Virtual Experiences

It is vital that the website offers experiences for differenct countries to encourage the learning experience, but how about using virtual trips to do that?

Trips could allow the user to learn things that my target audience will find interesting about that country while spending as long, or as little time as they want on that place. Using this method also means that the service can be streamlines and as an understandable model for each trip can be created.

On a trip, a user can;

  • Set out on a trip, and customise their frog with the relevant items for that country, and it’s weather (while information about it’s climate appears). This can be done as information on a ticket page contains some basics about the contry, then the next thing they see is their store of cutsomisable items they can add if they want.
  • Visit some of its’ famous landmarks and choose to learn more about them if they so wish to.
  • Attend social sections, a cartoon backdrop with all users frog onscreen where people also on that trip at the same time can communicate.
  • Practice languages with a foreign teacher frog; basic language lessons can teach the simple conversation starters.
  • Take a ‘selfie’ where the frog can take a picture of themselves for the user scrapbook with their customisations infront of a popluar, these are images that can be sent later in messages to friends, which links them to the trip they can take too.
  • Connect with someone their own age from that country that they can instantly send a message to start a conversation.
  • Send digital postcards from that location to their friends, these postcards can edited by adding stickers to alter appearance and a message in different fonts, colours and size can be added to the back.

Once the trip is over, additional content can be offered to the user in the way of quiz questions, quick lesson lessons on the language and items collected.

As they have traveled through the experience, they have discovered the country digitally, learnt about the culture, met some people also learning about this culture and started a converdsation with a local, learnt’ a few foreign words, they are already very indulged in this country.


Gamification of my service

Gamification is the process of taking something that already exists – a website, an enterprise application, an online community and integrating game mechanics into it to motivate participation, engagement, and loyalty. This is something that is vital to encourage my users to engage in the community and learning process through Frog Voyage.

What is relevant to Frog Voyage when it comes to gamification?

  • Storyline
  • No login to get involved
  • Constantly offer new content (Never completed)
  • Promote social interaction
  • Learning must be risk-free


The story follows a frog who decided to leave his lily pad in Kumari Kandam when he notices all the flies around his home had started to disappear, when he leaves he starts to learn things about the world around him and meet new frogs.

The frogs home of Kumari Kandam relates to mythology of an ancient world where mankind evolved. It is believed to be a land that no longer exists that belonged between Africa and Australia, like shown below;


Not only does this mean we have a defining character for our frog but also means that we can encourage the kids to explore the world with a sense of no belonging as the character and live in a world of imagination. This suits the audiences’ needs much better, as when they don’t feel like the character has a home, they no longer feel the need to return or put importance on it, they can simply move around the map and explore, something they should do be able to do with an open mind. This is important as it allows the user to relate to the character, and feel like everyone is, and should be equal. It also makes it an easier platform for being interested in new cultures.

No Login Required

Allowing access to the content without login is important as it allows the users to view content unrestricted, the user should be given the option to login to view addition, more preferable content, friends, progress etc.

New Content Forever

To keep a game fresh and exciting, there should an continuous flow of new content to ensure the user stays engaged. It also means the user should never be able to ‘complete’ the service.

Promote Social Interaction 

Having users connect with each other while playing games online is the best way to all the users feel like they are part of something ‘bigger’ than just the game. Therefore it is vital to allow the users to communicate with each other.

Risk-Free Learning

Risk free learning is essential therefore I found that by removing the points based reward system, and gift the award at the beginning of a learning experience, the user already has the gift and can leave at any time, therefore the learning environment is one of choice where the user is able to make risk-free decisions in the game eliminating any danger of missing out on a reward at the end.



23 Effective Uses Of Gamification In Learning: Part 1


Sound effects and soundtracks

I have studied with a lott of passion, the possibilities of a soundtrack to add to the website to enhance the experiemce. It has been proven through my previous research, that my target audience identifies with the use of music and sound effects on websites. Therefore it’s vital that my site also does the same thing. I looked at what has been rated by this audience as one of the most recognisable theme songs ever composed, the Harry Potter theme.


