The Guru Game – Adobe Captivate


I wrote this tongue-in-cheek e-learning game as part of an  assignment for my University of California E-learning & Instructional Design course. The basic idea is for the game to act as a sort of online CV. The target learners are e-learning professionals and recruiters. The aim of the activity is to make them think a little more deeply about styles of e-learning. The three challenges in the game demonstrate best practice in e-learning by contrasting it with examples of passive learning and poor methodology.The Guru Game - Click to Try

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Learning Theory

The game showcases two important learning ideas which I am very keen on: narrative questions and gamification.

  • Narrative questions differ from standard quiz questions by setting up a brief, but powerful micro-scenario, which appeals to the learner and so gets them more involved in the learning material. The questions are written at the “apply” level or higher of Bloom’s Taxonomy. This means the learners demonstrate that they can use what they have learned, not simply remember abstract facts.
  • Gamification. This game challenges the learner and rewards their successful progress (there is a real prize available for learners who complete all three challenges.) The ideas behind gamification are twofold: to use a system of progression and rewards to motivate the learner to achieve more highly, while also encouraging them to try again if, or when they are unsuccessful.


To produce this game, I used three main programs: Adobe Captivate 7, Adobe PhotoShop, Powerpoint.

  • Captivate was used to create all the interactions and movement on the slides, this is the “engine” behind the game. I created all the sound effects, background music, challenge questions etc in this program. The game has been produced in HTML5 as well as flash, so that learners can access it both on a tablet, or a computer.
  • Photoshop helped me to delete the backgrounds on images of the main character in the game (me!)
  • PowerPoint was a really useful tool for the initial storyboarding. Being so versatile and lightweight, it’s a great program from making mockups of e-learning courses.

What I like about this Portfolio Piece

It was really great fun developing this game, because I was able to indulge myself and be a bit more light-hearted than a serious, commissioned job. I love the gamified learning, it’s something that I hope to develop with more clients in the future.

In keeping with the fun, tongue-in-cheek “guru” theme, the game was designed to look and feel like something from the Seven  Years In Tibet film. There is a dramatic soundtrack, sound effects and even a fun sequence where you can kill me if you lose.

What I Would Do Differently Next Time

To truly get the benefits of gamification, learners should be able to see progression and achievements as they make their way through the course. This e-learning game is only one “level” long, so learnersget a small benefit from the sense of achievement.

In a real-world game, I’m not sure if I would be able to get away with such dramatic background music, so I would give learners the option to turn the music off before they enter the game.

Play the Game