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This month’s question is about making e-learning fun.
Here’s my story…
I’m currently working with a client to develop training for a new system. Systems training. Always fun. As a matter of fact, this isn’t just any system, it’s an HR system. I think that’s double fun, isn’t it?
Anyway, this system requires training and they want to do all “virtual”. They’ve relied on the webinar approach up to now, but I suggested that we broaden the approach. Design to the rescue!
Now, stickmen are kind of verboten in the e-learning world, but being a #lrnchat #rebel, I thought this was a rule to break. You see, there are a couple of aspects of their business that are changing because of the new system (think new processes for people getting paid) and we needed an attention getter. So, sticking my tongue firmly in my cheek, I crafted a series of stick characters and used some of Tom Kuhlmann’s great hand drawn thought clouds and speech bubbles to round out the effect. And this stickman shows up on all training and communications that we are producing, plus other distinctive design elements. I did consider downloading and using Pivot to create animated stickmen, but my timeline was too tight, so I opted not to, but may for future…By the way, I was inspired by (wait for it) a series of ads here in Canada about tax. Yes, tax + stickmen.
My rationale: my client is in the leisure business (think beach and ski resorts), so the audience should be a pretty good match for a fun solution. Yes, it’s clicky next button e-learning, using stick men, but with a fun story to drive it, trying to tear a page from Cathy Moore’s book (and we’re also considering providing the template for employees to make their own courses in the future). It also pulls no punches (character is a manager and assumes HR is going to make things complicated) and creates simple dialogue that resonates with the users, and in the end, combined with a suite of performance support, it will ensure that they are well prepared for the Go Live date, but also in the future.
So the e-learning product/solution can be fun, but I think there’s other aspects to consider too:
As e-learning developers, we have an opportunity to make lasting change, but we need to be smart about how to use the opportunity. In fact, some learning leaders say it’s a strategic advantage. Sure not every topic is going to be a good candidate for fun e-learning product, but that doesn’t mean we have to be boring, all the time. Does it?