MORE THAN FUN AND GAMES AT TRAJECTORY IQ
By Michelle Ferguson
Jason Suriano wrote the book on game-powered learning. Literally.
In 2017, he delved into 15 years of research, consulting and production experience to demystify this often-misunderstood discipline in a book titled Office Arcade: Gamification, Byte-Size Learning, and Other Wins on the Way to Productive Human Resources.
“A lot of people might not take what we're doing seriously,” says the bright-eyed founder and CEO of Edmonton-based e-learning company, Trajectory IQ.
While many companies understand that game-powered learning is more engaging and can, in turn, lead to higher retention of information, they simply don’t see the value in investing in what they perceive as fun and games, explains Suriano.
“[They think] ‘Yeah it's more engaging or interactive, but what is that going to do for the company?’”
Done right, game-powered e-learning can be extremely valuable. The same points and badges that reward an employee (and break up content into ideal bite-sized chunks) are loaded with useful data that a traditional “green binder” or a PowerPoint presentation simply cannot collect.
“We had one partner use our software as a follow up to their in-person training and we noticed that one employee played through the entire course twice, which raised a red flag for me,” says Suriano. “It turns out that the employee wasn’t trained properly in-person, and our analytics showed that the employee didn’t get all the information they needed from their supervisor.”
Like his book, Trajectory IQ is a sum of all Suriano’s learnings.
Upon graduating from the University of Alberta with a masters in humanities computing (now digital humanities) in 2003, Suriano had a hard time finding a job. “I'm a generalist, right?” he says. “I'm not really a coder; I'm not really a designer; I'm not really a copywriter.”
He took a position at a non-profit, where he was given free-rein on his first project: to transform a series of educational binders into engaging material targeted at kids. Suriano converted the information into flash-based objects and ended up raising just under a million dollars in production financing within eight months.
From there he took a position as project manager at Hotrocket — eventually buying into the digital production studio and helping found Rocketfuel Games, the company’s award-winning educational technology spin-off, in 2006.
At Rocketfuel Games, Suriano led the creation of several award-winning games, including Solar Energy Defenders, The Accounted (an accounting game in the spirit of L.A. Noire) and Seek Your Own Proof.
The latter, a partnership with U.S. media giant Discovery Communications, helped spur the company’s transition into corporate learning.
Looking to leverage years of assets and move away from custom builds, Suriano’s attention was turned to corporate training by a parent of one of the children in the testing group.
“We looked at the platform framework and went OK I think there might be something here for corporate,” says Suriano.
They signed their first client (ATCO Electric) in 2013 and Trajectory IQ was born.
Trajectory IQ is the first game-powered software designed specifically for employee onboarding and training. It is a turn-key platform that gives access to over 50 interactive puzzles and games, as well as a robust metrics system.
The software and services startup has worked with companies like ATB Financial, Merit Contractors, Chartered Professional Accountants, the University of Alberta, Radient Technologies and Paris Jewellers to build fun, easy-to-use digital courses.
Most recently, Trajectory IQ began developing a series of off-the-shelf courses called The Road. These courses, built in partnership with NAIT, specifically target industry employees and will touch on subjects such as indigenous awareness, financial literacy and workplace hazardous materials.