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So; You think your job doesn’t matter?

Submitted by Kingsley on Thu, 05/31/2018 - 23:52
SMS Message


Recently I completed a project with the eLearning Brothers for a national fraternity. It was a challenging project that really let me showcase some of my skills. They needed to add several features to Storyline elevate a course into a truly engaging and effective course. It was the kind of stuff I love and I knew I would get a lot out of it. But I had no idea just how important it was.

In my normal work (adding JavaScript, xAPI, creating web apps, etc.) I often don’t see much of the content. In this project they wanted to add three really cool features:

  • An interactive custom calendar that Learners could download as a PDF or add to their own calendar (.ics file).
  • A method of collecting Learner input and emailing it to them from the server.
  • And an option for the Learner to input their phone number and receive a text message with a contact card (.vcf file) they could import into their own contacts.


I thoroughly enjoyed creating an HTML5 calendar that enabled Learners to drag and drop events to plan a day. When they were done they could save the day as a PDF or download a file that they could add to their own calendar. We inserted that as a web object into Storyline.

For the email, I worked with the course developer to identify which Storyline variables held the Learners’ input for various questions (ex: How will you improve your ability to XXX?). Then I wrote some JavaScript to send that data (along with some context) to an inexpensive service via its API. Then it would package it neatly and send it to the Learner’s email. This way they had a reminder of the commitments they made during the course.

For the text message I used the same service. Again, working with the course developer, we prompted the Learner for their cell phone number. I configured the service and wrote some JavaScript that would send a text message (SMS) to the Learner with the fraternity’s contact information.

I was pretty stoked by how well it all worked. Then during the project close out call with eLearning Brothers I found out just how important the work was. The course was to help educate college students on what to if they felt like life was no longer worth living. The course was paid for by a generous donor.

The donor was the family of a young man who had taken his own life. They wanted to ensure that people had a place to turn. They wanted the Learns to have a plan for how to handle depression and know who to call for help immediately.  

The text message with the contact card was very important to them. They wanted people to have a contact in their phone that would help them. Here is quote from the call:

“The one thing the Dad donor wanted in the training was the click to "text" feature. He was passionate about providing this functionality in case someone like his son ever needed it. He said our team worked over and beyond to figure out how to get that feature for him and do it in a way that not only works but was financially responsible. He is thankful to Rhea, Dan, Andre and Kingsley for figuring out a solution for this feature.  If you ever wonder if what you do each day makes a difference, think of this project.”

Think of that the next time you are wondering about the importance of the course you are designing or developing. No, not every course is life saving, but just maybe yours will be.  


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