2020 Text Message Course Competition

Presented by Arist and the Learning Futures Group

The future of learning is coming, one text message at a time.

In the first competition of it's kind, learning designers, consultants, and learning & development teams around the world will take their shot at designing the best course they possibly can, with one twist: it's all in text message format.

We've got an all-star group of judges and a fantastic prize pool at the ready. Are you up for the challenge?

Deadline to register is Feb. 19.

Before we start: what's a text message course?
Inspired by research from Stanford and UPenn, text message courses are an efficient and accessible learning medium.
1,200 characters

Text message courses consist of a series of daily texts, each of which are no longer than 1,200 characters. Send daily explanations, concepts, and case studies, all neatly packaged into 1,200 characters (about two phone screens) or less.
Flexible length

Depending on the use case, text message courses can be anywhere from 5 days to 365 days long. Better yet, Arist works with SMS, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger, and users can pick the time of their daily text.
Built-in everything

Course days can include links, files, images, gifs, and even video and audio files, all sent completely in-text. Better yet, text message courses support robust in-text multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and open-ended assessments.
The Challenge
Create the future in 15 texts.
A 15-day course

For the competition, all entrants must submit one 15-day text message course. Courses may not be any shorter or longer, and entrants may not submit any more than one course. What can you teach in 15 days?
Pick from four categories

Courses must fall under one of four categories: onboarding, compliance, sales/product training, or professional development. From there, the content, subject, and focus of the course is entirely up to you.
Enter solo or as a team

Entrants can enter by themselves (perfect for independent learning designers, professors, or consultants) or with their team (i.e. representing their agency, university, or company). Teams can have unlimited collaborators.
The DATES + process
Here's how the competition works (T&C here).
Now - Feb. 19
registration open

Register yourself, your team, your company, or your department for the competition. There is no entry fee, and we'll set you up with a free Arist classroom to get building. You'll also get our Writing Guide, templates, and a ton of example courses.
Feb. 19 - March 11
course building

Using the Arist text message learning platform, spend three weeks creating an (awesome) text message course. You can build from scratch or using existing learning material -- it's up to you. The final deliverable will be a full-fledged course published to your Arist classroom.
March 11 - April 8
judging + prizes

There are two tracks: individuals (courses designed by one person) and teams (courses designed by a group). The Arist team will evaluate all entries and select 10 finalists from each track to be reviewed by our all-star judges, who will select a winner from each track.
The CRITERIA
Entries will be judged equally on four real-world criteria.
Creativity

Is the medium creatively used? Is the course subject presented in a novel, unique, and engaging manner? Are assessments and exercises used to engage the learner?
Clarity

Is the writing clear? Does the course follow a logical structure? Are concepts and case studies well thought-out? Does the course have a narrative arc?
Relevance

Are in-text images and assessments used in a relevant manner? Does the course use adequate tone for the audience? Is the course engaging?
Outcome

Did the user learn something? Is there a clear desired learning outcome, and has that outcome been effectively achieved?
And now for...

The prizes!

Cash, recognition, and more

$2,500 + unlimited Arist

Along with bragging rights, press, and recognition from leaders in corporate learning and training, the winner of the individual prize will receive $2,500 in cash and unlimited use of the Arist text message learning platform for a year. We'll also donate $2,500 to a charity of your choice.

Enter as an individual
Impact, recognition, and more

Impact + unlimited Arist

Along with bragging rights, press, and recognition from leaders in corporate learning and training, Arist will donate $5,000 to a nonprofit of your team's choice. The best part? The winning team will get free use of the Arist platform at their company or organization for a whole year (a $30,000+ value).

Enter As a Team
get acquainted

The Arist Writing Guide

Download the Arist Writing Guide, a comprehensive collection of tips, tricks, standards, and best practices for writing your very own text message course.
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