Brainstorm with me! Interactive course theme/concept needed

(Eeek!  I just realized this is my first time posting in the new forum!  I've been hiding under a rock for a few months apparently.  Glad to jump back into the Articulate world again!)

I am beginning work on a large program to replace 4 ILT courses.  Currently, these courses review our primary software program, as well as critical policies and procedures for the business.  I'm breaking it up into modules, and within each module, a learner may have several sub-topics.  Because I expect to have around a dozen or so modules, I'm looking for a way to keep it engaging and keep the modules "tied together". 

Learners will complete the modules over the course of several months, and in the future, we may even add additional modules.  For this reason, I'm hesitant to make the game/theme something that is definite... meaning I don't want to tell them to "collect 10 badges to master the universe!", but I do want something to tie it together and keep the challenge going.

The modules will likely be broken up by the life cycle of our customers, so something like "working with prospects, working with applicants, working with approved applicants, working with residents, working with former residents, etc".  (All working titles obviously - and we're in the apartment business.)  The course will primarily focus on the software functions, but policies and procedures will be woven into some of the material.  (We have other courses for soft skills like sales and conflict management.)

I'm thinking learners will have a challenge (say, entering information about a prospective resident), and will have options to Try Me (simulation), Show Me (watch a demo), or Tell Me (read the steps).

I'm brainstorming ideas, so I'll post an update once I have a few that I've thought out for more than 2.3 seconds.  I'd love some help from my favorite online community!  

3 Replies
Joe Deegan

Hi Kim,

Sounds like your project is going to turn out cool.  I've worked on a similar project covering software where I used an ongoing storyline with a main character that the learner had to help make it through various tasks.  Each module was like a new episode in an ongoing series.  Think of it like a TV series with new episodes and seasons that come out over time.  It's not easy being creative and coming up with a good storyline but using real life situations that they will come across in the workplace and adding a little drama to it goes a long way.  The main character I used in the series of eLearning modules is now famous within the company and tends to pop up in anything involving the software.  Good luck and can't wait to hear ideas others come up with.

Kim Hannan

Hi Joe!

I love the idea of using characters.  We use them in many of the courses we're developing now.  We have avatars that truly bring the characters to life, and our learners "get to know them" through several courses.  We've found it to be very impactful and easily remembered.  It's easier to say "this customer reminds me of Bob from the online course" than "this customer's main concerns are x, y, z, and this is how I should handle it".

I'm leaning towards a similar concept whereby we introduce a character, we'll call her Sally for fun, and the learner earns points for asking great questions to find answers to required fields in the software.  After so many points, it unlocks the next level where they can earn more points and get Sally to apply for an apartment, where again, they earn more points by getting the correct information to fill in the required fields in the program.  Ultimately, X number of points means Sally is moving in and the learner earns a commission. 

The characters we're using will show up in different courses "Hey, there's Sally again!", as well as other forms of performance support we use.