St John Ambulance has completed First Aid training with over 730,000 students in Victorian primary schools as of 2018. Their educators visit classrooms annually to present the DRSABC First Aid action plan.
When returning to schools, St John Ambulance’s instructors reported children were having trouble recalling elements of the training from the previous year.
Recognising the need for an “out of the classroom” solution, the challenge was to devise a fun and accessible platform to reinforce children’s First Aid skills between annual sessions.
Conduct was engaged to build a mobile edutainment application; a digital solution to encourage children to learn at home, at their own pace. The app helps children digest and retain the heavy themes covered in formal training sessions. It also provides First Aid education to children in remote areas beyond St John Ambulance trainers’ reach.
First Aid Action Hero gamifies St John Ambulance’s DRSABC action plan, inviting players to make their way through six activities following the narrative of a bicycle accident.
We understand designing digital products for children requires research to align desired product outcomes with children’s’ learning capabilities. We had to find the right balance between learning and play. St John Ambulance approached us with an original, undeveloped game framework, complete with storyboards. In partnership, we reimagined the narrative, shifting from a passive learning model to an active one. This would take the children’s’ focus from memorisation-oriented to task-oriented.
First Aid Action Hero has players compete in a fast-paced BMX race. A mini game for each key step in the DRSABC action plan halts the race, inviting players to help their character while waiting for an ambulance.
Leveraging St John Ambulance’s experience with their audience, we co-hosted sessions to explore ideas with children from a broad age range. We found grade three (or ages 8+) children responded best to content. Early in discovery, concepts were tested to understand whether the themes and lessons were resonating and if children could retain the information delivered.
High fidelity prototype testing used interaction design and gameplay to gauge the children’s’ engagement. This allowed us to observe opportunities to enhance their experience. We found challenges and rewards were important to stimulate this audience. The final prototype introduces a ‘race against the clock’, to harness competitive spirit. Conduct has had success with similar game design methods in the past where ‘mastery and ownership’ contribute to a rounded experience.
First Aid Action Hero was downloaded over 6000 times within five months of its launch. After an enthusiastic reception from Victorian school students, we are proud to have contributed to a successful initiative that will be rolled out by St John Ambulance to schools internationally.