The 4-Door Approach to Effective and Engaging E-Learning Design

Resident Mad Scientist, The Thiagi Group
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This rapid design approach can be applied to creating e-learning on any topic using any platform. The outcome of this approach is an online training module that is divided into four areas: The library contains the content such as reference materials and job aids, the playground contains games with closed questions, the café contains a chat area with open-ended questions, and the assessment center contains a performance test. The participants work through any of these areas in any sequence, any number of time. Based on self-determination theory of intrinsic motivation, this approach treats adult learners with respect and provides them with meaningful choices.

Prepare an outline for a 4D e-learning module by specifying the contents for the library, the games for the playground, the open questions for the cafe, and the performance test for the assessment center. 

Design an e-learning course that consist of modules created by the 4D approach.

About Thiagi

Thiagi (aka Dr. Sivasailam Thiagarajan) is the Resident Mad Scientist at the Thiagi Group. For the past 30 years, he has been making a fairly decent living by playing games and helping others to play. Since March 21, 1999, he has been designing a new training activity every day (including weekends and holidays).

A four-time president of the North American Simulation and Gaming Association (NASAGA), and two-time president (25 years apart) of the International Society for performance improvement (ISPI/NSPI), Thiagi has lived in three different countries and has worked and played in 25 other countries. He currently writes a training blog at

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