Using Characters in E-Learning


Using characters in E-Learning is one of my favorite techniques, so this concept seemed perfect for my inaugural E-Learning Challenge. Between the concept, the design motif and geeking out over Greek literature, this project was great fun.


Since this is such an old Challenge, many of the ideas that came to mind quickly had been done before: avatars, guides, scenario characters. I decided to attack the idea by another angle: characters as demonstrations of a specific learning concept. Basically, E-Learning Personification.


Topic. First, I had to think of what kind of E-Learning would benefit from this approach. The learner would have to be familiar with the characters already to some degree for this idea to work. In a corporate setting, I could set something up as part of a scenario, with established characters in a longer storyline, but in a vignette, I don’t really have that option. For the purposes of the challenge, I decided a humanities course with a set reading list would be a good premise.


Audience. I decided my audience would be freshmen college students learning the ins and out of essay writing from The Iliad. This is one of my fondest college memories– though it was a rather stressful experience at the time!– and gave me an opportunity to get geeky. Who says studying Ancient Greek as my foreign language was useless?


Images. I recently learned from the amazing OpenCulture website that many museums and archival book collections make their images public domain. With that in mind, I searched Flickr with the licensing set to ‘commercial use with modification.’ I found the perfect set of images — a series of Iliad illustrations done in 1911. They’re just gorgeous.


Design. I decided to go with a very simple color scheme based on the dark orange shades of Greek vases. I used Capitalis TypOasis as my font, picked out some free vector borders in the Greek style, and used the Shapes tool to add some flourishes.


Building it out. The concept didn’t demand for much, so I kept it simple. The screen where you can “pick your ally” is just based on layer states and triggers.

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