AFOI logo

AFOI helps children of the incarcerated with Storyline 360

Customized content for 6 grades through Storyline 360 branching


week e-learning program developed


participants in the MAC (Milk and Cookies) e-learning Beta program


content for 6 grades through Storyline 360 branching

Since 1978, Assisting Families of Inmates (AFOI) has supported families of the incarcerated with meaningful visitation, family assistance, and children’s programs that achieve positive, evidence-based outcomes. Their MAC Children’s Program, established in 2000, focuses on students in Richmond City public schools who have an incarcerated loved one.

With over 100 children enrolled in the MAC Program weekly, AFOI understands the power of e-learning in providing flexible opportunities for skill-building, education, and support. AFOI launched an e-learning component to the MAC Program to help impacted children build coping skills and reduce the stigma around having an incarcerated loved one.

Children on laptops

Industry: Social services nonprofit

Location: Richmond, VA

Size: 103 students at 7 elementary schools served weekly through the MAC Program

Learn more about: Storyline 360

The Challenge

AFOI needed to adapt its in-person programming for a broader digital audience

Parental incarceration is one of the top 10 primary experiences that can impact the health and well-being of a child. Since 2000, AFOI’s MAC Program has focused on providing support to children with an incarcerated loved one in Richmond public schools. 

The primary goals of the program are to reduce the stigma around having an incarcerated loved one and provide a forum for students to discuss their feelings. Until the COVID-19 pandemic, courses took place exclusively in the classroom. Pausing in-person instruction highlighted the need for e-learning and allowed AFOI flexibility to share the program with a broader audience. 

Translating the program into a digital format was no small feat. Classroom facilitators can tailor lessons to suit learners of different ages and grade levels. AFOI needed to achieve this same level of customization for its e-learning so that children in multiple grades could engage with the content and build their coping skills without becoming overwhelmed.

The Answer

Storyline 360’s branching capabilities helped AFOI engage learners across grade levels

AFOI enlisted the help of Articulate training partner Yukon Learning to adapt their in-person courses into e-learning. Additional consulting from an elementary school teacher well-versed in modifying courses for a virtual setting rounded out the team. Together, they adapted the 20-week e-learning program, breaking down complex topics from grief and loss to self-regulation, problem-solving, and self-esteem. Using Storyline 360, Yukon Learning and AFOI brought the courses to life.

AFOI knew that character development would be a crucial aspect of their e-learning to effectively connect with children and speak to their experiences. The team created a main character for the course—a dog named Mac—in Storyline 360 to guide learners through the material. They also built out Mac’s circle of friends, each with their own backstory, to represent different ages, backgrounds, and genders. 

To approach learners of different grade levels, the team relied on Storyline 360’s branching feature to customize interactions for different ages and grade levels. For example, an interaction for younger learners might involve selecting either a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” icon to avoid overwhelming them, while older learners might type a short response.

“The real power of the interactivity within these courses lies in Storyline 360’s branching capabilities,” says Brooke Schepker, Chief Design Officer at Yukon Learning. “The interactions for the MAC Program are custom-built for different grade levels, which allows learners of all ages to understand and engage with the material without feeling overwhelmed.”

Unlocking Human Potential

With customized e-learning, AFOI provides deep support and builds coping skills for children with an incarcerated loved one

The MAC e-learning beta program included 26 participating children and their caregivers. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, particularly around the course’s in-depth character development, coverage of complex content, and interactive elements. 

Moving forward, AFOI will release the course to all seven of the Richmond elementary schools it serves, as well as other interested entities and organizations. By providing digital access to their content, AFOI has opened the door to supporting even more impacted children, their families, and their communities. 

Ultimately, the program is filling a much-needed gap within the child advocacy and child welfare spaces. “For many children, there can exist a shame or stigma around disclosing that they have an incarcerated loved one,” says Fran Bolin, AFOI’s Executive Director. “We want them to be able to understand their situation and feel more in control of it by building their resiliency and coping skills—whether they complete the program in person or online.”

With Storyline 360, Assisting Families of Inmates reduces the stigma around having an incarcerated loved one, empowering impacted children and their families with coping skills and support.

The real power of the interactivity within these courses lies in Storyline 360’s branching capabilities. The interactions for the MAC Program are custom-built for different grade levels, which allows learners of all ages to understand and engage with the material without feeling overwhelmed.

Brooke Schepker Chief Design Officer, Yukon Learning

Top-rated by users and industry experts

*Data provided by Yukon Learning and Assisting Families of Inmates, 2023. This content is based on reported experiences from an actual customer and is provided solely for informational and illustrative purposes. In some cases, we have edited and reprinted feedback; however, in such cases, we did so only to shorten the text and not to edit the nature of the feedback provided. For confidentiality purposes, some information has been anonymized.  This content is not intended as a promise or guarantee for any use by current or future customers. Results may vary substantially for each customer.

Articulate, Articulate 360, and Rise 360 are either registered trademarks or trademarks in the United States and other relevant countries.

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