Anthropomorphic Characters in E-Learning #113

Anthropomorphism in E-Learning #113: Challenge | Recap

Looking to liven up a boring or stale course?

Here’s an idea: Try something unexpected like flipping the course on its head and using unconventional characters to drive the narrative.

What does that look like? 

One of my favorite examples came from a community discussion by Joe Deegan. Joe was seeking design ideas for a bug bed prevention course. Dozens of users chimed in to share design and storytelling ideas for the course.

The big idea that stood out came from a user who suggested that the course be told from the perspective of the bed bugs.

In other words, what types of conditions and environments would most appeal to bed bugs. Instead of the usual storytelling approach, the big idea was to use anthropomorphic bugs to lead the training.

Anthropo... what?

Anthropomorphism simply means attributing human characteristics to animals (ducks, bears, bugs) and non-living objects (cars, toys, lamps, legal documents ). In addition to movies, anthropomorphic characters can be found in books, advertising, and most importantly, education.


Anthropomorphic Shoes in E-Learning

Here’s a good example from Rachel Craig of how easily a conventional course can be reframed so that a product is the primary character.

The example features a series of anthropomorphic shoes that help train salespeople on how to match shoe models and styles to customers. Each shoe played a role in the course by describing its history, unique design features, and when to choose each model. Pretty cool, right?

Anthropomorphic Shoes in E-Learning

Click to view the example

Challenge of the Week

This week, your challenge is to share an e-learning example using one or more anthropomorphic characters.

You’re free to use an existing project or create something new for the challenge. The goal is to show how anthropomorphism can be used as a storytelling device in e-learning.


Previous challenges:

Blog posts:

Last Week’s Challenge:

Before you give life to your challenge entry, check out the 40+ video player ideas your fellow community members shared in last week's e-learning challenge:

E-Learning Video Players and Galleries

Video Players in E-Learning RECAP #112: Challenge | Recap


Wishing you a great week, E-Learning Heroes!

New to the E-Learning Challenges?

The weekly challenges are ongoing opportunities to learn, share, and build your e-learning portfolios. You can jump into any or all of the previous challenges anytime you want. I’ll update the recap posts to include your demos.


Ignite U
Amar Kulshreshtha
Tanya Storm
Tanya Storm
Lyn Lucovsky
Zsolt Olah
julia collins
Zsolt Olah
Dianne  Hope

Here's my entry for this challenge. In contrast to Julia, I had so many ideas for this theme - initially I wanted to do something on M&Ms as I find the ads for this product hilarious! Then we went to the beach on Sunday and I wanted to create a character based on a sand bucket that showed you how to build a sand castle...but eventually I settled on this character - prepare to meet Penelope who is going to talk to you about potatoes. Here's the link to the blog post where you can also view the demo: If you're wondering about the topic, we grow potatoes on our farm and it's hard to escape conversation about the potatoes at any given time of day, or season of the year! I thought it might be fun t... Expand

Dianne  Hope
Linda Lorenzetti
David Jordan