or Facebook messaging availability not only is helpful for students but is very impactful to their learning experience.
  5. Provide examples of success. Not everyone has the same definition of success but it does help to have an idea of what this could look like. As an instructor, helping students understand the various ways they can be successful can provide further clarity on defining goals. Once students achieve their goal of passing their real estate licensing exam, what can they do with it. They may want to go into real estate investment, become a broker, or be the best agent in their area. The possibilities are great and having somebody with the insight to provide those possibilities can help influence and shape their real estate future.

Even though instructors cannot be with the students throughout their learning journey, they can employ several best practices to ensure the success of their students. Ninebricks aims to provide teachers the tools to help their students achieve success in their learning journey and career.

Online education for Real Estate Schools

Announcing the Ninebricks Course Builder

Looking for the easiest way to create video based course review material for your students? We can help. Sign up for our newly released online course builder, and you will be able to easily record review materials in short segments. Your students can use these recorded sessions to study for the exam. All you need is your computer’s webcam and microphone.

To get started, go to the builder from your Google Chrome browser and fill out the registration page. Note that we are currently in a testing period and only support the Google Chrome browser at this time.


You should then be taken to the dashboard.


Choose a section from the menu on the left and then you can give your video a name and start Recording


Once you finish, click on Stop Recording, and your video will automatically be loaded to our system for so that it can be used in your online review. All done, move on to the next section.

Go ahead and get started building your online review class. We’ll help you with any questions you have along the way. https://build.ninebricks.com/register

Is a 100% pass rate possible?


What would it take to get a 100% pass rate?

We say it here, day in and day out, the best way to pass the Florida Real Estate Licensing exam is to understand the material. Why don’t all students understand the material?

How about if you offered unlimited 1-on-1 private tutoring to every one of your students? That should do it right?

I know, this is impossible. Nobody has unlimited resources of time or money to make that happen. You don’t have enough hours in the day. You already offer private tutoring and not a lot of students take it. Even if you offered it for free, which makes no sense, there would still be students who wouldn’t take it. They were simply unmotivated to learn the material so that they could pass the exam. But is every student who doesn’t pass the state exam the first time they take it an unmotivated student?

Students have to invest time or money if they are going to understand the material. They need to have the desire to learn the material. Private tutoring is an option, but it’s expensive, as it should be. It costs a lot of your time, and that needs to be paid for.

The creator of the Khan Academy website has an interesting idea. He made a website full of videos covering topics that students need to learn from Kindergarten – University level. You can hear him talk about his ideas regarding how to teach for mastery here.

He talks about a lot of things, but what I find interesting is the idea of using technology to allow students to master the topic. Technology costs money, but, it does a great job of freeing up your time.

What if we used technology like it was a private tutor. Who would be the best person to tutor your students?

How many more of your students would pass if Khan Academy could use their technology to be like a private tutor for your students?

How many more of your students would pass if you could use our technology to be a private tutor to each of your students?

We’d love to help you. Give us a call today at 407-982-7940

True or False?

credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/albertogp123/5843577306">albertogp123</a>

image credit: albertogp123

I just was looking at a seller’s closing package today. The seller was asked to certify the answers to the following questions, under the penalty of perjury.

  1. True or False: I owned and used the residence as my principal residence for periods aggregating two (2) years or more during the 5-year period ending on the date of the sale or exchange of the residence.
  2. True or False: I have not sold or exchanged another principal residence during the 2-year period ending on the date of the sale or exchange of the residence.
  3. True or False: I (or my spouse or former spouse, if I was married at any time during the period beginning after May 6, 1997, and ending today) have not used any portion of the residence for business or rental purposes after May 6, 1997
  4. True or False: At least one of the following three statements applies:
    1. The sale or exchange is of the entire residence for $250,000 or less.
    2. I am married, the sale or exchange is of the entire residence for $500,000 or less, and the gain of the sale or exchange of the entire residence is $250,000 or less
    3. I am married, the sale or exchange is of the entire residence for $500,000 or less, and
      1. I intend to file a joint return for the year of the sale or exchange,
      2. my spouse also used the residence as his or her principal residence for periods aggregating 2 years or more during the 5-year period ending on the date of the sale or exchange of the residence, and
      3. my spouse also has not sold or exchanged another principal residence during the 2-year period ending on the date of the sale or exchange of the principal residence.
  5. True or False: If my basis in the residence is determined by reference to the basis in the hands of a person who acquired the residence is an exchange to which section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code applied, the exchange to which section 1031 applied occurred more than 5 (five) years prior to the date I sold or exchanged the residence.

