Education is part of our core business
Liquid has been a leader in elearning and education for nearly 20 years.
We specialise in complex learning experiences created from the ground up—from strategy, to content, to online or blended delivery.
We have tackled some of the most complex learning challenges in the industry. How do you raise a child? How do you create a mental health strategy? How do you write more expressively? How do you operate an LNG plant? How do you have good relationships?
From creating our own YouthHealth project on CD-ROM, to creating hundreds of simulations and games for the Australian Government’s massive Le@rning Federation project, through to recent benchmark projects such as Triple P, MindMatters and Writelike, we have earned a reputation as world-class innovators and creators.
We have won major national and international awards, as well as grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Advance Queensland for our work. We have designed learning tools for young children, teens, parents, professionals, corporate and government staff, and we have experience collaborating with universities and researchers.
We go deep on every learning design brief
Education is part of our core business, and we go deep on every brief.
We learn about the audience and their context. We learn about the content. We define precise behavioural outcomes. And then we test different ideas that would not only teach the content, but also change behaviour and sustain that change over time.
By combining our expertise in education, marketing, entertainment and technology, we come up with solutions that work—whether it’s a handout, job aid, game, simulation, video series or combination of all the above. What makes our work effective is the way in which we build from first-principles analysis to polished execution.
Benchmark in online professional development
MindMatters provided online professional development to secondary school staff so they could improve mental health outcomes for their entire school community. Mental health is a complex topic, and MindMatters had a complex, layered learning design strategy to match.
Across 26 modules it had a suite of rich and creative media, including animations voiced by Adam Spencer and Hannah Gadsby, TV-style panel discussions hosted by Julia Zemiro and featuring experts such as Professor Ian Hickie, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg and Andrew Fuller, and a Parks & Rec-style comedy series called The Eagleton Way, showing a fictional school putting ideas into practice.
Every module had a facilitator’s guide that school staff teams could use to run internal PD sessions, which were part learning and part problem-solving and application. In addition, free coaching and support was provided around the country by consultants from Principals Australia Institute.
All this content was delivered on a sophisticated, feature-rich online platform. The platform promoted flexibility and ease of access, making all content available without the need for a login—but also using a smart tracking system to capture ad hoc activity that teachers could convert to recorded PD. When staff created accounts, they gained access to powerful tools such as a survey system for tracking progress across the whole school community, and comparing results with state and national averages.
Liquid created every part of the content and the site, working closely with a mental health subject matter experts.
Over three years, MindMatters won a dozen awards and delivered more than 150,000 hours of recorded formal training (and even more informal training) to 50,000 staff in nearly 1500 secondary schools, some of whom sent emails to Beyondblue saying it was the best professional development they had undertaken.
In 2019, MindMatters was absorbed into a new Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary initiative called BeYou.
Developing expressive power in young writers
Writelike teaches students to develop expressive power in their writing. A world-first application of cognitive load theory to advanced writing instruction, the platform trains students to identify patterns in authentic snippets of text and provides scaffolding and modelling to help students apply those patterns in their own writing.
The platform provides many types of activity and content to support this process, including automated drills for memory and proof-reading, hand-made lessons that include strategic commentary and instruction, worked examples of re-writing, peer review system, and extensive opportunities for practice
It has been developed with assistance from UNSW Professor and CLT researcher John Sweller and ASU Professor Steve Graham, and has made extensive use of genre-based pedagogy research from University of Sydney.
Writelike was the only international winner of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Literacy Courseware Challenge and is an internal project to Liquid Interactive.
The world’s best financial literacy game
ESSI Money is a custom-built, complex digital game that incorporates sophisticated interaction design, learning design, social elements, advanced technology and teacher facilitation tools to build the financial knowledge and skills of young Australians—and it’s also the world’s longest-running financial literacy simulation.
Back in 2007, the Financial Basics Foundation, an Australian non-profit, commissioned Liquid Interactive to create an innovative financial literacy game. ESSI Money went on to become one of the world’s longest-running financial literacy games, used by students in more than half of Australian high schools.
While the game was still going strong nearly 10 years later, it was becoming clear that it would soon reach the end of its life—the visual design was dated, the technology was losing browser support. If we wanted ESSI Money to live on, it would need to be rebuilt.
We created a new concept that kept everything that worked in the core game, but completely overhauled the design and technology. With the support of Suncorp Bank, ESSI Money 2.0 is now a powerful new game for the mobile age.
ESSI Money is a miniature life simulator for players. Students engage with the game world through a series of in-game applications, designed like phone apps. Each app has its own look, feel, rules and features. Students progress through 26 in-game weeks and each week they make financial decisions, including applying for jobs, opening a bank account, applying for a credit card, buying and selling goods, paying for utilities, making and monitoring investments.
