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In August of 2014 I got an interesting email from a client. She was looking for a “highly interactive”, scenario-based, 15 minute elearning course. The end of the message really got my attention – “Gamification?”

Then I read a little bit more about the content. Compliance.

And not one of the exciting compliance topics like anti-money laundering or privacy protection (you know, exciting for compliance). No, this was enterprise document records management or EDRM. The acronym didn’t make it any more interesting.

As a government organization, they needed their entire organization to get familiar with the fundamental EDRM requirements to embrace the benefits of good records managements (and reduce exposure to regulatory penalties).

The client had asked for gamification, but we thought we needed more than that and took it to a full game-based approach. Coincidentally I had just played the 1st person mystery game, Gone Home, and took that as my inspiration.


Now, we didn’t have the time, budget or skills to build a full 1st person game like Gone Home. We had about 3 months to build (including all reviews and development) and a limited budget. On the plus, my skills were not as limited as the budget. We also had to build/house the course in (Storyline 2).  

We knew the game-based strategy was new to the organization and would grab people’s attention but we didn’t want the game to be full of screens with a stock cutout photo and a voiceover (back to the boring). We wanted something to pop and grab people’s attention from the start of the course.


I had used the Whiteboard theme in GoAnimate for another project, so I thought I’d give one of the other themes a try for this.

I settled on the Comedy World theme (now retired in favor of the more robust “Business Friendly” theme). Turned out to be an awesome decision.

I knew after playing around for 3 minutes that my clients would love the concept – and I was right. The ability to create a diverse set of characters was a huge added bonus. Not surprisingly, the client isn’t staffed by the happy, smiley, attractive non-diverse group that are plentiful in stock photos so we could use characters more representative of their workforce.

The Scenario

We started with Joe, who is the “average Joe” at the organization. He became the host who helped everyone navigate their way through the course.


Our main landing page was an office layout (which was really just a bunch of rectangles layered on a GoAnimate video) where people selected which part of the office to visit and find hidden (and not so hidden) items to learn.


Some were simple knowledge nuggets, others were questions to answer. Each item they found earned them points and they needed to earn 40 points to complete the module.



This resonated much better with learners than telling them the standard, “you must earn at least 80% on the assessment…” What we didn’t tell them was that to earn 40 points, you need to answer 80% of the questions correctly.

As the designer/developer I loved how easy it was to build GoAnimate into my workflow.

Creating the videos was pretty straightforward and actually used less budget than creating an office environment directly in Storyline.

Using GoAnimate’s pre-built templates saved a ton of time versus searching stock photo sites trying to find office photos that work together (or work at all for that matter). And inserting the GoAnimate videos into Storyline was a breeze.

Once inserted on the slide, it was simple to add assets and layers on the videos to create really dynamic interactions:


If it weren’t for these increased efficiencies, we wouldn’t have been able to create the course within budget. Plus, designing a fully animated and immersive game was, well, fun — which was a nice added bonus (and something I can’t say about every course I build).

Once the course was built and launched, learners loved it!


The goal was to have 100% of employees complete the course in 6 months.

Two months in, 99.2% of employees had completed it (the .8% was attributed to people out on short term disability). There were actually employees talking about it in the lunchroom and recommending that employees take it.

For me as the vendor this was the course that kept on giving.

One employee who loved it (and took it multiple times trying to improve his score) was a manager in another department who was in need of an elearning course. They insisted that I be part of the RFP process (we won the contract).

And the client for this course showed it to an EDRM specialist at a local utility and we’re now in the process of rebuilding it to meet their requirements – this time using the Business Friendly theme which has grown so much and provide a ton of options that we’re going to need.