Wow, just 5 True or False questions that an untrained, non-expert seller relies on his real estate agent to help him to answer correctly – under the penalty of perjury. I don’t think I’ve seen as many run-on sentences, double-negatives, ifs, ands, or buts in just 5 true or false questions in my life.

A real estate agent is not expected to be an expert on the law, taxes, whether the roof needs to be replaced, or any number of other topics. Yet, they need to know something, and they need to be able to read, because buyers and sellers rely on agents throughout the process of buying or selling their homes. Just another day in the life of a licensed real estate agent. Kind of makes those questions on the state exam look like a cake walk, doesn’t it?

Are your students understanding the material thoroughly and reading the questions carefully? Make sure they are, they’ll need it. Online classes can help. We can help you with putting together effective online classes. Give us a call at 407-982-7940. Your students will thank you.

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Matching your students learning styles with online classes


There are all kinds of students that come to you.

Some of them you hardly have to tell them once and they’ve got what you’re saying. These people will take whatever you throw at them, digest it, and then respond correctly back at any question you can throw at them. Others would benefit from more repetition, having the material broken up into smaller pieces and being more methodical.

Some students are good at math. Some are good at verbal comprehension. Some are good at both. Some are not particularly good at either.

Some students jump at the opportunity to ask questions. Others wait for their fellow classmates to do the asking.

Some are afraid to clarify if you say something that doesn’t make sense to them. Some will challenge you as if they were arguing a case before the Supreme Court.

Some have reviewed the material the night before, had a good breakfast, and are ready to go. Others didn’t get enough sleep and are thinking about other things.

Some have advanced degrees and have completed graduate school. Others just barely got their GED.

Some students prefer to figure things out on their own. Others prefer you to tell them how to do it.

You never know, from class to class, what sorts of students you will have. But no matter what kind of student is in your class, they all benefit from learning together, and online review classes can help you and help them.

It allows them to go through the material at exactly the pace they need to, whether that’s fast or slow. Whether that’s once, or ten times.

It allows them to answer questions and get instant feedback. It allows them to watch the material again if they don’t get it right, and improves their confidence in their knowledge when they do get it right.

It allows them to collaborate with their fellow classmates, to ask questions, or to try to explain what they believe to be true.

It allows you to understand the challenges your individual students are facing, and to tailor your class to your students needs.

Isn’t that amazing? We think so. Call us today at 407-982-7940.

Online education for Real Estate Schools

Online education for Real Estate Schools

Should you build and operate your online class by yourself?

I just got a phone call from the company that repaired my computer last week.

Yes, I had somebody else repair my computer, even though I knew what was wrong (the power supply), and how to do it myself (order and install a new power supply). I’ve just been breaking and fixing computers all my life, thank you.

As it turns out, I didn’t know as much as I thought I did. After the technician completed his diagnosis, it turns out that the motherboard also had a bad capacitor on it. Great job – I’m glad that that got caught and done right – saved me time and frustration.

At any rate, I picked up the phone and an automated voice recording on the line told me that my computer was ready for pickup, and gave me several helpful options for scheduling a pickup. This would have also been great, except, I picked up my computer last week. And, it’s the third call I’ve received about this.

Feeling a bit annoyed, I hung up, got back to work, and contemplated how many more times this would happen before the system gave up. If the person who had fixed my computer had been making the call, I just don’t think that this would have happened. That would have been nice.

Score? Humans: 1, Computers: 0.

Automated systems are great. When technology works, it’s like your magical assistant that’s always by your side. But that can also give you the illusion that you could simply run technology systems without giving it any more thought or anybody working on them at all.

Except it never works that way. Computers may be good at repetitive tasks, but human pride is a funny thing. I was taught that too much of it is bad. But somebody who takes pride in their work? That person does the best job for you every time.

In the study of economics, shadow work refers to unpaid labor in the form of self service. Pumping your own gas. Booking your own airline ticket. Operating complex equipment without training. Sure, it sounds like it’s all fun and games, and oh, so efficient, but are there any possible consequences? A 2007 study found that 38 percent of the American work force felt fatigued.

I wonder what that number is for business owners. Have you ever felt like there just were not enough hours in the day to get everything done?

Specialists such as travel agents can be pretty helpful. Sure, it can be nice to feel like you’ve got a good understanding of what the current airline prices are after hours spent over weeks of research. But it sure stinks when you show up at the airport and realize that you booked the wrong day, that you were running behind and didn’t have time to get through the self-service kiosks, or end up on a 12 hour flight in the seat right next to the bathroom.

I hope that none of those have happened to you before, I’m embarrassed to admit that they sure have to me.

I actually used a travel agent last time I booked. Yes, they still exist, and it was a great experience. It saved me time, aggravation, I got helpful suggestions from somebody who does this all the time, and even without factoring those in, I’m not even sure that it costed me anything more. Just like you, I appreciate transparency and knowing I’m not being taken for a ride, but I also like service.

