Best practices in game-based learning

Best practices in game-based learning

Game simulations for employee training

Proven success in transferring skills learned playing a videogame into the workplace

A few years ago Coca-Cola went through a reorganization and formed a new business unit from four European territories. They called the new unit the Northwest Europe and Nordics or NWEN. In the reorganization, teams that once were geographically intact working together in the same offices, are now spread out across Europe and working in virtual teams.

Ncite was called in to create an initiative that would help their leaders re-invent the business unit, set the culture, and catalyze the team so they could continue to be on track to reach the ambitious goals for 2020. Key Problems that needed to get addressed were:

  • Leaders felt “Corporate did this to us” and “It’s impossible to lead this way”.
  • Engagement scores across the business unit fell in regards to believing in the leadership’s strategy and ability to lead the business.
  • Concerns were high around the ability to reach the ambitious goals set by the Executive Leadership team for 2020.

Ncite set out to design a learning game that complements the program to drive accountability in the new business unit.  “If I see a leadership void, I will step in and fill it. I will own the future.” The aim of the learning game was to educate Leaders with Coca-Cola’s key leadership principles to help them better engage and lead their new virtual teams. Including coaching skills, communications skills, and cognitive style awareness.

The solution presented to senior management was a leadership simulation game. In “Go4Gold” players assume the role of an Olympic swimming coach. The goal of the game is to lead your team to victory in weekly races. Players have to build capacity in their team by assigning them training activities while managing their engagement and energy. Team management skills were embedded in the game through a manager mode. Here players had to manage team finances, hire and fire team members and select team members for the weekly races. Players managed engagement through conversations with their team members. Frequent touch points and listening to learn were keys to winning in the game and to leading virtual teams.

After launching the game we achieved a 97% participation in the game over an 8 week period. This resulted in an unprecedented 15% raise in engagement scores across the new business unit in regards to leadership in 6 months. The largest reported previous change in engagement in the Coca-Cola business was reported to be 5% in a 12 month period. The correlated shift in performance that year resulted in the business unit being invited to the prestigious Woodruff Cup competition: a competition for Coca-Cola’s top performing business units worldwide.

“After having played the game now for several weeks, the positive impact of ‘Go 4 Gold’ has become increasingly apparent as evidenced by visible changes in behaviors…”

Prof. Dr. Stefanie Teichmann, Group Strategy Director Europe of The Coca-Cola Company

We surpassed our expectations and in 6 months we elevated our employee engagement scores in the Leadership Category by 15 points – a remarkable feat.”

Jennifer Longnion, Senior Director, Change Management (Business Transformation Office) at Coca-Cola Refreshments

Ncite´s Go4Gold has proven that a careful crafted learning strategy centered around a serious game simulation can have impressive results such as successfully cultivating a new culture of collaboration, ownership, values-driven leadership and teamwork.