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Game Jam: Designing Learning for the Real World

Experience is the most powerful teacher.

We figure out whether our decisions are good or bad, right or wrong from experiencing the consequences of our actions, judging whether it ‘worked’ or not and then adjusting our behaviour accordingly.

However, not all experience must be hard won in real-life situations, where mistakes have serious consequences. At Dialectic we apply those same principles to designing game-based e-learning for real-life success.


Our groundbreaking approach to game design for powerful e-learning has its roots in the Game Jam we held in October, 2017, engaging the designers and students from the Game Design and Development Program at Wilfrid Laurier University. During a half-day creative exploration, we collaborated to generate foundational ideas about the gaming experience.

The end result is Vitalogue, an interactive, scenario-based story designed to increase knowledge of advance care planning among healthcare professionals. Vitalogue is a scrolling, comic-book style choose-your-own-adventure game to navigate key concepts. Each decision made along the way is weighted with a score, and, in the end, people discover whether their choices led to a good outcome for the main character of the story.

Combining carefully constructed content with an engaging design helps learners understand how to bring about best-case outcomes on a daily basis.

The outcome is a contextually rich education experience, while the gaming component promotes engagement and practical learning – ideal for applying abstract concepts and principles to novel situations.

Learners have the opportunity to practice the skills in real-world contexts, not merely learn more information in a way that is divorced from its application.

Vitalogue is a collaboration between St. Joseph’s Health Centre GuelphCanadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington, and Hospice of Waterloo Region. Watch for the official release in May 2018.



Have a look behind the scenes at the making of Vitalogue.

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