Gold: Carney Inc.
At the U.S. Defense Department, information security is serious business. So is gaming.
To secure the sensitive and classified information contained in government systems, all employees and contractors are required to go through annual information assurance compliance training to ensure they know and can perform the agency’s security requirements.
But typical compliance training can be dull and ineffective. To make training more engaging and effective, the Defense Information Security Agency, or DISA, the group responsible for training federal employees, decided to overhaul the annual information assurance training taken by roughly 5 million federal employees. Working with federal contractor SAIC and Carney Inc., DISA rolled out a new annual training program called the Cyber Awareness Challenge in late 2012.
The core of the challenge is a gaming environment that mirrors learners’ real workspace, where learners complete tasks similar to those they do every day. In a typical simulation, learners interact with learning objects or non-player characters that force them to decide what to do next. In one example, learners review emails in their inbox to identify possible scams and determine the best course of action to take for each email.
To ramp up difficulty, completion of certain tasks triggers interruptions that require learners to recalculate and make another series of decisions. During interruptions, users see a display with decision buttons that allows them to take a range of actions, the sequence of which is important. After they’ve completed training tasks, learners receive debriefs to see what they could do differently.
In addition to enlivening mandatory compliance training, the system is designed to be easily updated when requirements change. DISA can re-skin the game to match the work environments of various audiences, and modular design means tasks can be matched into different storylines tailored to learner needs.
Silver: Enspire Studios
Omaha, Neb.-based food company ConAgra Foods wanted to introduce managers to the company’s Managing People Essentials integrated talent management process. This process and related job tools form the foundation of the relationship between managers and employees. The company targeted training based on the ways managers assess talent against annual business goals and the development efforts required to bring the talent pool in alignment with strategy.
Enspire Studios developed Managing Talent for Results, a one-day board game experience supplemented with a Web-based digital application played over the course of four virtual years in the life of a fictional company. Each team is tasked with increasing productivity and revenue relative to targets by managing employees’ performance levels via development, transfers to new positions, terminations and external recruitment.
The 500 managers who completed the simulations reported higher engagement in training and are able to apply integrated talent management tools and assess employee performance and potential. The team that achieved the highest result was able to align its talent to the highest designations in the performance/potential matrix and execute a comprehensive development plan supporting business strategy.
Bronze: C2 Technologies Inc.
With the increasing deployment pace of the U.S. Army’s 7,800 paralegal soldiers, the Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School needed to provide a maintainable and just-in-time model to provide supervisor training at multiple locations.
C2 Technologies Inc. developed the Pre-deployment Immersive Environment, an integrated 10-hour simulation that walks new paralegal supervisors through the pre-deployment process and provides practice for what they may encounter managing daily work at a brigade legal office.
The just-in-time simulation led to time and travel savings, and the ability to update content without developer maintenance kept costs down.