Increasing the effectiveness, efficiency and engagement in training is the ultimate goal for most businesses. E-learning has emerged in recent years as a convenient way of delivering content and its use is growing with the increased use of mobile devices amongst the population. Applying gaming theory and story-telling techniques to on-line training or educational content results in a more engaging and motivating learning environment for students. This in turn leads to a better understanding of a subject and enabling practice of behaviours in a simulated scenario leads to better decision making.
To put our theories to the test, an observation and questionnaire survey was carried out to compare two different e-learning types: a market leading traditional food safety e-learning course and A Game To Train e-learning course (A Game to Train Food Safety). The students’ behaviour and comments were noted and an identical written test under exam conditions was given to both sets of students and their answers compared. The test questions were deliberately focussed on safe behaviours.
- Students undertaking the game based learning performed on average 15% better than the others.
- Analysis of the written test showed that there were 15 out of 40 safe behaviours where the students that undertook the game based e-learning, performed significantly better i.e. more than double the number of students were aware of these safe behaviours. These included:
- Washing hands on entering the kitchen
- Checking expiry dates of incoming foods
- Using red boards for raw or unwashed foods
- Wearing aprons when preparing raw or unwashed foods
- Telling the manager or chef if a customer has a food allergy
- The students that undertook the game based learning enjoyed it 20% more.
“A fun and cool way to learn and I enjoyed it”
- “If I had this game I would be so addicted to it because I would want to get everything right.”
- “I’m going to have to re-do this level – I want a distinction!”
Students using the traditional e-learning said:
‘I’m really slow at this – it’s all the reading that you have to do.’
- ‘I can’t find the information to help with this exercise, do I just have to keep going back and re-reading everything?’
The research shows that A Game to Train Food Safety is a more effective method to teach safe food handling behaviours. It is also a more enjoyable and engaging way to learn and would be more likely to motivate teams to discuss food safety in their workplace. All of this leads to a positive impact on the food safety culture within a business.