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Learning in Practice 2014: Excellence in Gaming and Simulations

From left: Simon Berridge of EY and Steven Orova of The Regis Co., Traci Knudson

Gold

The Regis Co.

Taking on a management role can be a challenge for any employee, one requiring a shift in mindset and the right guidance. But at global tax and advisory service provider EY, formerly Ernst & Young, such curriculum wasn’t available until this year.

In the late spring, EY fully launched its blended managerial learning program, which guides participants from thinking procedurally for one client at a time to managing a portfolio of multiple accounts, each in different stages of an audit. It also teaches critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

These lessons are deployed using a blended simulation developed between EY and developer The Regis Co. Four hours of online work and 16 hours in the classroom gives emerging EY audit leaders the opportunity to apply requisite technical and soft skills in a safe environment.

Participants apply the context of their day-to-day work to the challenges presented through virtual engagement, decide on a course of action and see the consequences of their decisions. The classroom portion provides learners experience in prioritizing work, delegating a team and getting feedback from clients. Independently, learners virtually communicate with partners, review the others’ work and provide guidance to other team members.

The switch from bite-sized exercises to a more intensive simulation experience already has affected EY’s talent capital and bottom line. Two-thirds of participating teams improved their performance scores. EY estimates because of the blended learning approach, it has saved more than $900,000 by not requiring classroom time, which makes up for the program’s implementation costs.

Most importantly, the simulation cultivates necessary skills through consistent and reproducible learning, a core component in EY’s Vision 2020 development strategy. 

Silver

C2 Technologies Inc.

Adapting a physical training exercise into an online program can be just as difficult as creating e-learning from scratch, but that’s exactly what C2 Technologies Inc. did for the Army Judge Advocate General Corps.

The JAGC consists of soldiers who are bar-certified attorneys but lack knowledge of the military judicial system, military rules of evidence and international and operational law. They learn these skills from the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, or TJAGLCS, but the number of students who need the training annually outpaces the school’s capacity.

Enter C2 Technologies, which turned the school’s physical exercise called “The Gauntlet” into the Law of Armed Conflict online program. The final product included six simulations totaling 10 hours that brought TJAGLCS’ training to 1,550 learners, or  80 percent of the school’s enrollment, who were unable to attend its Charlottesville, Virginia, campus. 

The original exercise required students to perform legal functions, such as tactical questioning and addressing hostile acts with actors and teachers who play international civilians, leaders, press and insurgents. Online, they get a similar experience through avatars, environments and video developed by C2 Technologies, which teaches the same pivotal skills needed to be a legal leader in the U.S. military. 

Bronze

NOgginLabs Inc.

NogginLabs Inc. made waves when it turned the American Red Cross’ in-person training course for water safety instructors into a blended approach using online simulations.

To save time spent at local aquatic facilities, NogginLabs helped the Red Cross move some training out of the sun and onto the screen so participants could prepare at home before coming to in-person sessions. Trainees still get hands-on learning experiences, but they also get to develop strategy and critical thinking skills through nine different simulation scenarios.

The system has affected more than 2,000 learners since its introduction in April. Including a simulation reduces required facilitator time by a full day without reducing the amount of training a water safety instructor student receives.