A few years ago at one of the EMS shows during a podcast, I proposed a social game experience in order to help educate the public. While it drew some definite chuckles (when compared and likened to Farmville that was the phenomenon then) about an “EMSVille” style game and seemed to be dismissed as nonsense, this is exactly what the American Red Cross has done with their new First Aid mobile app developed by 3 Sided Cube.
The American Red Cross First Aid app features educational lessons on a number of emergency situations. The lessons include a mixture of text, images, and videos to provide the educational material. Intertwined with this information is the ability to dial “911” directly from the app if it is being referenced during an actual emergency.
The application offers a set of tests based on the topics covered by the informational side of the app. The questions are not just your typical multiple choice questions, but include interactive diagrams and list making activities to add some variety to the testing. If you haven’t answered a question correctly, they provide you the answer of what you got wrong so that you can try again to earn the badge. Unlike standardized testing, passing is 100%.
What really sets the app apart is its integration with the iOS Game Center and it’s use of both Achievements and Badges to reward users. By successfully answering the questions, you unlock the categorical achievements and receive both a badge that you can share (similar to FourSquare and GetGlue) on your social networks and points in the iOS Game Center. There is however no Leaderboards available for the diehard gamer types.
Tying the educational aspects with current social gaming principles is a definite win for the American Red Cross in their attempt to bring education and preparedness to the digital generation. This is also exactly the sort of thing I was talking about a few years ago, and unfortunately we in EMS have once again missed the boat on the opportunity to be innovative and provide value to the public.