One of the joys of working in learning design is getting to collaborate with great organizations who are dedicated to building effective and engaging courses. Part of our work together is about first determining if it is actually a course that is needed, and if so, then finding the style of course that best meets their goals.
Recently, we were fortunate to work jointly with the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), the Local Government Management Association (LGMA), and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to create an e-learning course on responsible conduct for local elected officials. The purpose of the course was to demonstrate how newly elected officials can learn to conduct themselves well with elected colleagues, local government staff, and the public by following what is known as the four foundational principles of responsible conduct. For those who are curious, these include: integrity, respect, accountability, and leadership & collaboration.
While we had a style of course in mind right from the start, based mainly on previous success the client had experienced with similar courses, our ideas evolved a bit over time. Thanks especially to input from focus groups and knowledge experts that the client coordinated throughout the design process, we decided that the use of storytelling and visual presentation would be a big part of what this course should offer. The result is what we feel is an interactive and engaging e-learning course created in Articulate Storyline that is relatable, informative, and even fun.
Here is an example from the beginning of the course:
To start, we developed a character named Priya, a local councillor who learns about the four foundational principles of responsible conduct by confronting a series of conduct issues throughout her work day. The first section begins in the early morning – characterized by a consistent yellow theme and simple sunrise image – as Priya is eating breakfast. She is quickly presented with her first conduct decision when she discovers a colleague’s concerning social media post on her phone. As in each section that follows, from early morning to late evening, the learner follows Priya throughout each relatable, real-life scenario as she learns about a principle of responsible conduct, what it means, and how best to respond to it.
What is especially notable about each scenario that Priya navigates is that as the learner follows her day, they are not only presented with stories and examples in the form of text, audio, and images, but they are also required to interact with the course themselves by having to make choices and reflect on behaviour related to each principle.
Here is an example from the second section of the course:
The second scenario takes place in the late morning – characterized by an orange theme and an almost midday sun – when Priya is met with another conduct issue. In this slide, the learner is asked to select which foundational principle the situation relates to, and they later find out if they were correct and why. It is through interactions like this one that the learner has the opportunity to engage in the lessons, think more deeply about the principles presented, and reinforce their learning. Put simply, the learner starts to become part of the story.
In a similar example from the third section of the course, which takes place in the afternoon, the learner clicks on a Facebook post to read the mayor’s apology after a conduct issue arises. Here is the slide:
And finally, in the fourth section of the course, Priya takes time to reflect on an evening scenario before the learner is asked to write down a few notes of their own.
Once the learner is fully engaged in Priya’s encounters with the foundational principles, we then take the idea of learner engagement one step further in Part Two of the course by introducing branching scenarios. Here, we ask the learner to make complex conduct decisions of their own using ‘choose your own adventure’ style scenarios related to responsible conduct. This means that the learner is actually practicing what they learned through Priya’s experiences by working through four new scenarios, making their own choices about what they should do in each situation, and reflecting on the possible consequences of these choices.
Here is an example of a branching scenario page:
After the learner clicks on their choice of action, they are taken to a page that describes the consequences of this choice in light of responsible conduct principles. They can then return to select a new option, if desired – since we recognize that people often learn as much through ineffective decisions as through effective ones – or continue forward in the module to learn more about the principles relevant to the scenario.
By the end of the course, thanks to these real-life scenarios and interactive elements, the learner has had the opportunity to consider more deeply how the foundational principles of responsible conduct might show up in their work as elected officials. They are also able to download resources to take with them and receive a certificate once the course is completed.
If you would like to learn more about the Responsible Conduct Every Day course and access additional resources on responsible conduct, please visit UBCM here.
Are you curious about what it might look like to design an e-learning course together? For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Services page of our website here.