Doping and the use of performance-enhancing substances in sports is a serious problem that threatens to undermine the spirit of sports and endanger the lives of athletes around the world. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) targets an international audience of athletes, coaches, sports organizations, and governments as part of its broad mission to bring consistency to anti-doping policies and promote doping-free sports around the world. The need to craft a consistent anti-doping message for athletes, coaches, and other stakeholders inspired WADA to partner with a full-service eLearning company to create online learning programs as a component of broader, multi-faceted anti-doping educational initiative. Specifically, WADA needed to create online learning programs to inspire elite athletes and coaches to embrace the core message of the World Anti-Doping Code.
In 2009, following an open bid for tenders, WADA awarded Web Courseworks (WCW) a development project and a multi-year hosting contract due WCW’s expertise in online course development, games and simulations, and hosted learning management. This long-term, broad-based partnership has enabled WCW to design, develop, and deliver three major anti-doping eLearning programs:
- CoachTrue eLearning Experience
- PlayTrue Challenge
- The Athlete Learning Program about Health and Anti-Doping (ALPHA)
These award-winning eLearning products are available in 11 languages and are hosted on WCW’s CourseStage Learning Management System (LMS) platform.
CoachTrue eLearning Experience
CoachTrue is a highly interactive eLearning tool developed for adult coaches of elite athletes. WCW created the CoachTrue program by transforming classroom-based material into a high-quality, online educational game. CoachTrue incorporates problem-based learning activities to test coaches’ knowledge of anti-doping regulations.
WCW leveraged its Conversant simulation engine and instructional design expertise to build immersive first-person branching scenarios in which learners must decide the best course of action during a virtual conversation with troubled athletes. A trivia mini-game is used to reinforce core content and tap into the competitive nature of the target audience. Interactive process maps simplify complex procedures and regulations, help coaches identify their situation and needs, and facilitate learning outside of the formal eLearning experience.
CoachTrue was honored by the International Academy of the Visual Arts as a silver winner at the 2010 Davey Awards.
The success of the CoachTrue program led to an opportunity to develop PlayTrue Challenge, a game in which young athletes are empowered to make positive choices regarding performance enhancing substances.
PlayTrue Challenge is an immersive learning game developed to support WADA’s PlayTrue Generation Initiative. The game design of PlayTrue Challenge addresses the challenges athletes face in and out of competition. The in-competition experience is represented through a sports mini-game where players control their avatar in the sport of JumpCross using traditional video game mechanics. Learners compete to win competitions and rise up the JumpCross rankings. The out-of-competition experience is represented through conversations with coaches, teammates, doctors, and others. These branching scenarios confront learners with doping dilemmas. Poor decisions made in these conversations can carry over and negatively affect a learner’s performance in the JumpCross game.
PlayTrue Challenge launched at the first Youth Olympic Games, in Singapore, August of 2010. It was honored at the 2011 International Serious Play Awards with a silver award for excellence in educational online game development.
The success of the PlayTrue game led to new translation and localization demand for the product. By working with professional translation services and in-house language experts, WCW quickly developed versions of the game in 11 languages, including English, Spanish, French, Chinese (Traditional), Arabic, Russian, German, Korean, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese.
The Athlete Learning Program about Health and Anti-Doping (ALPHA)
When WADA sought to reach the next generation of international athletes —competitors under the age of 24 in registered testing pools — WCW developed ALPHA. This project utilized a variety of instructional formats, including tutorials, narrative scenarios, HTML5-based interactive games, process maps, and check-on-learning activities to engage a new audience of learners.
Manga-style comic strips present moral and ethical doping issues to younger athletes. Rather than use dry tutorial content to simply say “doping is bad,” WCW instructional designers crafted stories to help learners connect with realistic doping problems. Didactic content in each lesson is used to resolve conflicts presented the comic strips, and this connection to a broader narrative reinforces the moral and ethical value of the core anti-doping message.
A moral reasoning card game designed in HTML5 serves as a virtual sandbox for learners to build moral arguments using anti-doping facts. Young athletes must decide how to shape an argument to resolve the issue presented in the comic strip by connecting facts and assertions in a logical manner. Because the ultimate purpose of the WADA Athlete Education Program is to change athletes’ attitudes toward doping, an online survey is also included in the course through CourseStage LMS. The survey is based on the Performance Enhancers Attitude Scale (PEAS) and is designed to assess each athlete’s current attitude toward doping control. CourseStage records survey results and provides the anonymous data to WADA for evaluation and analysis.
WCW is proud of its contributions to WADA’s mission of promoting doping-free sports around the world. The global initiatives aimed at a variety of target audiences have leveraged WCW’s experience and expertise in course development, games and simulations, and hosted learning management.
The award-winning CoachTrue and PlayTrue Challenge simulation games provide a framework for young athletes and their coaches to become leaders in the anti-doping movement. These immersive learning experiences provide a safe space for learners to put their knowledge into practice and learn more about the negative consequences of doping. The ALPHA project serves as a beacon to help guide the moral and ethical decisions of the next generation of athletes.
The synergies created through these initiatives are the product of a long-term, broad-based relationship between a full-service eLearning company and an organization with a mission to deliver a clear message to a global audience. Are you ready to become the next WCW success story?