How Can I Make Ethics Interesting

I am collaborating with an independent school district on the Texas Educator Code of Ethics. The only way I can think to make them interesting is maybe some sort of game. They are here if you want to take a gander.$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=7&ch=247&rl=2

Does anyone have any ideas???? I don't want this to be the most boring course. 

Thanks in Advance,

17 Replies
Phil Mayor

Does it need to be an learning course?  perhaps a download would suffice.  IF not ca you put a scenario together?  You probably need to make it relevant to the user.  You could offer a number of situations and use a decision tree approach, if they get it correct or incorrect then highlight the specific part of the code.

David Anderson

How about converting the ethics laws into poetry:

The U.S. Copyright code, in verse

The patent code is available here
The trademark code is available here

We start off defining
People and media
Terms you can also find
On Wikipedia


Copyright is for writings,
Music, dance, drama,
Movies, buildings everywhere
Even Alabama


Copyright applies even
When you're deriving
From copyrighted works
And no, I ain't jiving


Copyright applies to works
From any countries
Assuming they're smart enough
To sign the right treaties




Joanne Chen

I once had two elearning courses on International etiquette. The raw materals I got was similar to yours. In that project, I chose gamification with scenarios base, gave learners extensive practice in simulated situations with realistic outcomes. I chunked them into several units, each unit was a challenge for learners to approach a measurable indicator as a game to see if they can get the maximum points. Hope this give you some ideas.

Nancy Woinoski

Call me crazy but I think ethics is one of the most interesting topics going because it lends itself beautifully to setting up scenarios in which the learner is presented with real-world ethical dilemmas that they must work through. This takes a lot more planning to but when done right can be very compelling.

Bob S

Hi Erika,

So one advantage you have is that the standards are already broken down into three key areas.  I would absolutely leverage that parsing in all of your interaction to aid in retention.  ie Don't mix standards for colleagues with standards for student interactions.

While I'm always a fan of scenarios, given this particular subject matter and audience, I can see some other options as well.  For example....

1) Provide a list of all the Colleague standards. Have the teachers arrange them in them in descending order that THEY feel is most important to observe. (Then explain that all standards are important and that their pees might rank them differently so observe them all of course)

2) Provide a visual image for each of the Professional standard to aid memory and ask the teachers to select the standard language they think best to go with that topic.  Eg   Picture of a resume and options to choose from - "Teachers shall put whatever information they feel is appropriate on a resume", "Teaches shall not include false or misleading language on a resume" etc

These are fairly straightforward and reasonable ethical standards.  Your teachers will probably be fine just being reminded of them in a semi-interactive way similar to methods above.

Hope this helps!

Ulises Musseb

I am with Nancy Woinoski. I think that ethics and professional responsibility is a very interesting subject, and one that can be presented in many interesting ways. In one course I took in the matter, the instructor had a wealth of scenarios and stories that brought a lot of discussions.

In the elearning realm, a well crafted scenario can be very effective. However, I think that a topic like this is a great candidate for blended learning. I think that a lot is missed if you contain it to just elearning.

Helen Marshall

Hi Erika - a bit late to the party here, but just in case you're still in need of answers:

In general, when faced with information like this, I always ask how I can humanise the content. I do this largely by asking:

1. Why do learners need to know this/what areas are more important than others?

2. What type of situations are they likely encounter where these principles are put into practice?

3. Are there any examples of when someone hasn't acted ethically and what are the consequences?

It would then be useful to create some scenarios based on these answers, and deliver some high impact information upfront. Ultimately, learners need to know real-life consequences and how to make the correct decisions. 

malcolm swinton

Hi Erika

I recommended to a client on an ethics project to include a short video at the start with the CEO outlining why the ethics training was important and setting up the chapters.  This worked well as many staff and contractors "jumped" when the CEO came on the screen, as they were not expecting to see them!

The up take on the course was very quick and the LMS reflected a completed course across the organisation, (not something as trainers / instructional designers you ever see!

Good luck Malcolm 

Dave Ferguson

I'm a big believer in the notion that people learn better when they move from specific (behaviors, incidents) to general (principles, rules) than the other way around.

You've got 29 main items in the code, which seems like a lot of territory. Are you able to work with subject-matter experts to identify which ones are the most crucial, or the most frequently misunderstood and thus broken? Those aren't the only paths to take, but I'm betting there are ways to highlight significant (undesired) behaviors and their consequences.

I worked on an online course involving ethics for government procurement staff. One of my SMEs was an attorney who had to represent the agency in cases of violations. We didn't want to ask "should you accept this briefcase full of used, unmarked $20 bills?"  (Relates to your standard 1.5, maybe.)

Instead he helped identify situations where the ethical decision was a little less obvious. In many cases he identified (a) unacceptable behavior, (b) acceptable behavior (within the rules but maybe not ideal, and (c) optimal behavior. We could use the feedback to emphasize the differences in the last two.

The basic structure was:

  • An initial scenario (ours were video) with an ethics question
  • An option to consult materials
  • An option to talk to others (get a related comment, not necessarily the right steps, from someone like a coworker, a friend, an unrelated supervisor)
  • A decision ("which would you do?")
  • Feedback on the decision

We had if I recall half a dozen situations that touched on the areas the SME believed people had the most trouble with. We included links to the whole code of ethics, and other resources as well.

Scott Burnett

I know this is a little late, but for others who may be going down this road here's what I am doing right now. The course is a short presentation (at least the actual training materials are short) on the State of Montana Ethics Laws and Policies for state employees. It covers the basics of the laws and the latest updates. Then it becomes a choose your own adventure on applying the ethics laws to your job. A small video plays with a scenario, then you make a decision. It is a whole decision tree until you get to a resolution of the scenario. Based on your decisions you are rated on your ethical behaviors. Providing feedback on the decisions you made.
Yeah it is taking a bit to create this, but I think it will be worth it.