E-course as a fascinating story
The story of a training course may be different. There are the most basic forms, for example adding the Instructor character, who accompanies the user during the training. There may be several such characters when the important aspects of training are submitted through their dialogues or events that happen to them. In turn, one of the most complicated forms of training is a gamified training course which level of performance could easily compete with adventure games designed for computers, smartphones and tablets. Of course, everything in between these two extremes is also widely used and can be implemented in a course.
What are the characters?
A character of a course is an image, which is familiar and understandable to the user. It is used to provide materials, clarifications and comments. The functional role of a character is simplification of perception. The employment of a recognizable character allows using a simpler language of the teaching material as it may be complicated for comprehension. If there are several characters in a course, they can role-play different situations and comment on them, again, simplifying the perception. If it is possible to make characters distinctive, i.e. close to known existing advertising personalities or corporate symbols, the course will work on the formation of corporate culture.
Technically, characters can be static (not moving, and presented in a few static poses and angles) and animated (have walking animation, gestures, facial expressions, etc.). If a static character is, in fact, an illustration, an animated character involves a large amount of work comparable to animation or video games development. That is why on the initial stage of course development it is important to determine in what way the character will be used. Active animation of characters is objectively necessary in game interactive courses, while in other cases several multiple camera angles can be used to enhance diversity with no quality loss.
Locations are the next step towards the story
Location is a premise recognizable to the user, in which the course actions take place. While classic text and illustration courses "happen" within an impersonal shell, the dialog and game projects use the location to immerse the listener into a recognizable environment.
For example, in case with a course designed for any bank, the location can be just a branch decorated according to the corporate identity, when the location for an industrial company will be a production zone with equipment and for a store – just trading floor premises. The location can be either realistic (based on photos of real objects) or fantastic (creating the "image of the future", to reflect the desired progress).
Technically, a location is a comprehensive graphic illustration worked out in details and acting at the same time with "background" or "base" for the course material. Locations are used to carry information with the use of different objects (with individual graphic design) and as the basis for the test tasks (adding interactive features).
Each good location as only a detailed location is considered to be a "good" one, it is time-consuming and highly detailed tailored picture. As the design of illustrations usually takes long time and a ready location is extremely difficult to change by additional drawings, the process of the locations design should be treated with the utmost care. The changes in the finished picture can take a long time and lengthen the course development period.
Characters + Location = Story foundation
When characters are placed into the location, which is logical due to the course plot, we already have an interactive game course blank. Now it is possible to develop the script with the route, tasks, dialogs with other characters, items collecting (why not?), test cases and even secret items. When that all is done, put together, “polished” and voiced by professional speakers (if desired), there appears an interesting, original, bright product that certainly cannot be perceived as "another reading".
Even if this format is objectively more time-consuming than its predecessors, its result has much higher potential and, therefore, the interactive story is recommended as the basic format of company’s key training courses.Today, it’s interactive games, which have become undisputed leaders of introduction (adaptation) courses for Russian companies. In fact, such courses are the flagship in personnel training. It is the first thing new employees see and the first thing that shapes their perception of the training adopted in the company. Even if application courses are designed more routinely, courses in adaptation, ideology and reforms must be remembered. And it is not a secret that good stories are remembered best of all.