The above video states in the opening sentence how amazing it is the amount of emotional weight that a simple melody can carry.

It is pointed out that the HP theme needed to be ‘light’ and the composer picked a Celesta because ‘if you play 5 notes in quick succession you get this beautiful little blurb’.

The melody is used in different ways 36 times across the first three movies. 24 times in the first movie and 16 before Harry even arrives at Hogwarts. Repetions, and how and when it was chosen to be used is what made it so memorable.

It is played at moments of courage or safety, therefore, it means hope.

Throughout the rest of the movies, the instruments the melody is played varies and so, somewhat does the style.

The use of musical foreshadowing is an interesting concept, that allows the viewer learn about plot and emotional cues before the character does.

What I learnt

The melody should play and develop throughout the experience, it should start as exciting and upbeat using the celesta as the musical instrument it is played on. Then it should divuldge into different sounds.

The melody itself (which consists of 14 notes) should be played at keypoints through the experience.

In my case the melody can be played on the instuments from a specific country to offer a slight contrast throughout the experience. A great example of how this is done is for the Indian version of the Harry Potter theme;

The soundtrack theme should be broken down into different elements;

What I learnt

Creating a soundtrack is important, from the previous research I knew what I wanted to achieve. My music editing skills are limited, therefore I hired a sound producer to help me with creating a soundtrack. This is me and the sound producer working together on the theme tune;

After hours working on a melody that would be interesting for my target audience, we had a song that was very magical and light. This was perfect, and after hours of the producer working on the mastering of the track, it was finally finished. Which is available to listen to here;

Potential for investment/buyouts

Any viable business venture/startup needs to have a solid business model, with potential to make money. I need to work on my business model and ways in which the service can make money. I will look at business models and buyouts of other companies to allow me to think creatively about ways the service could profit.

A great example of a company that saw a gap in the market was Club Penguin. An online chatroom site where the user can customise their animated penguin and igloos for a yearly charge betwen USD$5.95 per month and USD$57.95. Their target audience, similar to mine is 6-14 y/o and has an average monthly hit count of 210 million users.

In 2007, Disney purchased Club Penguin for USD$700 million, this shows that there is definitely money to be made in the market of websites for children.

Disney also bought film studios Lucasfilm from George Lucas for USD$4.05 billion in 2012, Pixar for USD$7.4 billion and Marvel Comics for USD$4.2 billion.

Duolingo business model is impressive, it allows the company to make money without effecting its’ users in a negative way. It’s an online language learnig tool that is free to use. It sells translation services to content providers so that it’s users can get practise while paying Duolingos’ bills. With 120 million users, Duolingo is now worth 2.5x times more than Rosetta Stone, a paid language learning tool. This unique business model obviously works, I need to work out a way to match this style of business models.

A very popular business model with games and apps is the virtual goods business model. This model started to become successful in 2007 with the invention of the iPhone and allowing users to purchase items within the game as an ‘in-app purchase’. While this business model works really well for some organisations, raising millions monthly in profit, it won’t work for my project. The reason for this is that for the method to be succesful, it has to offer quicker or exclusive access to special customisation, community features and competitions. My sites’ sole purpose is to encourage learning about other culture and languages, I feel by allowing users access to ways to skip the learning to proceed their progress through the site would be counteractive to the point of the service.

This said, I have noted two areas in which my site can profit. Both of these methods are chargin teachers, not the users, and I am not totally certain how well they will work. Firstly, within the service of student exchange programs, the service could offer teachers access to set up exchanges in a safe and easy manner using our service.

Another great way to gain money would be to create lesson plans for teachers to purchase and use with their students, the could include all the information, resources and tools to teach the subject while offering additional extras. These can be sold in packs/bundles or can be sold independantly.

