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Phishing Awareness

Target Audience: HR/ Compliance Department Employees​

Responsibilites: Instructional Designer & eLearning Development

Tools Used: Articulate Storyline, Lucidchart, Adobe XD, Adobe Photoshop
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This project is a scenario-based training for HR and compliance employees designed to help strengthen their skills in identifying phishing scams. The goal is to educate employees on the techniques used in modern phishing and the appropriate response when this situation arises.

Problem and Solution

With all of the negative press lately about data breaches, companies have been doubling down on computer safety. Phishing is one of the easiest places that companies can improve their security, this can be done simply by educating employees. According to analytics, the current course shows low levels of user engagement. I was tasked with creating an interactive simulation to educate employees on ways to identify phishing emails and handle them appropriately while also increasing user engagement with the course material. All employees are required to pass this course as part of their continued employment.  

I designed scenario-based training to address these problems. I created a situation where employees are tasked with identifying safe versus suspicious emails that use real modern-day phishing techniques. After the employee identifies the safety of the email they are then tasked with explaining their reason for deeming the email as suspicious or safe. Due to the nature of this learning, it is required that the employee finishes the course with a perfect score in order to receive credit for the course, if this is not achieved they will need to retake the course until they are successful.

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When designing this course I began with a needs analysis, the company was having issues with phishing emails and wanted employees to be aware of these problems. This meant that employees needed to be able to identify common phishing scams and what they needed to do once they have identified a phishing email. 

With the needs of the employer identified I began by creating a mind map, this allowed me to identify learning objectives and how I would tackle them and assess the learner. With these ideas in mind, I began a skeleton outline of my course using Lucidchart. 

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Once the outline of the course was designed I began to storyboard my slides using PowerPoint, this started with simple shapes and the text that I wanted to use. Creating several iterations led to a final storyboard that contained the overall style of what would become the course.


The course was created in Articulate Storyline and called for careful attention to the use of the many variables. Many variables were used for the many choices and possible outcomes for scenario-based learning. Several variables were used including utilizing the user's entered name, the chosen mentor, and changing the email from unread to read for the assessment piece when the user returned to the main email page. The largest technical challenge was creating the carousel for the mentor select slide; I wanted to give the user the choice of their mentor and took inspiration from character select screens of video games.


The final product of the course came out to create an interactive experience that educated users on phishing using real-life scenarios. The use of wireframes and storyboards allowed for a more streamlined and linear design phase drastically reducing the development time and allowing for me to create a course that flowed well and did not require a large amount of time to complete for the user. The course is also highly responsive to user choices and is able to deliver on its objectives learning goals while ensuring users stay actively engaged throughout the course.

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