Fleet Forum is a non-profit organisation inspiring better, cleaner, safer and more effective transport around the world. They do this by bringing together key players in the aid and development and commercial transport sectors and providing them with support with training on the best practices for efficient and effective fleet management.
Participants playing the Urgent Mission! game at the Annual Fleet Forum Conference 2017
Fleet Forum has experience in delivering training on fleet management across the world and it was in this context that they developed two board games for increasing participant engagement and collaboration during their face-to-face workshops.
Driving Force is a game that highlights the importance of road safety to a company’s success, it explores driver-manager interactions that can lead to or prevent road traffic crashes and how good communication can make a difference when it comes to road safety. The game can be played by up to 24 persons and they can take the role of an NGO manager or a driver in a fictional city where diverse challenges may arise. The game is highly interactive and puts the users through a moment of tension, similar to the one a real driver and fleet manager might feel when they are confronted with their day-to-day activities.
The games are an important part of the face-to-face training workshops, as they provide participants an opportunity to put into practice the newly acquired knowledge, but also offer a bonding and relaxing moment to have some fun and play a game.
As with most face-to-face training during the Covid-19 pandemic, Fleet Forum has moved its training offering online. As part of this process, Fleet Forum was also keen to make sure the board games could also be adapted to an online format.
From board games to Gamoteca Games
Fleet Forum initially tried to use the board games over Zoom, e.g. with participants giving instructions to the facilitator to make a move, but this was challenging to facilitate and create the same game dynamics for the players.
Sometimes board game mechanics don’t translate well to digital formats, e.g. rolling a digital dice at the tap of a button robs the fun of tossing the dice. In this case other digital game mechanics can be substituted for achieving the game dynamic of random choices, e.g. picking a random task with unknown consequences instead of the dice roll. Read more about using game dynamics in this blog by Julian Stodd.
This is where Gamoteca comes in. Gamoteca has helped organisations create online game-based learning experiences, many of which accompany a blended learning pathway, e.g. the coaching and mentoring journey on Kaya. As with various methodology transformations, the process is not just about migrating to a digital format but reimagining the learning experience, leveraging what Gamoteca has to offer and working with the technical capabilities of the platform.
“The big value-ad that Gamoteca brings is the possibility to add gamified learner-to-learner interactions, tasks and challenges.” which allows us to design more games in the near future. Atish Gonsalves, Founder, Gamoteca
Transforming a learning board game to an online one comes down to two main factors, maintaining the learning objectives while keeping the game fun and engaging. Here’s how we went about that process:
1. Understanding the learning objectives
Fleet Forum’s training team met with the Gamoteca team and held virtual design thinking workshops for each game. In each workshop they brainstormed various aspects to better understand who were the end users of the learning game and what was it that they needed to learn. The original board game dynamics were also captured through a “play session” where the game play was demonstrated.
“Transforming our management board games into virtual games was a very insightful experience. When we started off we thought we could just copy the existing games but along the way we learned that we had to re-design the games to achieve the same learning outcomes. It was a great help to do this together with Melisa and Atish as they asked the right questions, gave us new ideas and used their expertise with virtual games. We appreciated working with Gamoteca as it also gave us a taste of the process to design virtual games, which allows us to design more games in the near future. Rose van Steijn, Development Director, Fleet Forum
2. Playing and then playing some more
Once a first storyboard was created, the second step was to rapidly develop a prototype on Gamoteca and play this with the team. It’s only after playing this initial version that many of the issues or opportunities to make the game better become clear.
Take the role of a fleet manager in a country where an emergency is happening. How are you going to manage your resources while ensuring safety for your team and proving help in the difficult context.
Take the role of a driver or a fleet manager in this two-player game and try to make the best decisions to fulfill your mission on time or to be a responsible manager for your driver .
3. Playing with users
The final step and (probably) the most important one is playing with actual end users. Fleet Forum introduced the new Gamoteca games as a pilot during one of their training programmes being run online due to Covid-19. These sessions provided invaluable feedback, to make iterative improvements to the game design. Fleet Forum users are based in low-bandwidth regions of the world, and a number of technical challenges were also raised that will help Gamoteca improve its technology to serve users in challenging contexts.
“After some playtests we have now embedded the games in our Fleet Excellence Training Programme. We will use the games to reflect on current fleet management practices in aid and development organisations and provide an opportunity to exchange ideas on how to make changes. We have plans for future games as well, the first one being a road safety game for corporate fleet managers.” Nikita Udhwani , Delivery Director, Fleet Forum
4. Using analytics to improve game performance
Gamoteca has invested in analytics which allows facilitators to view real time progress, learner’s interactions and provide feedback.
It also allows them to review analytics, time spent on each screen, time of full experience completion, and on learner experience to iteratively improve game design.
Within a year Fleet Forum’s games have been deployed to over 250 players through online sessions with live facilitators. Players have joined the facilitated sessions for the games and actively engaged with each other, learning from each other’s experiences and practicing their skills.
This has allowed them to enjoy learning scenarios based on human interactions & feedback that are usually lost in traditional e-learning settings. The game has achieved the learning objectives of a) making quick decisions in difficult scenarios b) the importance of road safety and most importantly c) having their views challenged by the others, not just a computer. It is through the nuance of these interactions that the players are able to reflect with one another and discern why certain decisions are right or wrong and how they might affect driving in a real world scenario.
Realtime data and game analytics captured through the sessions also helped the trainers see in real time where the players were, how they were interacting with the game and each other. The analytics also help to understand the game design, and where learners get stuck and where further improvements can be made.