Though these ideas aren’t failproof, but instead they look for a way to make money by offering an additional service rather than charging for one of the ones that should exist without charge!


Venture Capitalists?


Disney buys Club Penguin in $700 million deal — virtual worlds have arrived?

Points systems & Rewards



Robin Grille – ‘Rewards and Praise: The Poisoned Carrot’

Star-Chart Treatment, where a child is given a star for good behaviour has long been seen as a productive way to reinforce good behaviour patterns. This is true but only on the surface. We tested this theory in the beginning with animals,  we’d train rats to run mazes, pigeons to peck at coloured buttons, and dogs to salivate at the sound of the dinner bell. Just because we have modern pyschological know-how that has enabled us to manipulate children’s behaviour, thoughts and emotions in the same way as we can teach a seal with a few sarines and a little flattery, to balance a ball on it’s nose, it doesn’t mean we should. We are not concerned with quality of relationship we develop with a lab-rat, nor their self-esteem, their sense of autonomy or independence. This the means the control method of  reward, praise and reinforce, therefore, falls to pieces. This is backed up in many ways but one way to point it out easy is the fact that a students’ performance was undermined when offered money for better marks. In the classroom, reward system create competition, jealousy, envy, and mistrust. Rewards or prizes for ‘good’ performance are a threat to co-operation or collaboration.

  • Reward systems suppress a students’ creativity, and general impoverish the quality of their work. Rewards can kill creativity because they discourage risk-taking.
  • The more we want the reward, the more we come to dislike what we have to do to get it.

Children can also feel manipulated if they are praised in a certain way. This is because compliments are loaded with our expectation that the child must improve in some way. The child who is used to being praised begins to feel inadequate if the praise doesn’t come. Praise is the sweet side of authoritarian parenting, it reduces the relationship to of controller and controlled. It sets the stage for manipulative and dishonest relationships later in life. Manipulation erodes the functions of mutual trust, vulnerability and transparency, which are vital to healthy intimate relationships. Why bother to find out why a child refuses to go to sleep at our convenience, (Is he afraid? is she feeling lonely? is he still hungry? etc. ) If we can simply reward him or her with a trinket for going to bed on time? It feels easier to fudge over the underlying problem by using a bribe. This gives the clear message that we are not interested in how he or she feels.

Children are born with an insatiable zest for mastery, and each new attainment fills them with delight. (Give the accessory at the beginnning of learning instead of the end?) Your appreciation touches your child more deeply when it experience in terms of your feelings, therefore you should use terms like ‘I like the colours you chose’ or ‘I love how you sang that song’. An ‘I’ statement keeps you from holding a position of power over your child., positive feedback is best for your relationship with your child when it is offered spontaneously, praising and rewarding are not good, they should be replaced with appreciation and acknowlegment. Therefore it is proven rewards and praise for ‘good behaviour’ or ‘good performance’ simply get in the way.

What have I learnt?

Accessories (the rewards for participation)  are a huge part of the user journey and experience within Frog Voyage, but the user shouldn’t be implicated by the negatives portrayed above. Therefore it is absolutely vital that the rewards are given before they accomplish a task. For example, if the user were to open the Italian section, they would see the landing page, where they can collect an accessory for their character before they start, this is also a means of attraction as it allows users to see what they are studying while they are still currently studying it, not after they’ve completed that ‘section’. There are no marks to be achieved from the site, therefore there is no ‘completion level’ and all users, regardless of intelligence are equal.

The language used through the site should reflect this research, there should be no compliments loaded with expectation, nor should there be any compliments that are only related to success. For example, on completion of a quiz, their Frog mentor that guides them through the site could say something like “Oh great, you just learnt about Paris, did you enjoy it?” or “I really love that hat, it suits you!”. Using methods where we connect with the child on an emotional level by asking them about their feelings, or complimenting them on something they did well during the activity, not on completing the activity.