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="">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

How online classes help learning


build your own online video course

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” – J.D. Salinger

We think about learning a lot here at Ninebricks. Humans have been storing knowledge, teaching, and learning since the beginning of time. Monks recorded their wisdom and knowledge on expensive parchment. Then the invention of paper and the printing press came along and meant that books could now be printed and distributed cheaply, and ideas could travel far and wide.

This was amazing for the intellectuals, who dedicated their lives to understanding through study and meditation. But for knowledge to really reach the masses, these intellectuals became teachers – sharing their knowledge in the churches and temples and mosques. And the classrooms. Trusted instructors, guiding learners through their own journey to understanding.

And this is how it has been for a long time. The innovations of the past meant greater access to more people, and greater support for learning. Learning, like everything else of significance that we do in our lives, has always happened through relationships. For the intellectuals, it’s the relationship you have with the person who wrote the book, as J.D. Salinger talks about. For everybody else, it is the relationship you have with the person guiding you through that book, your teacher.

Still, as a real estate instructor in Florida, you only have 63 hours to help your students to learn, and you cannot simply impart your knowledge directly into your students minds. You can only provide guidance. Many people still struggle. We see that struggle on the Florida real estate exam’s pass rates hovering under 50% month after month.

We’re excited here at Ninebricks for what’s happening today. To us, online learning is providing an opportunity to extend the relationship that you as an instructor, have with your student, helping them learn. And that is why we work with you to create online video classes. So that you can extend your relationship with your student outside of the classroom, improving learning outcomes and improving your business.

Ready to get started? Let’s talk.

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Engage your RE students beyond the classroom

Engaging your students outside of the classroom.

This week we’d like to look at the idea of engaging students beyond the classroom and how to build a solution to improve student success.

Education is changing and so is our audience.  Students today are now “digital natives”, comfortable with using technology.  We can help you to connect with them.

A strategy for engaging today’s student

  • Accessibility: Make sure your students have access to everything they need, starting with the instructor.  Have a plan for how your students can find anything they need, as well as open communication with you for when they can’t.
  • Community:  Consider engaging with students on social media. This will create open discussions, bring out the shy students, and create a wealth of useful information.  With an active community, you may even find that questions can be solved socially by the “community”.
  • Content: With so many great ways to deliver content, make sure your students have the resources to come to class prepared, and are able to supplement their learning at home.  That extra effort makes all the difference to success.

Online video has proven to be the most engaging and easily accessible for students (it’s no mystery why YouTube is the 2nd biggest search engine).  At Ninebricks we make it extremely simple to offer your own review material or full classes through an engaging and attractive video learning platform. (Schedule a demo)

Ultimately there are many practices and strategies that your school can take to increase engagement beyond the classroom, improve student success, and build your school’s brand.  We hope that this provides a simple understanding and basics to build an infrastructure for your students. A business owner cannot be expected to spend too much time on this when they have a business to run, but with a little effort and the right tools the market will reward you.

Need more suggestions for how to improve your online strategy?  Schedule a Call with a representative.

Online education for Real Estate Schools

Online education for Real Estate Schools

What is a flipped classroom?

The flipped classroom is a relatively new concept that has been facilitated by the development of classroom video delivery over the internet.

In a traditional classroom, class time is spent with an instructor covering the material and sending students home to work on activities designed to further the students understanding of the material.  In the flipped classroom the student covers the lecture at home and comes to the class to ask specific questions, engage in discussion, and work on activities designed to further understanding of the material with the instructors and other students.

One study of college freshmen found impressive gains in pass rates using this model of instruction.  We think that it’s an exciting new idea that uses technology to help students succeed.

Data, Data – Everywhere. The data science of learning

One of our goals is improving online classrooms for real estate schools, and one of the ways that we go about doing this is by keeping meticulous track of how and what students are doing in our online classrooms.  Did a student re-watch a particular video multiple times, how do students fare on average over a particular section.  Where do students typically stop, and how long do they typically watch for in a sitting, or over a week.  How do all of these factors affect student performance?

We use all of this information and share it in aggregate with our educational partners and make suggestions as to what can be done giving the schools we work with a deep understanding of how to develop their courses.