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Who You Gonna Call? Onboarding the Ghostbusters

Ryan Laverty
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Who you gonna call? If you're thinking "The Ghostbusters", you're probably familiar with the classic, crime-fighting group. As part of Arist's Text Message Course Competition, Ian Crook, an instructional designer at AWS, created a course for onboarding the Ghostbusters. The 10 day course covers every from Ghostbusters 101 to getting a team member set up on all things fighting ghosts.

To take Ian's legendary course on Ghostbuster Onboarding, just click here!

Can you give us a quick background about yourself?

I'm a Jack-of-all-trades when it comes to technology, instructional design, and all things user experience.

I've always believed that the best learning designers make learning feel game-like. According to Ian's Twitter bio, he's an avid gamer. That helps explain the really cool course.

What made you want to write a text message course?

Well, the contest was a big initial incentive behind it, but as I kept developing and researching, it became very apparent how this delivery method could impact users.

For context, Ian is referring to our Text Message Course Competition, where learning designers from around the world competed to write the best text message course. Ian's was definitely one of our favorites.

Read more: Why Nanolearning is the Future of Learning

Tell us a little bit about your course. Who is it built for and why?

This course was built by Ghostbusters International for new franchise owners to give as part of their onboarding package.

Of course this is all fictional, but I figured this would be a fun way to create a proof-of-concept with pop-culture references. I wanted to show off what the tool is capable of in a way that's engaging and novel.

Ian's course includes a lot of images, quizzes, and fun stories. He really used the tool the way it's intended, and his popularity among our learners shows it.

What is one thing you learned or found helpful while writing this course?

I found it's wildly difficult to take training concepts and condense it down into less than 1200 characters. It made me really focus on what really mattered in the content and what could be used as reference.

How are you measuring success with your learners? Any feedback so far?

At this stage, consistent engagement is what I'm looking at. If I can get folks to also learn a little bit more about the Ghostbusters universe, then it's a silly extra win for me.

Are you planning on writing additional courses? If so, on which subjects and why?

Honestly, I kind of already did it with the ghostbusters one. I've been pondering an idea to create a habit forming guided training. Sort of like a reminder with context.

That's really cool! We see a lot of habit building courses on topics like mindfulness and fitness. Text messages meet users where they are and our model delivers once daily, which becomes a very effective tool for reinforcement.

What piece of advice would you give to anyone looking to create their first text message course?

Identify early what matters most in your content, specifically key takeaways! 1200 characters aren't a lot, so make it count.

Great advice! All of our tactics, templates, and help needed live in our course guides.

To be featured as a creator in our blogs, just head to: To take Ian's famous Ghostbuster course, just click here!

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