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CUSTOM E-LEARNING

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.

Custom e-learning and Cheers: Where everybody knows your username

Labs-Blog

Custom e-learning and Cheers: Where everybody knows your username

Ryan O'Neill

I’ve been watching Cheers on Netflix for a little while now. When I was a kid, the show didn’t interest me because it all took place in one location and it just seemed like a bunch of people talking to each other. Now, I think the show is phenomenal because it all takes place in one location and it is just a bunch of people talking to each other. Here are some reasons I like Cheers and how sitcoms connect to what I do every day as a custom e-learning writer.

HOOK THEM FROM THE START 

Great sitcoms always have an engaging opening song. Cheers opened with a great song over old-timey pictures of people in bars. (“You wanna go where everybody knows your name.”) The Simpsons starts with a Danny Elfman tune as the viewer buzzes through Springfield.

When you start an e-learning course, a hook animation as an introduction can generate excitement and give the learner a sense of what’s ahead. Think of it as your course’s opening credits.

COMPACT, TIGHT WRITING

In most TV sitcoms, there are 22 minutes to introduce, tell, and wrap up a story. The writing has to be tight and no words can be wasted. In Cheers, most episodes follow a similar structure: There is a main ‘A’ storyline, a ‘B’ storyline, and a ‘C’ ongoing joke. Every word fits inside this structure.

This economy of words is also the case with e-learning. Most learners don’t have all day to click through a course. A lot of the time, you get 20 to 30 minutes to get your message across. Every word must serve the larger message in the most effective and engaging way possible.

SAME CHARACTERS, DIFFERENT OUTCOMES

Every episode of a sitcom uses some combination of characters familiar to the audience. Maybe some episodes focus more heavily on Sam and Diane, while others are about Coach and Norm. The audience sees these characters all the time and knows their core beliefs and how they function on a day-to-day basis. Writers use these character functions in different combinations, with different situations, to create an engaging story. 

When you are building a course, you want to use elements and screen types that learners are familiar with in different combinations to get your message across effectively. So the building blocks may be the same, but courses can be wildly different depending on the outcome the client desires. 

IT’S COLLABORATIVE

Writers, actors, producers, set designers, caterers, etc. Many, many people are necessary in the creation of one television show.

Same here. We have instructional designers, programmers, content producers, and designers (plus, dogs) all bringing their areas of expertise to the table to create an engaging e-learning course.