At Ninebricks, we don’t consider ourselves a self-service platform. We consider ourselves to be your partners. We’ve helped schools to quickly build high quality products that increase their revenue. Quickly, meaning, up and running within weeks – not 6 months or a year down the line, maybe, depending on if your computer-whiz, brother-in-law’s nephew is up to it or how far you get in all of those computer books you ordered from Amazon.

We’ve helped schools to quickly add value to their business, and improve student satisfaction with their instructor. We’re able to do that because it’s not something that we’re leaving you and your students on your own to manage. We’re here with you every step of the way, from course concept all the way to delivery. We support both you and your students, not with automated phone calls or politely suggesting that they search through our extensive ‘knowledge database’, but, with actual people who help them figure out why they can’t log in or access a module. Feeling supported is an amazing thing.

At the end, you get a better product, a better business, happier students, and less fatigue all around.

Ready to talk about how we can help you make this happen? Give us a call at 407-982-7940 and we’ll get you going.

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Has a student ever asked you to record your class?



What is it that a student is trying to do when they ask you if they can record your class? Is the student creating some sort of study aid, based on your teaching? It’s not that easy to listen to a voice recording, it’s hard to find specific sections to focus on or move through easily.

Could you help that student to create an even more valuable resource than a voice recorder could? Would such a resource be valuable to all of your students?

Call us at 407-982-7940, we’ve got some ideas for you.

Online education for Real Estate Schools

Online education for Real Estate Schools

Do online videos mean that we don’t need teachers anymore?



We live in interesting times. Breathless headlines talk about how the robots are getting ready to put us all out of jobs any day now. Sure, I have days where I wish that it were true. Could it be possible to just record an instructor and let students learn from the recording without an instructor?

No. Think about it this way. Facebook is an amazing way to communicate with your friends. But is it a substitute for getting together for lunch or coffee? Not really. It has a place, but it doesn’t replace.

Same idea. If most students were good at learning without an instructor, then teachers would have been unnecessary as soon as books were invented, and online learning classes would have already taken over the industry. Instead, you know as an instructor that most students find that the online experience is lacking. It lacks structure, it lacks an environment of learning, it lacks interaction with classmates, it lacks the ability to ask questions, it lacks … you, the instructor, the relationship you create with your students, and the environment that you create together. These are things that happen when you put people in the same room – with no laptops and cell phones off – not interacting through the internet. Does self-learning work for some people? Sure, if they can sit down, read, and structure their own learning and work well in isolation, they may not need an instructor or their classmates, all they really needed was the book. But, not for most people. For most, learning is a lot more enjoyable and more effective when done together.

Your students know it too, and they tell you this all the time. They could have taken the class online, but they came to class because online learning is not a substitute for teaching. Video classes have been around for a while, correspondence classes mailed on VHS, or even video streaming classes with remote instructors have been happening for decades. Nothing new here. Most students don’t like them, they never finish them, they never learn the material. When it comes to learning, you know that you just can’t beat face to face instruction. And you can’t beat the learning environment that a classroom creates.

So then why do online video?

Simple. While it doesn’t replace, there is a place for it. We think that the thing that everybody’s been getting wrong up until this point is that it’s always been either / or. Either in-class instruction, or online/distance learn-it-by-yourself. But, for the first time, consider the option of: both.

Both in-class, and online.

Do you give students handouts? Many instructors use handouts to help students remember specific points. What if you could give your students a handout that could speak to them? If they could hear it, and it could ask them questions? Making sure that they understand the material and can apply it? What if that handout could remind them of the stories you told in class to illustrate the points, what if that handout was you? I think that that would be just about the most amazing handout ever. Think about online video supplements as a set of handouts that your students can use to really hammer the points across. Handouts don’t replace classroom instruction, but they have their place.

Until now, putting together this material has always been a complicated and expensive undertaking. But, today, you can do it. At Ninebricks, we strive to help you.

The best technology has always been the technology that you don’t have to think about. It doesn’t cry for your attention or tell you what you did wrong. It stays at your side, and assists you without you even having to think about it. That’s what working with Ninebricks does for you.

And how does your school benefit from working with us? Working with us means more confident, more prepared students. Higher first-time pass rates – we’ve seen schools that use similar techniques hit 90% first time pass rates – that’s right: 90%. What would that mean for your school? Higher revenues. Higher enrollments. More confident students. More repeat business. More referrals. More knowledgeable agents entering the industry.

Ready to talk about how we can do this for you?

