A solution looking for a problem - suggestions

Oct 16, 2011

Hi all,

I wanted to try building a story-based training with a Halloween B-horror theme, just as an excercise and an excuse to test some design concepts, but I'm at a complete mental block on what the mock-training should actually be about. Ideally this winds up in my production template folder as an example of finished work, so I suppose it would help to have a real topic. As you can probably tell, I'm silly, and while I'm definitely making something tounge-in-cheek, it would be nice if it wasn't a total joke for the sake of using it professionally later on.

In a nut shell, I built a haunted house as a non-linear training menu. The students can go in and trigger their way forward by clicking different doors. Some doors will open silly tangents, like spiders or B-horror clips, and some will be useful content with a story (a maniac mansion rehash most-likely). the overall idea is to show how humor, story, and a little bit of freedom can move the student willingly through a training.

So I thought I'd ask you all for some ideas. A "real" topic would be ideal, but silly ideas on content, favorite horror cliches and general course design would all be fun to hear about.

Thanks in advance,


12 Replies
Steve Flowers

I think this could turn out great if the genres meshed. I've always liked this example describing "surviving a zombie apocalypse" from the CDC. The survival elements of the genre mapped directly to the message they were trying to convey for preparedness.

Thinking about things you might want people to be able to know or do related to halloween type genres or themes... 

- Preparedness / survival (natural & concrete)

- Dealing with phobias / fear (natural & concrete but hard to pull off)

- Math concepts (abstract -- but Sesame Street pulled it off)

Kristen Hull

Maybe you could cover the dos and don'ts of trick-or-treating...from the child's point of view (wear reflective clothing, go out in groups) and the person's point-of-view (don't give out raisins, leave the light on).  You could do some silly rules (like, be careful when cutting out your ghost costume [Charlie Brown reference]).  I could see this being really fun...the kids knock on doors, the door opens, and you see some silly result of what happens if you don't follow a rule.

Melanie Sobie

This would be great for a "scary" topic, and its the time of year for it.   Its also the time of the year people are getting their flu shots and companies are getting prepared for flu season.  Some companies, such as healthcare settings call this pandemic planning.

How about a haunted house on the dangers and precautions staff should take during flu season?  Germs are the gosts and goblins.  To protect themselves, they need to learn about the dangers of improper hand washing, sharing phones without using the alcohol wipes, etc., etc.

(Just one thing to remember - some employees have very strong personal feelings against Halloween because of their religion, so I wouldn't recommend this theme be used for an actual mandatory training module.)

Kevin Dowd

I think you could do just about anything with the theme.  Something like "your friend is lost in a haunted house maze.  Answer the following questions correctly to find her and get her out safely."  If they get the wrong answer, they hit a wall and something "scary" (but nothing that would actually scare your learners) jumps out at them.  If they get the correct answer, a door opens and they move foward.

Wendy A

Perhaps this is too silly...or scary...  How about a theme about selecting the right health insurance which could affect your ability to select the "correct" physician?  This could lead to some of the B movie clips.  Maybe have the guide that takes the student through the maze or the house start out looking "normal" and depending on the insurance selection would determine how the guide would look at the end?  The course could be used as a means to educate on how to select a plan, how to find a physician, the monthly costs, out of pocket expenses, and emergency fees.

I agree with Melanie's comment in that you may want to be careful using this theme for coorporate mandatory training.

Natalia Mueller

The first thing that came to my mind is a haunted house for customer service/ professional etiquette type of training. Have them choose the worst method instead of the best. Link those choices up with your horror theme. This would allow you to make an exaggerated point about something that could otherwise be a pretty boring course.

Love the idea regardless. Good luck!

Marcel Mihulka

Hi A,

Sorry, i'm not really answering your question, but your concept reminded me of a website I saw that had Gothic themes and advertises Vana Tallinn, the national drink of Estonia. The link is here. 


Perhaps you could follow similar lines and advertise something, which in some ways is also a form of education. It may also give you some more ideas.


Efrat Maor

Haven't read all the answers...

How about treating injuries?

A snake bits behind one door and then you get an explanation on what to do..

Another door hides a crab..

You go to the kitchen to prepare some food and get a bleeding cut.

You can also focus on infant or child safty, which are popular topics. In such a case addign the elearning to your site might give you an an expeted visitor's stream. One of these parents might be looking for a ID

David Barnes

I like @Bob's idea of this being about the horrors of poor elearning design. The haunting occurred because of a poorly designed exorcism course. The learner discovers fragments of the course and along the way learns techniques for making the course more successful. Eventually they complete a course that shows how to exorcise the spirits successfully.

Adrian Gates

Hi folks,

Thanks for all the ideas. I like the idea of a basic safety training. I really like treating injuries, as I went way overboard on the B-movies silliness. Appaently I can't help myself when I'm just designing for my own amusement (big surprise, the guy with the monkey avatar is prone to silliness?!?). So at least now I can explain the blood in the kitchen

There's a buch of pretty slides with tons of detail and care, a couple funny little games, and more than enough slapstick B movie humor. But at the end of the day, I'm definitely trying to justify what I built in terms of having some minor degree of usefulness. Sure, if you play with the microwave in the kitchen, you'll find a word game there, but ummm...why? And what can possibly be gained from this exercise?

And feel free to let this be a case study for your SME's: If you don't start with a locked down goal of what your training should acheive, then don't be surprised if your designer builds an app to nowhere! Seems like I should build in a reference to the Winchester House now...but again, why? At least that would be ironic, I suppose...Maybe horrors of eLearing is not a bad idea either. Maybe do both - a safety training that went bad and became a terrible tale of twisted eLearning...hmm, campy enough...Go back to it in a day or two and see what "develops."

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