online course for an international development agency

Purpose & Role

This course introduces RapidPro, an open-source SMS platform, to community level staff and other agency or government staff. As project manager and lead instructional designer, I was responsible for client communication, storyboarding, designing and developing the course interface and interactions in Articulate Storyline 2, and quality assurance. Other team members provided illustrated backgrounds and characters, as well as review and editing support. The client provided content materials and subject matter expertise.


The research phase of this project involved learning how to use RapidPro and how different organizations have used it. After grasping the scope of the course, I created a storyboard for module 1 that introduces learners to RapidPro and provides some case studies of how it has been used. The module ends with a quiz on RapidPro and the case studies covered.

The development of the course architecture, as visualized within Articulate Storyline 2.

After incorporating client feedback into the storyboard, I dived into development of the interface of the course. By creating both a sidebar and course map, the user is able navigate through the course in multiple ways. For instance, in the first module of the course of the course, learners click on different destinations to learn more about specific case studies. Each case study features an avatar that explains the case study to the learner and an interaction in which the learner practices using a simulated RapidPro system based on the case study.

The side menu provides an alternative to using the course map.
The learner discovers how RapidPro works in a particular case study by interacting with a simulation of the system (uReport, in this screenshot).
To demonstrate learning, the learner drags and drops potential use cases for RapidPro onto "appropriate" or "may not be approrpiate" boxes.
The learner receives feedback based on their action.

Below is a screencast demo-ing a few interactions within the first module.

The second module focuses on the complicated topic of prioritizing international development challenges. To unpack this topic, I designed an exercise that asks the learner to drag sliders to rank given challenges according to four distinct criteria. To track the learner's choices, I created a variable that changes with the sliders. After submitting her choices, the learner receives the overall criteria ranking, based on the value of this variable. After prioritizing challenges, the learner engages in a similar exercise to determine if RapidPro would be an appropriate tool for her intervention. After deciding on an appropriate project for RapidPro, the user then dives into considerations of the end user and how to design a RapidPro flow for that person. By focusing on specific examples, free response exercises, and high level strategic thinking, the module challenges the learner to critically think about what constitutes a good project for RapidPro, and how to effectively utilize RapidPro for that project.

After identifying an appropriate project and considering users, the course provides a sample system map to help learners think through systemtic implications of implementing RapidPro.
The learner may hover over parts of the map for more information.

Below is a screencast demo-ing a few interactions from the second module.