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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.

Scrabble game mechanics, quordants, and e-learning


Scrabble game mechanics, quordants, and e-learning

Ryan O'Neill

At home, my wife and I keep a magnetic Scrabble board hanging on the wall. We have a game going constantly (last time I checked, my winning percentage was 0.00%) and are able to take turns whenever we pass it in the hallway and the other player has already gone. We go in spurts, so sometimes we’ll each take a few turns in a day; sometimes we take days between turns with the board just hanging there like another to-do list item. 

Anyway, I was thinking about Scrabble, and this specific play-whenever-you-like version of the game, and how the game mechanics at work can be used in custom e-learning.


The great thing about this board (true unsponsored fan here) is that we can play it around our schedules. Some days we shout out when we’ve finished a turn so the other player can go. Other times it takes a few days because we have more important things to do, such as reading a dictionary or consulting the Internet about the existence of the word “quordant” (Note: the Internet is wrong). 

An e-learning course allows users to complete it when it fits into their schedules. Maybe someone is a night owl and wants to take a course at 1am. With in-person training that will take an extremely accommodating instructor, but with an e-learning course, it fits right into the learner’s preferences without inconveniencing others.


In Scrabble, some squares are special (double/triple letter/word squares). If you use one of these squares in your turn, you are rewarded with more points than a normal square. So you are targeting a specific square to achieve a greater score. Putting “quordant” down in a space with special squares is worth more than putting it in a place on the board with blank squares. Well, maybe not “quordant,” but you see what I’m saying. 

We can do the same with rewards in a course. If we want learners to use a certain skill to accomplish a screen or reward them for visiting a certain section of the portal, well then we can attach an achievement badge to that action. It is a targeted skill that we can reward.


The board includes a dry erase board to keep track of the score, but you can also just write notes to each other. Playful jabs reminding one player that he’s never won a game, say.

With a custom portal, learners are able to send challenges to each other via email to beat a high score in a mini-game or complete a course first.


This is not a word. Really seems like it should be.

Updated winning percentage: 0.00%