University of British Columbia–GPS Tour APP

Using this educational GPS tour app, students learn about the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway in relation to the growth of the city of Vancouver. Geo-located audio, quizzes and an interactive map guide students through the city in this blended learning experience powered by

Can We Create an Independent History Lesson using GPS Technology?

The Geography 121 professors at the University of British Columbia wanted to experiment with student engagement. They reached out to Motive to build a GPS tour app with three main deliverables:

  • They wanted students to engage with the real world to provide context for the lessons which were being taught.
  • They also wanted to give the students some independence by providing the ability to complete the lesson on their own time.
  • Lastly, they didn’t want the students to have to go in a large group.
UBC Motive - Geog 121

Our Process

The faculty member of UBC in charge of the course used the authoring tool to design the lesson. She recruited others within the university to help test and refine the content. Meanwhile, we configured the app with a map, a basic UI and the ability to display quizzes when prompted by the authoring tool.

The Solution

The result was an app that students could download which gave them the independence to experience the lesson when it was convenient for them. The audio, which was prepared by the faculty member, triggered as students approached the relevant locations in the city and quizzes popped up at the designated points. This app has been used successfully for the last two years and is going to be used again this autumn.

UBC GPS Tour app welcome screen

The Result: Independent and Engaged Students

The faculty member did some research on the experience of the students. Her findings include:

  • Students preferred using the app vs a guided tour (3:1)
  • They enjoyed being able to use their own device
  • Independence as a major benefit to the students
    • The could do the lesson in their own time
    • They could go alone or with a small group

“The perfect fusion of history and modern technology”

UBC photo

"Motive partners with UBC to deliver history you can hear"