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How Poynter Institute mitigated misinformation for young voters in days

With mere days before the election, Poynter boosted L&D agility with messaging-based courses to 1000's of young voters

The Poynter Institute is a leading non-profit journalism school and research organization. Besides running the international fact-checking network PolitiFact, Poynter runs a variety of projects supporting public access to quality information.


Remote, distributed
Role of learner
Young voters

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▶️ Increased accessibility to a wide population segment (American voters)
▶️ Boosted completion rates of their messaging-based course to 87%
▶️ Increased detailed learning outcome data compared to in-person trainings

The challenge

In 2018, the Poynter Institute founded MediaWise, a digital literacy program dedicated to helping users sort fact from fiction. MediaWise has taught over 9 million users over the years. But combatting misinformation has become an even more pressing issue as time has gone on.

In early 2020, MediaWise launched the Voter Project with the aim of helping first-time voters to discern well researched data. As the pandemic thwarted in-person educational plans, MediaWise needed to drop their plan to teach misinformation mitigation tactics in-person to hundreds of colleges. Additionally, MediaWise seeks to ensure voters in rural areas, with lacking internet access, still have access to misinformation resources.

How Poynter ensured educational access through messaging-based courses

Poynter began their messaging-app-based learning journey with an eye on lowering barriers for learners. The text message modality made the most sense for reaching a wide segment of voters. Their 10-day course kept programming to as little as five minutes a day, focusing on the most key considerations and calls to apply knowledge. With more learner touchpoints than in-person learning, Poynter was able to monitor what was working and what wasn’t about programming on a daily basis.

Because course creation was so quick and had a low barrier to entry, MediaWise was able to present individual lessons from top reporters, anchors, and media specialists as well as their learning design team.

Learning snapshot

As the midterm elections 🗳️ approach, you’re more likely to run across cheap fakes.
🃏Cheap fakes are manipulated videos edited with cheap software and simple cuts.
Someone might slow down 🐢 a real video to make it seem like the person in it is drunk 🥴, or isolate a specific portion of a video to cut out ✂️ important context.
If what you see online makes you feel 😱🤬🤨 — you should pause to check it out before you share or make a comment.
You’ll see more in today’s video! But first, let’s test that new knowledge you’ve got.

❓Can cheap fakes be created without any software?


For sure! A video can not be edited at all and still be classified as a cheap fake if it’s used in the wrong context!
Remember: While a video might be authentic, the caption could be all wrong to shape a narrative.
Take a look at today’s video for more insights. See you tomorrow!

Impact of Arist for Babson College recruiting

MediaWise was able to reach 1,600 young voters from across the country as election day approached. 87% of learners completed each lesson in the course, an all time high record for MediaWise. Additionally, when compared to in-person training, MediaWise came away with much greater data on retention and application of new concepts . By utilizing this data, the MediaWise time was able to continuously update their Arist course to optimize the fight against misinformation through 2021.


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