Players make financial decisions that become increasingly complex and respond to randomised events that can throw their plans for a loop. The realism means players can experiment with the outcomes of different strategies, and the weekly rhythm of the game reinforces skill-building.
Elements of social learning encourage students to compete against each other, and a reporting interface allows teachers to track student progress. ESSI Money aligns with the Australian curriculum with direct links to mathematics, economics and business, and personal development program areas.
Finally, ESSI Money has an innovative technical architecture. A simple execution on the surface is supported by a modular architecture which allows for scalability and customisation for different markets and features.
Since its launch in 2017, ESSI Money 2.0 has won multiple awards and has exceeded the benchmarks set by the original game, with more players, more diversity of schools, more re-playing of games, and a steady stream of praise from students and teachers alike.
Delivering the world’s most successful parent education program online
Raising a child is a challenging and complex task with large ramifications for wellbeing and function across the lifespan. Triple P, from the University of Queensland, is one of the most effective parenting programs in the world, and we worked with Triple P International and UQ to develop several online versions that retained the effectiveness of the face to face program while expanding reach.
The largest of these projects is Triple P Online Community. Across eight weekly modules, parents learn skills such as managing conflict, setting boundaries and encouraging good behaviour. The mobile-friendly platform incorporates lifestyle documentary video showing families from three countries learning to become better parents, a range of podcasts, checklists and interactive tools, and an achievement system to encourage retention.
Additionally, a private social network is woven throughout the program, with a dashboard, feeds and automated cues so that participants can share their experiences with other parents and a trained facilitator-moderator.
All of the Triple P Online products demonstrated their effectiveness in controlled trials, including trials with low-income, low-education, at-risk families in South Central Los Angeles, and the series has won multiple national and international awards.
Traders of Macquarie
Multiplayer game teaching the basics of international trade
Liquid Interactive was approached the Macquarie University Faculty of Business and Economics to help make the faculty’s ﬁrst learning game, for use in an online postgraduate course for overseas students.
The initial brief was for a game that taught a number of principles of international trade, and Macquarie already had a rough paper prototype. Our job was to figure out how best to execute the concept in a digital form.
The budget didn’t allow much room for error, so we conducted a series of play and prototype sessions, interrogating everything from learning objectives to game mechanics, until we narrowed down on the format of an online, chat-based, real-time stock trading pit/urban bazaar, where the emphasis was all on negotiation, bluff, bargaining and asymmetric information.
The educational content was about the compounding effect of regional history in international trade, and the skewing of market power towards holders of capital. In the metagame, the purpose was to provide a compelling icebreaker for remote students, helping them form bonds with each other and their tutor in an experience that was directly relevant to their course.
From this core concept we developed a detailed series of interface designs, which were translated in a single four-week development sprint into a beautiful, engaging and fun HTML5 multiplayer trading game.
Traders of Macquarie won an iAward and Macquarie University not only use it in their international trade course, but they also use it as an engagement activity for visiting high school groups.
Literacy for reluctant readers
In conjunction with Blake Education, Liquid developed Reading Quest, a program for reluctant 10-15 year old readers. It focuses on key areas crucial for successful reading including, phonics, word structure, sight words, vocabulary and comprehension.
The digital program is supported by 24 chapter books to consolidate skills.
There was a lot of agile production involved in the development of this content – as each stage was completed, there were significant changes made to increase engagement with the target audience.
Play-based early-years literacy instruction
Grammar Rules! was designed for Macmillan to teach grammar to early readers. The game focuses on literacy skills including, sentence structure, vocabulary enrichment, figurative and expressive language, nouns, verbs, adjectives and punctuation.
Students get to dunk aliens, open treasure chests and feed monkeys, as part of the digital resources that are full of colour, sound and cool animated characters.
The games won the Literacy category for Best Student Learning Digital Resource in the Australian Educational Publishing Awards.
Disney English Language Learning
English language games embedded in a stories
Disney English has over 40 centres located in China that specialize in English language training for young learners using Disney characters. As a resource for these centres, we created an enormous bank of animated, interactive games and resources.
Disney English Language Learning is a product concept turning showtime into playtime by allowing preschoolers to watch, play and interact directly with their favourite Disney Junior shows. The designed interactive activities are embedded into each episode, enabling kids to participate in the story, help their favourite characters and move the story forward.
Liquid Interactive, in collaboration with Liquid Animation, covered concept design, instructional design, art and animation, program engineering, audio and SFX integration and performed quality assurance testing.
Utilising key character sets from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Mickey Roadster Racers, Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Doc McStuffins, this was a major project delivering 105 applications over a seven-month period from start to final delivery.