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Chicago, IL 60640
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NogginLabs was founded on the notion that custom e-learning design and development is the ultimate horizontal industry. Time and again, each new project, client, and industry proves it. The biggest advantage of the e-learning horizontal is cross-pollinating ideas from two wildly different domains. A restaurant service simulation for iPad may influence a high-fashion online retail challenge. E-learning for financial advisors in a bank could inspire a mobile outreach program for cancer survivors. This variety also keeps the creative folks at NogginLabs fresh. Fresh learning ideas and designs come from a set of constantly changing constraints.

Blockbuster e-learning


Blockbuster e-learning

Ryan O'Neill

Captain America: Civil War, Ghostbusters, Warcraft—It’s summer movie season! Explosions, bad dialogue, explosions…explosions. Though much of the summer fare can be vapid, some movies are able to draw their audience in through good storytelling and strong characters. What can summer movies teach us about e-learning?


You can’t just make something flashy with a lot of explosions. Well, you can, but the audience won’t take much away from it. A summer movie that doesn’t have a good story might entertain an audience while they eat popcorn, but once the lights come up and they walk out of the theater, they won’t remember much about it. 

You can’t just throw a bunch of money at a movie to make it good, and the same goes for custom e-learning. You and your vendor have to care about the story you are telling. Don’t underestimate your learners' desire for engagement and capacity for challenging courseware.

Moviegoers and e-learning audiences alike want to be challenged.


During the summer movie season, you have to be living off the grid to not be at least tangentially aware of what movies are being released. The marketing budgets for these movies are about as big as the budget for the movie itself. There are tie-ins, commercials, and billboards—if there is a blank surface, you will probably see an ad for a blockbuster movie on it.

You have to let your learners know the course exists. There are a few ways that you can get learners excited about an upcoming e-learning course. Portals are a way to create a virtual community for your learners. Challenges allow learners to compete with one another and create a ‘buzz’ about a course or mini-game. Course trailers act the same as movie trailers by showing a short, engaging preview of what’s to come in order to get learners excited about a course.


Sequels are obviously first and foremost made because they make money. But they also allow storytellers to expand a world, flesh out characters even more, and, of course, make call-back jokes to the first movie.

When you have a follow-up course that you are making with us (a sequel, if you will) what should you keep in mind? Your audience is already familiar with the interface and many screen types. You can use what has been established already but also expand the screen types to best fit the content and keep learners engaged with something new.

Take advantage of the fact that your learners are already familiar with e-learning and take that as an opportunity to challenge them even more.