Our challenge was to create 45 minutes of elearning to supplement the existing face-to-face training that Whizz-Kidz currently offers. While Whizz-Kidz already had some elearning, the charity was looking for something that would be more interactive and engaging for their audience – physically disabled young people between the ages of 13 and 19 years old.
One of the biggest challenges was developing the content for the course from scratch. This meant sourcing a SME with the expertise of the subject matter and experience working with our target audience, so that the content reflected their particular experiences.
With an experienced SME on board, the next step was to research and plan the three modules: Dealing with your feelings, Food and fitness and Relationships. We kicked things off with a design workshop where we got to meet some of the young people who would ultimately be using the learning. It was these initial discussions that sparked several of the most engaging elements of the elearning.
To keep the learning relevant, each module focuses on a compelling storyline, following several young people as they make decisions about healthy living: be it about how they feel about themselves, how to deal with overprotective parents or bullying schoolmates, or how to find new and fun ways to get active and meet new people.
As well as helping shape the learning, it also had a positive effect on the learners themselves, as Ruth Giller, Children and Young People's Training Manager for Whizz-Kidz comments: “The young people were very impressed and appreciated being involved.”
Knowing that our target audience is inundated with information on a daily basis, Whizz-Kidz and Kineo worked together to make sure that the elearning did two things:
- Reflect real-life examples that the young people could identify with
- Ensure that the learning was presented in a fun and engaging way
Form follows fun(!)ction
We didn’t want our audience to feel like they were back in the classroom, so we tried to keep it fun and engaging. Taking inspiration from new and social media, a lot of the learning modelled conversations through SMS, emails, video diaries and social networking sites.
One of the key things the young people we spoke to wanted was information that would act as a springboard. So, for the module on Food and fitness, they wanted to know where they could go to find more information on a variety of activities. This inspired the design of two activity pages that learners could explore on their own – which would not only give them a taste of each activity, but give them a couple of ideas of how to pursue it if they were interested.
You said it!
It’s not just what you say – but how you say it that matters. For this project that meant using language and dialogue that the young people were familiar with, even if it meant ‘breaking the rules’.
Finally, bearing in mind the isolation often experienced by the target audience, the final section of each module, ‘In my experience... ’, used examples from positive role models within the audience’s peer group to discuss how they would deal with the issues that came up in that module.
Feedback that we had at the alpha stage from the end-users, included:
- "Loved the fact that there were disabled young people in the videos and pictures"
- "Loved the opening pages and found the screens easy to navigate through"
- "Liked the iPhone graphic"
- "Loved the problem page films (but the sound was very faint, and the 3rd girl has a speech impairment – this is great as representative of our user group, but they asked for this all to be made louder and subtitles instead of transcripts)"
- "Loved the idea of 'In my experience' films"
- "Loved the disability sport icons and information about where to get involved"
And as Ruth Giller says: “[The group] felt that the issues were relevant and unique to them – nothing else like it out there for young disabled people. This was our main objective – so good news.”
[On the gold release:] “I have now received feedback from 3 young people on the gold releases and it’s mainly very positive! My director of communications has also fed back that he thinks they are excellent. I’m really pleased and very excited to launch them. Thanks for your brilliant work on this.”
[On project sign off:] “I have very much enjoyed working with you and the Kineo team also. I think this has been a fantastic project and really is a unique resource for disabled young people.”
This project won the Bronze Award from the Elearning Awards in 2012 for Best Not for Profit Elearning Project.
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