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Jul 26, 2018 Katelind Hays

Get into Character for Better Blended Learning

47451358_sHave you ever watched The Magic School Bus? What about Bill Nye the Science Guy or Schoolhouse Rock?

These entertaining children's television programs have an important common approach to education: they explain complex subject matter in easy-to-understand ways by using likeable characters in fun narratives.

The childlike wonder you experienced when learning chemistry from Bill Nye can happen in the modern classroom. Regardless of whether your content focuses on technical training or soft skills, incorporating characters into appropriate learning modules can positively impact both learner engagement and retention.

Why do characters make a difference? Because they humanize material and add a layer of relatability for learners that encourages greater involvement in the learning process. This creates a compelling environment where information transfer may more easily lead to behavior change. That’s a goal we can all get behind.

Like all blended learning components, characters don’t work well in all design approaches. In our experience, video and eLearning elements provide a particularly useful and straightforward opportunity to test this technique.

Resident instructional design superhero Donna the Designer covers a proven methodology in her video Getting into Character. Spend five minutes to watch and learn:

  • How characters can model desired behavior
  • The connection characters have with Ruth Clark’s “Six Principles of Effective eLearning”
  • Ways to leverage Subject Matter Experts into the process and final product
  • The benefits to using a familiar face from the office in your narratives

Not sure how to gain buy-in for this innovative treatment?

Donna argues, “Learning agents help to simplify complex content and act as guides modeling best practices, concepts, and procedures.”


Published by Katelind Hays July 26, 2018
Katelind Hays