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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.

Spelling bee-learning


Spelling bee-learning

Ryan O'Neill

Ah, the snow is gone, the grass is green, and the ballparks are open. You know what that means: it’s time for the National Spelling Bee! By the end of this month, this year’s champion will be crowned and children everywhere can put their flashcards away for the summer.

We all know the clips. Stressed out kids wearing huge name tags, trying their best to retain thousands and thousands of words in their heads, struggling to remember, struggling to stand, falling, slowly losing grasp of reality and falling, wishing that for one moment they didn’t need to be on this stage. But it’s a fun competition.

Let’s take a look at some things that custom e-learning and the National Spelling Bee have in common. 


Really, any spelling bee is just the gamification of the task of spelling. The structure of competition is a layer on top of the simple act of spelling words. And pressure is provided by the parents.

We add gamification elements to content to engage learners. Challenges, points, and levels can all be added to courses.


Pause. “Can you use it in a sentence, please?” Nod. “Origin, please?” Nod. These aren’t necessarily “hints,” but they do aid the participant by providing context to the word.

In an e-learning course or custom portal, we can include resources that learners can print out and take with them. Typically these contain graphics of key concepts from the course. Learners can come back to these resources when they need a refresher. They are also able to revisit the course at any time.


As the competition continues and more participants are knocked out, the words thrown out are increasingly more difficult. You aren’t going to see the word “scherenschnitte” in the first round. And you aren’t going to see the word “easy” in the last round. The complexity builds as the competition progresses.

In a custom e-learning course, we are able to break large, complex concepts into smaller, more digestible pieces. After learners grasp the smaller concepts, they put all of them together to come to an understanding of the whole.


Unlike the spelling bee, if you fail in an e-learning course, it’s okay, even good. Failure in the spelling bee means you go home, defeated. Failure in an e-learning course is great because it makes a learners question why they failed. Then they are able to go back and try again with their newfound understanding of the concept. It’s immediate application of learned material, rather than having to wait another year for the spelling bee to come back so you have another shot at “appoggiatura.”