How to Build a Simple E-Learning Game

If you’ve ever wanted to design e-learning games but weren’t really sure how to start, this tutorial’s for you! That’s because this project is all about building games without any advanced knowledge of Articulate Storyline.

You’ll learn how to build a simple e-learning game using only one slide and basic triggers. The best part is: the game can be adapted simply by swapping out the background graphic. Check out the preview below to see what you’ll be building!

How to Build a Simple E-Learning Game

Preview the game | Download the game

Step 1: Choose Your Gamified Theme

The first thing I like to do when I’m building games is to choose a theme. One option for game themes is to align the game to the rest of your course content.

Think of a “new hire” course, where the objective is to collect important documents from different departments. Maybe you browse the aisles of your company “store” and fill your cart with your departmental items. Another option is to choose something more off-the-wall, like an adventure game or a treasure-hunting scenario.

Whatever direction you go with your theme, remember that your background graphic is perhaps the most important element for setting the context for your game.

Choose Your Gamified Theme

Step 2: Identify Your Game Design Elements

I always like to take time at the beginning to identify the types of design elements I’m going to need. These include everything from background graphics, buttons, feedback boxes, and colors.

After I’ve identified the design elements, I like to group them on a separate slide to use as a reference. Since we’re not building anything overly complicated, I don’t have too many elements.

Identify Your Game Design Elements

Step 3: Set Up Your Storyline Project

Let's begin our development by starting a new project in Storyline. We’ll use the default slide size and customize our slide and feedback masters for each of our slide designs. We’re only using one slide for our game, and the feedback screens will be placed on slide layers.

Step 4: Build the Game Elements

Now that our initial slide and project are set up, we can move ahead and build out the common elements that we’re going to use throughout the project. I find it's a huge time-saver to build my project’s design elements at the beginning of the project. This makes it easy to copy and paste the items as I need them.

Step 5: Build the First Quiz Question

Since we’re building everything on a single slide, we won’t be able to use Storyline’s default question slides for each question—and that’s okay because we can use simple triggers to simulate question and feedback slides. In the following movie, you’ll learn how to create custom question slides using slide layers and basic triggers.

Step 6: Build the Feedback Slides for the First Quiz Question

It’s time to add the feedback slides. We’re going with two different slides to visually inform learners that they answered correctly or incorrectly. Since we already set up the feedback slide designs in an earlier step, we don’t have much to do other than to create the slide layers and apply the appropriate layout designs.

Step 7: Adjust the Visual Feedback for the Game Button

Now that our feedback slides are in place, we can return to our gameboard button and adjust the feedback based on whether the learner answered the question correctly or incorrectly. This is powerful because we’re able to communicate visually both at the feedback level and gameboard level—without using any variables!

Step 8: Create the Remaining Questions and Feedback Slides

At this point, we’ve done the heavy lifting for our game. Everything going forward will simply duplicate and modify what we’ve built. Storyline makes this clean and easy because each slide layer we duplicate is moved to the top of our list. This helps group our question and feedback slides neatly by question number.

Step 9: Create the Introduction and Results Slides

I always like to save these for the end because introduction and results slides are easy to create and I like to keep my slide layers and triggers as clean as possible when I’m building the main interactions.

What’s Next?

Congratulations on reaching the end! I hope this was helpful and gets you thinking about other ways you can incorporate simple e-learning games in your courses.

There’s a lot more we could do with this game. For one thing, we could add a scoring element to award points for correct choices. Another option would be to include a progress meter that shows the current number of questions answered as well as visual feedback to indicate correct and incorrect choices. Sound interesting? Great! You’ll enjoy my follow-up article.

In the meantime, check out our gamification series of articles, examples, and downloads for all the gamification tips and inspiration you’ll ever need.

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David Anderson