Ideas for an online course

Sep 29, 2011

I have been asked to help develop a course for an organization who currently has a business formal dress code.  They are moving to a business casual dress code and want to ensure employees understand what exactly that means.  I need to make sure everyone knows the difference between, business formal, business casual and just casual dress.  Any ideas?

15 Replies
Bob S

Hi Elizabeth,

It's all about the visuals right?  So you are likely going to have to invest in some images. There are some great threads here about stock image sites and e-learning specific image sites.

The other thing that pops to mind is that it's an easy opportunity to create "what piece doesn't fit" kind of scenarios. Maybe place your learners in the role of a manager trying to enforce the new dress code. Present visual situations and have your learners select responses to each situation.

Hope this helps,


David Steffek

I was thinking along the same lines as Bob.

Provide a brief overview of what is acceptable attire and then have a quiz (or even a game show format) where you show a photo of someone and the learner needs to indicate whether or not the attire is acceptable.

If it's important to highlight the definitions of business vs business casual vs casual, then you could show a person and have the learner identify which category the attire falls into. You could even set it up as a drag and drop question where you have three 'buckets' - one for each category - and then the learner drags each person into the appropriate bucket. And if you're allowed to have a little fun, you could make the bucket for casual be the exit door so you can kick improperly dressed people out the door.

And if you're going to have situations where business casual is allowed on only certain days, then you could also show a calendar with the date or day-of-week to help the learner determine if the depicted person is dressed appropriately for that day.

Kristen Hull

Maybe instead of showing people in the office, you could present a fashion show... ooo, make it like Project Runway!  When the person isn't dressed correctly: "I'm sorry, you are out".  Then you could have a challenge like the show and people could put together their own appropriate outfit....or inappropriate, and the judges could give feedback.  You could do headshot interviews against a white background, where people talk about issues they had with unacceptable clothing etc.  (Maybe I watch too much Project Runway).

Of course, you could always quote the Office "Fashion show, fashion show!" and do a take-off of a different episode where they went casual (wow, it would be great to incorporate clips from it--they really showed what not to do).  

Or you could make it in the style of a fashion magazine. 

Kevin Thorn

Great ideas! Never saw Project Runway, but that sounds like a fun approach.

Another thought would be having two characters: Male and Female, and a "Dress Code Coach." Both the Male and Female show up to work on the first day of the new "Casual Dress Code Day" and everyone has to get screened by the coach. These two walk in and the coach says, " You two, follow me..."

The coach leads them into a a large room that looks like a giant closet with men's clothes on one side and women's clothes on the other side. Start from the shirt, then pants/skirts/shorts, to shoes. Give an overview of the new policy on what's accepted and what's not. Then have the learner pull things off the rack and hang them on an 'observation' hook (drag and drop). If it's correct, it goes on a 'Womens' or a 'Mens' rack respectively. If it's incorrect, maybe it gets tossed on the floor in a donation pile or something.

Kevin Thorn

Kristen Watson said:

Oh, Kevin, that is just like "What Not to Wear"!  Why didn't I think of that?  They deal with the business-appropriate theme all the time.  Excellent idea!  :o)

The bad part of this thread is admitting to all the goofy TV shows I like.

Wait...that's a show, too?! Maybe I should watch more TV to get inspiring ideas
Melanie Sobie

So I'm a former HR professional - and I can't help thinking about my past work experiences while reading this thread. When companies develop a dress code there is a lot of effort put into informing staff about what the new dress code means, and how it applies to them, what is appropriate dress, what is not, etc.

Unfortunately, there usually isn't any training done with the supervisors or managers. Inevitably, an employee or two is going to wear something inappropriate. What does the supervisor do? Usually they refer the issue to HR to handle. It isn't an issue for HR to handle, it is an issue for the supervisor/manager to deal with. Okay - I'll stop griping, I'm no longer in HR.

The other part of training about the new dress code is training the supervisor what to do when a violation of the dress code policy occurs. When I worked with supervisors or mangers I would walk them through the situation; how to call the employee in, how to say what they need to say in a professional manner, not let the employee get them off target, etc., etc.  With new supervisors it usually helped to script out how the conversation might go and then how to respond to possible push-back from the employee, and how to bring the conversation to a close with appropriate corrective action as the next step. Sounds like a nice e-learning scenario!

Regina Taute

While I am not the one who started this thread, I am working on a New Employee Orientation course where we address our dress code and you guys have given me such great ideas. Right now I have a simple rollover activity (Added into Articulate with the help of Captivate) but it lacks interaction and the pizazz that this topic could have.

I am at a bit of loss as to how I would create a drag and drop exercise where the learner drags and drops the images of clothes.  Any suggestions on how to build the scenarios?

James Brown

I got a killer idea...  What about a project runway theme?  Send the models down the runway with different dress attire? Then the person judges them on their attire? another idea. In flash you can create drag and drop and I in that case I would basically give the person a closet full of clothes and tell them to mix and match the appropriate attire for a given scenario.  I.e. Mr. Carson the head CFO is coming into the office and you are required to wear formal attire. Use the clothes in the closet to put together a formal attire. etc.

I also like the idea posted above of, "What not to Wear.."

Maureen Wilson

Here is an option that I am using (Articulate forum gave me idea of a quiz).  It is a quiz with price tags that you can insert hot spots).  You can give learners a choice of get dressed (male or female) with choices the resemble some of the mistake staff typically make.  Feed back could include you will be sent home to change etc...

Regina Taute

Maureen Wilson said:

Here is an option that I am using (Articulate forum gave me idea of a quiz).  It is a quiz with price tags that you can insert hot spots).  You can give learners a choice of get dressed (male or female) with choices the resemble some of the mistake staff typically make.  Feed back could include you will be sent home to change etc...

Maureen, I just love this idea. With your PPT example, I totally get it. I'm going to get working on this today and I'll update you with my progress! 

I use Hotspots all of the time but I hadn't thought to apply it to this....How fun!

Efrat Maor

Elizabeth, 2 years ago I developed a small part of a course around this topic (course was on working at a customer's site, in some of our sites casual is an understatement)  .

I displayed a bunch of images and asked the learners to select which one was appropriate for a customer's site - each selection resulting in an explanation (good, bad, so-so and why). 

In your case you can have more selections and steps.

You can start by selecting one's gender and branch to seperate examples for each gender. 

I liked Maureen's example. In mine I showed people in different outfits, and not the cloths themselves. 

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