Vitalogue Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Comic

Vitalogue is a unique elearning module featuring  an interactive story presented in a scrolling, comic book style-choose-your-own-adventure game, where people navigate key concepts of advance care planning, substitute decision making, capacity and consent, and difficult conversations.  Each decision made along the way is weighted with a score, and, in the end, people discover whether their choices led to a good outcome for the main character, Yarsdel Nordstom.

The Vitalogue e-learning initiative was an outcome of Waterloo Wellington’s 3-year ACP education project, Conversations Worth Having and exemplifies the project’s efforts to identify ACP champions and support them to lead, capitalizing on their unique talents and reach. These included leaders within specialized geriatric care across sectors including St. Joseph Health Centre and Canadian Mental Health Waterloo Wellington. Allowing Dialectic, a Guelph based e-learning solutions provider to guide the process and design resulted in some very creative and collaborative opportunities that we would not have found on our own.   One of the highlights of the design process was the invitation to a GAME JAM, an opportunity to join Dialectic staff and designer/students of the Game Design and Development Program at Wilfrid Laurier University in a session designed to generate foundational ideas about the application of the gaming experience to education about Advance Care Planning (

Dialectic leveraged the experience and insights from that collaboration to guide the development of Vitalogue.  In addition, the characters and scenarios created were a direct result of interviews and discussions with various allied/non-allied staff working in specialized geriatric care. These same workers and their colleagues were also invited throughout the process to test the design/ game components and give their final approval to the game itself.

We think the outcome is a contextually rich education experience with a gaming component that promotes engagement and practical learning.

Because healthcare decision making relies heavily on applying abstract concepts and principles to novel situations, a scenario-based experience was a clear design choice.  It allows healthcare professionals to practice their skills in   real-world contexts, not merely learn more information in a way that was divorced from its application,” said Aaron Barth, President of Dialectic

Play Vitalogue: A game about Advance Care Planning

Aaron Barth

President, Dialectic



Sheli O’Connor

Community Engagement Director

Hospice of Waterloo Region


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