Congratulations to Bruce Adams, Deb Bowden, and Adam Leibler of eLearning Brothers for earning a 2015 Brandon Hall Group Excellence in Learning Bronze Award for Best Use of Games and Simulations! They created an innovative and engaging course for their client, Ally, using Lectora®. The course is called Ally F&I History and takes learners back in time to see the history of the company through the decades using a time traveling car. Buckle up because here are the lessons I learned about creating awesome eLearning from reviewing how this course was built.
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Lesson 1: Tell a Story
Successful storytelling involves transporting a learner to the idea and feelings presented. It has to remove the appearance of reality while bringing the learner in to pay close attention to the details presented. This course achieved successful storytelling by placing items within the course that fit the story. What’s a time traveling car without a drink and snack to help you along the way? Placing recognizable items like disco balls, grunge bands, and iPads helps create the feeling that you truly were in the decade discussed. By doing this they created a way for the brain to associate the information presented and make it easier to categorize.
Be right back—I need to grab my neon jogging suit and some more hair spray!
I asked Adam Leibler why he felt the storytelling was so successful. He stated “….because we used a combination of techniques to make the learner feel a little bit more immersed……we based it on a well known time travel story….then when we were jumping into the decades we used pictures that resembled that decade, we used music that resembled that decade, and we talked about what happened in that decade.”
Lesson 2: Use Games!
Games add an extra level of interactivity and interest. They’re great tools to promote better performance while having fun. This course is no exception. They used decade recognizable games like Pyramid and Who Wants to be a Millionaire to help learners retain the information presented in the course. It’s obvious why they received this award because their use of games fits into the story being told.
I asked Adam, what do you think helped contribute to such successful knowledge retention? He explained that “we tried to start it with the simplest game possible, just where you click on stuff, then we moved to something a little more advanced in the next decade….until you end up with a jeopardy style game that’s been a staple of television game shows for many many decades. I think probably the other thing would just be the Instructional Design we did up front….We went back over several iterations with the client over ok what is really important decade to decade and we stayed focused on those learning objectives.”
Lesson 3: Think Outside the Box
This course found an out-of-the-box way of integrating common course elements, and I love it! Who needs an exit button when you can pull the emergency brake from within your time traveling car? They also have you “shift” to the next lesson and a capacitor grades your quiz results. These small details help bring the learner further into the story and add engaging aspects to the course.
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