Capstone Game
Interactive Lessons
First Deployment
Teacher Resources

The Northeast Resiliency Consortium worked with Smart Sparrow to create ten highly-interactive and adaptive lessons, plus a keystone project, to teach resiliency soft skills. The courseware features a playful AI character, Dot.

Courseware Stats


The Northeast Resiliency Consortium




Several (used at many institutions)


AI tutor, capstone game, interactive sims


Anyone can access the Dot Resiliency Series, for self-organized learning or as part of a classroom curriculum. Start teaching or learning with Dot today.


The Northeast Resiliency Consortium (NRC) comprises seven community colleges, working to design and deliver programming and technology to help build a more adaptive, resilient workforce in industries central to preventing, responding to, and recovering from disasters and crises. They’re funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.

The NRC defines resiliency as “an individual’s persistent development and application of knowledge, skills, and resources that effectively help one adapt to change and overcome adversity.”

Learning resiliency has profound social-emotional benefits for individuals. It not only encompasses preparing for and preventing disasters and crises; it is critical for workers and employers to remain relevant in today’s changing economy in the face of expanding global competition, evolving technologies, and demands for a workforce with advanced skills that need continual upgrading in a knowledge-driven economy.

“The NRC needed to reach a large cross-section of community college students in programs of study in multiple sectors. We’re very excited and pleased with the partnership with Smart Sparrow and are very excited about the lessons.” —Paul Casey, Director of the Northeast Resiliency Consortium

Their Challenge

The NRC wanted to create a set of online lessons that could help learners understand their existing ability to think and act resiliently, and then further develop their own skill set.

Digging into socio-emotional skills such as resiliency can be complex and sensitive experiences. They’re difficult to address and teach, especially through an online medium that lacks a natural human component; even moreso considering that assessment for mastery of these skills can be subjective.

Developing online learning experiences for these topics requires unique pedagogical practices to overcome learners’ mental barriers and help them practice new skills, so they can effectively use them in the real world.

Goals for the online lessons:

  • A personal, relatable, fun, warm, inviting feel (rather than encyclopedic, cold, and dry);
  • Friendly reading level and tone for learners across a range of ages and English fluency levels (33% of their incoming students are at a 5th grade reading level);
  • Motivate learners to fully engage with and complete the learning experiences;
  • Focus on the five resiliency competencies that make up the NRC’s Resiliency Competency Model: critical thinking, adaptability, self-awareness reflective thinking, collaboration;
  • Empower learners by building on prior knowledge and helping them realize that these resiliency competencies are skills and habits of mind they already use in their day-to-day;
  • Enhance learners’ skills so they can think and act with more resiliency in the future.

I thought the resiliency exercise was interesting and eye-opening… It made me more aware of my strengths. I spend so much time thinking about my weaknesses that I tend to forget I have necessary skills that other people don’t have; the exercise pointed out where I currently use my skills and how I can use them further. As far as my weaknesses, it made me aware of how they relate to my strengths and how I can improve on them. It was very productive and useful.




Their Solution

The NRC reached out to Smart Sparrow to begin a collaboration. Together, using the NRC’s Resiliency Competency Model, we began to plan the online learning experiences. Both organizations believe that everyone holds innate abilities to think and act resiliently — so we worked to enhance that through easily accessible online education.

“The NRC was charged with building a more resilient student and workforce, and in doing so, we hoped to utilize innovative technology solutions. Following the development of the Resiliency Competency Model, we thought the best way to touch a large number of students was to develop online lessons. We’re very excited and pleased with the partnership with Smart Sparrow and are very excited about the lessons.” —Paul Casey, Director of the Northeast Resiliency Consortium

The Dot Resiliency Series Hub
The Dot Resiliency Series Hub

The Dot Resiliency Series was created to reveal and build an individual’s socio-emotional capabilities through fun, engaging lessons, animations, simulations, and games — 10 in total. The learning experiences bear the same traits that make for a resilient person: conversational, reflective, adaptive, personal, playful.

The series is centered around a narrative, where the student is teaching an AI character, “Dot”, human resiliency. Students are guided through metacognitive exercises to consider their own experiences — they think about their own strengths and weaknesses, and then Dot helps them practice new skills.

Beginning with a game to assess current resiliency and strengths, the courseware then provides suggestions on which resiliency topics the learner should focus on next. Lessons use adaptive learning to provide a personalized learning experience for each student that builds upon their prior knowledge.

Dot lessons can supplement any subject, teaching new skills and habits to support daily learning. They were designed to allow maximum flexibility, so instructors can teach the full series or select only those most relevant to their class material.

Instructors also have access to supplemental project ideas, classroom discussion prompts, step-by-step guides on how to integrate the lessons into different subject matter curricula, and suggestions on how to use the series to create blended learning experiences.

Topics included in the Dot Resiliency Series:

  • Active listening
  • Planning
  • Flexibility
  • Logic
  • Problem solving
  • Prior knowledge
  • Reflection
  • Conflict resolution
  • Self-efficacy
  • Strengths & weaknesses

The Results

The Dot Resiliency Series is an unique, effective way to build social-emotional skills and knowledge. Dot mimics the relaxed and effective nature of conversational learning, atypical of most online environments, to reduce barriers to learning and prevent students from shutting down on a topic that is often perceived as very abstract and complex.

Student playing the Dot resiliency game
A puzzle in the Dot resiliency series, to help learners think about problem-solving

The resiliency assessment game, “Dot’s World”, is an innovative new learning tool to assess understanding of the five resiliency components and provide true practice using resiliency skills; it requires students to persist and bounce back in the face of new challenges and levels.

By starting the series with this assessment, learners get social-emotional education experience that truly caters to them. Throughout lessons, adaptive feedback and pathways guide students according to their strengths and weaknesses, prior knowledge, and needs. They get relevant, real-time advice and reinforcement to help build their resiliency skills.

The series is unique in its use of storytelling through animation, as well as the interplay between adaptive and game-based learning. Dot challenges students to think flexibly and deepen their self-awareness, rather than asking them to simply digest new information. It is through this learning approach and exploration that students understand how social-emotional skills impact everyday life and further develop their own skill set.

“The questions and games have given me a better understanding of who I am as a person and how my personality has affected the things I do… I would recommend this series to everyone to help them understand more about themselves and what they lack or exceed in. It’s a great way to make people reflect.” —Student feedback


  • “Best Socio-Emotional Development Solution” Finalist in the CODiE Awards 2017
'Best Socio-Emotional Development Solution' Finalist in the CODiE Awards 2017

The Northeast Resiliency Consortium formed in 2013 to address the need for resilience in face of natural and manmade disasters in seven colleges and communities.

Paul Casey Paul Casey Director

The Smart Sparrow platform empowers the creation of smart, engaging, personalized courseware in any discipline.