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Storytelling Through Scenarios Drives Meaningful Decision-Making Behind the Wheel

2016 Brandon Hall Bronze Award, Excellence in Learning — Best Advance in Custom Content

SafetyServe.com is the dedicated and exclusive provider of National Safety Council (NSC) internet-based training. SafetyServe.com provides program development, hosting, customer service, and market support for all of the Safe Driving and Emergency Care training for NSC. SafetyServe.com has embraced online learning and successfully engaged more than three million students using proven content and tested strategies from the prestigious NSC. SafetyServe.com is responsible for providing online Defensive Driving and Emergency Care training to employees of more than 1,000 corporations and government agencies, as well as the general public.


Are people driven to distraction? Is hands-free technology really safer for drivers? SafetyServe.com set out to answer these questions. As early as 2014, reports began to confirm distracted driving as the biggest hazard on our roads, and SafetyServe.com realized the need to improve its product offering on this topic to help get the word out. Through market research, the SafetyServe.com team quickly discovered scores of internet-based distracted-driving training programs. A deeper look, however, found that these programs presented facts and figures using the typical “tell and test” approach, with some human tragedy sprinkled in for emotional effect.

SafetyServe.com knew that a different approach would be necessary to differentiate its product. The course would need to focus on changing drivers’ attitudes and behaviors toward distracted driving, not just presenting knowledge and testing facts. Furthermore, the design would need to appeal to employees of any size organization in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, as well as to the public.

To help achieve these goals, SafetyServe.com reached out to its training and performance improvement partner, Innovative Learning Group (ILG).


ILG used a storytelling technique to help SafetyServe.com create a compelling course with interwoven elements of conflict, tension, contrast, and dialogue to foster meaningful attitudinal and behavioral changes SafetyServe.com was seeking.

The 90-minute Distracted Driving e-learning course opens with news reports covering studies on the relationship between hands-free technologies and distracted driving. This approach alerts learners to the timeliness and importance of the topic, and it sets the context for the course in a non-traditional way.

The interactive and dynamic content that follows includes full-motion video, simulations, animations, narration, real-life stories, practice scenarios, surveys, expert interviews , and knowledge checks to demonstrate the consequences of distracted driving while creating a personal connection to the topics. This innovative approach helps learners feel and experience the course content on an emotional level, eliciting a response to go, change, or do. The course is personal, relevant, and experiential.

Learners make decisions based on their own stories or stories embodying the experiences of others. The course also provides numerous opportunities for personal reflection, in which learners can ponder their own distracted driving attitudes and behaviors, and track, through the various interactions and surveys, how those attitudes and behaviors change over the duration of the course.

The course’s great success may be attributed to two key factors: first, the close collaboration between SafetyServe.com and ILG to ensure the right people were on the project team — instructional designer, subject matter experts, programmers, and project managers — and second, allocating sufficient time up front in the design phase to lay the right foundation of critical content and instructional strategies. The team also employed an agile and iterative design and development approach.


Based on the survey of learners’ attitudes regarding distracted driving at the beginning of the course compared to the post-course survey (to date, more than 10,000 individuals have taken the course), 92% of participants indicated they are planning to change their cell phone use behavior.

Given the importance of the distracted driving hazard and the favorable results of this course, SafetyServe.com and ILG have created a suite of courses on related topics such as aggressive driving, fatigued driving, impaired driving, intersections, and speed management.

To learn more about how Innovative Learning Group can create custom learning solutions to help improve your business results, contact us at info@innovativeLG.com.

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