Online learning mostly falls into one of two categories: it’s either insanely drab and largely forgettable, or it’s fun and memorable.
If you manage to fall into the second category, it doesn’t really matter what the topic is, because through an engaging user experience, the learning gets done. On the other side of the coin, you could be tasked with educating people on a fascinating topic that holds plenty of interest – but if presented the wrong way, even the most captivating information will have a Valium effect on people. The last thing you want to do to your audience is turn them into zombies.
We’ve created online tools and games for all kinds of eLearning experiences and we’ve picked up plenty of knowledge along the way. In this post, we wanted to share some of our favourite projects that prove no matter the subject, when presented in a thoughtful, innovative and clever way, it can be challenging and fun. Oh, with the bonus of educating as well!
BINder: learn about recycling by helping a wheelie bin find love
How do you get people interested in learning about what they can and can’t recycle in the office? We’re talking everything from hole punchers to mini soy sauce containers, pens, bubble wrap and post-it notes. Not exactly a riveting topic, right? Challenge accepted.
First up, we started thinking about ideas to gamify learning by asking the intended audience (users of the learning tool – we’ll call them players) to guess what items could be recycled. This made sense, and would be a good, competitive challenge – but we still had the problem of how to make this fun. Then we hit on an idea of a recycling wheelie bin looking for the perfect match in a recycling item (thank Zawadi the designer for that awesome idea). Thinking about the search for a perfect love match brought us to Tinder, and the swipe right functionality so many people are already familiar with. The end result was a game called BINder, about a wheelie bin looking for love in the form of a matching recyclable item. Basing the user experience and functionality on Tinder made sense, as plenty of us know how that works! When the player got a certain amount of answers incorrect, the attempt at finding the perfect match was unsuccessful. The player was then encouraged to try again, with the items (20 in total) being presented in a newly random order. Using the swipe functionality also meant the game was a mobile-first experience, but also able to be played on a desktop. The design of the wheelie bin and the various items were super important to the success of the game – we wanted to give every day objects a personality of their own as cute and fun characters. Because the characters were part of the experience, they encouraged people to play the game more than once and be more likely to share it via social media. The copy (in terms of answers and additional information) also had to be engaging and clever and at the same time, provide the correct information in a way that is easy to understand.
BINder has gone on to educate thousands of office workers about what items they can recycle and what items are destined for landfill, nominated for a bunch of awards and has been shared widely on social media. You can play BINder by clicking the link below to test your recycling knowledge and help our friend, the wheelie bin find the perfect match!
Privacy Challenge: Take the Privacy Challenge and dodge the data dangers
Client: The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
This learning challenge was exactly that. The brief was big insofar as how much content we had to present to the audience about protecting their personal information from a data breach. We also had a very wide audience to educate – people handling data in the workplace, on social media and in their everyday lives. There was also a lot of resources and further reading we had to provide to people relating to very specific scenarios – and the information had to be easily downloadable from the in-game experience – both on a mobile and desktop user experience.
We started with three different scenarios for players to choose from – getting ready for a holiday, getting a new phone and a busy Friday in the office.
Each scenario guided the player through a series of screens, with each screen presenting a new situation and asking a relevant question with a series of multiple-choice answers. With each option the player was provided with an explanation as to why the answer was right or wrong, and a click-through to additional resources to learn more. We also added a privacy toolbox at the completion of the game with additional tips relevant to the specific scenario chosen by the player at the start of the game. The player was also rated on their privacy knowledge based on the score they achieved and we included social sharing buttons to encourage as many people as possible to take the Privacy Challenge. When it came to design, we took an isometric approach so the design could really pop and added plenty of detail to make the experience fun, both from a desktop and mobile perspective.
20 Years of Good Energy Quiz
Client: Origin Energy
This project was part history lesson and part brand episode of Mastermind. To celebrate 20 years of good energy, Origin Energy, Australia’s largest energy supplier wanted to step back in time and reflect on the company’s 20-year journey. With a global workforce, there were many employees who did not really know the Origin story, so this project was about sharing it in a way that incorporated archival material and creative ideas that would test the brand knowledge of even the longest serving employee.
We created a 20-question multiple choice quiz where players were asked to lock in their answer. We included everything from logo iterations, to testing player’s knowledge about Origin TV ads, green energy, logistics and corporate responsibility. The animation design hit the brief of being contemporary and bright – in fact the character design was so much fun, it was a joy to move from question to question, especially a ‘Where’s Wally’ scenario where players had to try and locate Origin’s CEO in a crowded scene.
Money talks: Test your salary knowledge
As many of us know, salary is often a key driver in career decisions. By educating ourselves around salary expectations we can have better and more productive discussions with prospective and current employers. Using SEEK data, we hit on the idea of a simple quiz as a fun way to test people’s knowledge in this area at the same time educating them around average salaries, industries with the fastest growing salaries and salary negotiations. At the completion of the quiz players are invited to download more information on related topics such as having better salary conversations with staff, knowing your salary value based on your industry and how to negotiate your salary in an interview. Based on the audience attributes, we kept the quiz to eight simple questions – so it would be quick to complete and with fun animation, engaging to play.
The quiz is fun on mobile and desktop and is a great way to introduce the idea of such important knowledge-based conversations with an audience demographic who may not have previously considered such an approach – both from an employer and employee perspective.
Father of the Fair Go documentary and supporting curriculum/study guide
Client: Australian Teachers of Media Victoria (ATOM)
Our most ambitious learning project yet! This project has been a real highlight for our team and one that combines so many of the things we love doing as a creative agency. Firstly, we were commissioned to make a broadcast television documentary for our client Maurice Blackburn Lawyers as part of their 100-year celebration. The film told the story of the person, Maurice Blackburn – as a social activist, politician and plaintiff lawyer for those who normally could not afford representation before the law. The story was an historical documentary, and to keep the audience engaged, instead of filming costly historical reenactments, we used animation to tell the story and worked with a different animation team to represent each phase of Maurice’s life.
The documentary aired on the Seven Network Australia on Labor Day (Victoria), 2019.
While the documentary was a factual and informative telling of the life of a significant Australian, after watching it, the audience is left with the stirring question: what do you believe in and to what extent will you fight for these beliefs?
Following the documentary’s screening, we then worked with ATOM to create a study guide using the film to meet the curriculum requirements across the following high school subjects (year nine and ten): English, History and Civics and Citizenship. Each study guide met a number of standards in these areas as well as the general capability Critical and Creative Thinking.
We couldn’t have possibly imagined a better outcome for this project and we’re proud of the educational opportunity the film presents in so many different areas for high school students in Victoria.
One more thing!
Learning should always be interesting and ideally, inspire curiosity. We can all remember that standout teacher who somehow managed to make even a grammar lesson interesting – and with a little extra thinking, fun. And often that was achieved with limited ‘bells and whistles.’ In an online environment, with endless bells and whistles, there is just no excuse for boring learning experiences.
It all starts with a simple question: How can we make this stuff interesting enough to sink in?