Online education for Real Estate Schools

Online education for Real Estate Schools

Five students who did not pass the Florida Real Estate Exam the first time


We know that month after month, less than 50% of students pass the Florida Real Estate Exam. What are the reasons that students don’t pass the exam on their first try? Let’s take a look at a few common scenarios.


Susie is getting her real estate license. She is a traditional student and comes into class the first day. She doesn’t know anybody there, and doesn’t quite understand something. A lot of her classmates didn’t understand it either, but they either didn’t know they didn’t understand it, or were hoping that somebody else would ask. Getting no feedback from the class, you move on to the next topic.

Would Susie benefit from having online review material?

Yes. With online review material, Susie can go back home, work on some practice questions, and if she misses them, now she knows that she should review the material. And, now she understands what you meant. She can ask her classmates questions. She can answer her classmates questions from her home. Just like on Facebook. Her teacher sees that there were some questions that came up, and goes over it again in class the next day. Now Susie, and all of her classmates “get it”. On to chapter 2.


Scott is getting his real estate license. He doesn’t have time to go to class, he is a busy guy with better things to do. So he purchases an online class from you. Scott skims through chapter one, answers the end of the chapter questions, and just barely answers them. He starts to realize that this isn’t much fun, and goes to work on other things for a few months. Then, a few months later, he hurries through the entire material so he can finish up. He guesses through the answers, and finishes. Did he pass the state exam? If he even bothered to go take it, you already know that he didn’t.

Would Scott benefit from having online review material?

Yes. With online review material, as soon as Scott realized that he wasn’t really understanding the online class, he could switch over to see how you would have taught him the material. Sure, it’s not the same as being in class, but when Scott is ready to take his 45 hour post-licensing class, who do you think he’ll go to? That’s right: you.


Jenny doesn’t speak or even read english that well. She didn’t grow up here. She has an electronic translation dictionary she brings with her everywhere. She hardly understands every third word you’re saying in class, but, there’s only so much you can do about that. She takes the state exam about 12 times, did she pass? Not yet.

Would Jenny benefit from having online review material?

Yes. With online review material, Jenny can review the material again at her own pace, as many times as she needs. She can keep up with the class by working harder than everybody else, to overcome her language issues.


Jerry hates math. He just barely got out of high school with the minimum number of classes required. His dad always told him to just focus. He’s just not a math person. He takes the state exam, sees a math question and shuts it out. He gets a 0 out of 10 on the math questions, and fails by 10 points.

Would Jerry benefit from having online review material?

Yes. With online review material, Jerry can specifically focus on subjects he struggles with. He can work through practice math questions until he gets it. We’re not asking him to prove Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Just some prorations, and other things he should understand as an agent. With some work, he can get this, but he needs private tutoring that he can’t afford, and more time than you have to spend on the topic in class.


Karen did fine in a traditional class. She followed through chapter by chapter, did all of the assignments, and passed the class test with a good score. But, when she got to the state exam, she found that they asked all of the questions in a different way. Sometimes she missed the question because she didn’t read it carefully enough. Other times, she missed the question because they asked it in a different way than it was discussed in the textbook. If they had only asked it on the state exam the same way they ask it in the textbook, she would have been fine.

Would Karen benefit from having online review material?

Yes! With online review material, Karen can go through the material again in a rapid manner. She’s already been through the class, she mostly knows it, but, she doesn’t quite know it that well yet. It’s a lot of material. She needs to review. The state exam asks things differently to see how well she knows it. We can’t give her all of the questions on the state exam for her to study so that she won’t be surprised or confused. And reading things carefully will be an important skill for her as a professional who represents buyers and sellers in negotiation. Reviewing and studying helps her to really get it, so that she can answer the question no matter how the exam words it.


Knowing the material is the best way to pass the state exam. How many students do you have that fit the above descriptions? How many of them are falling through the cracks, or just taking the exam multiple times guessing until they pass by luck? Makes me nervous.

Of the students that don’t pass the state exam the first time, we would venture to say that the majority of them would fall under one of these reasons. Sure, you occasionally get the student who really is in the class for the wrong reasons. Perhaps that student will eventually grow up. Perhaps this just isn’t the right career for him, I certainly couldn’t tell you which it is.

But for everybody that is coming to you to start their career, the knowledge that you’re teaching them is the foundation upon which their professional career is built. Helping a student to pass the exam with confidence in their knowledge means that more of them will feel that they’ve gotten value from you as their instructor, that you have prepared them for this first step into their careers, and will refer their friends to you and be back for more of your courses. It’s good for the industry. It’s good for your business.

At Ninebricks, we’d like to see more people passing the exam on their first try, wouldn’t you?

Ready to talk about how we can help you make this happen?

Online education for Real Estate Schools

Online education for Real Estate Schools