Grade 10 is when a student should start thinking about what path they want to take after graduating from high school. It can be easy to miss out on a post-secondary education that best matches their interests while setting them up for a successful career.
When the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta came to us to help solve this problem, we were excited to take on the challenge. We created the Arts 101 Universe, a gamified experience that lets students confidently navigate their options in a digital environment.
Tasked with developing a creative direction that would appeal to a younger demographic, we crafted a program that would resonate with prospective students and their parent or guardian. In addition, the course would be built to last at least 5 years with faculty members making the necessary content adjustments.
Our concept was to create an experience based on old-school, adventure-style video games. Think Super Mario or Zelda. The aptly named Arts 101 Universe features each Arts program as a land within the universe. The aesthetic is nostalgia with a modern twist.
While the Arts 101 Universe pays homage to adventure-style video games, it was designed to have an isometric illustration style. Using this style, we created a library of miniature campus landmarks and student and faculty characters to personalize the experience.
The Learning Pathway
In the introductory chapter, a student gets a glimpse of what the Faculty of Arts has to offer before they’re directed towards a self-assessment task. Once completed, the student receives feedback on which Arts programs they might be interested in and program portals open to reveal different lands (Humanities, Social Sciences, Fine Arts, and Interdisciplinary) that they can explore at their own pace.
Tasks and Games
Within each program chapter, the associated majors and minors are represented as their own task. These tasks cover a quick overview including an introduction, key information the student should know about the program, and a possible career. Other game tasks challenge students to uncover bite sized fun facts about different majors and minors offered in each of the programs.
We wanted to inject a lot of personality and character into the Arts 101 Universe so that it spoke to a younger demographic. All of the program information has been stripped of overly academic language. When a student interacts with the course material, they feel like they’re speaking to a peer instead of being told what to do.
As a student goes through the course, they earn points and unlock badges. All of our new badges are based on the official Emoji Unicode Standard as each Badgemoji is paired with a clever title and punny descriptor making the experience fun and relatable.
Any Pace. Any Place
The final course is built so that students can access it at any time and any place. It’s an open course making it available to anyone without having to create an account ahead of time. This allows students to come back multiple times without having to worry about remembering login credentials.
For some students, getting their parent or guardian on board with their post-secondary choices is an important step. To help, we integrated social sharing throughout so that students can easily share program information via Twitter, Facebook, SMS or email.
Keeping Content Up to Snuff
With all of our customers, it’s important to the Faculty of Arts that they can update content over the coming years. To manage this requirement, Trajectory IQ works with Gather Content. Faculty members can update content in one place making it easy to maintain, update, and publish.