Game-based Learning and Model in one

Project Background

My biggest challenge this year is to work on a Zero Harm initiative in the construction industry. Using bow-tie analysis, several critical risks were identified. One of these was working in an around Underground Services (cables, pipes etc.). Within New Zealand it is believed that though there is an increased awareness with new guides being published to make people aware of the issues associated with Underground Services, there seems to be a lack of training courses. It was decided that the company would need to develop this in house.

With potentially a few hundred people to train nation-wide and the dangers associated with dealing with Underground Services, we couldn’t very well have people digging in a real life situation. So we needed to come up with an idea that would allow people to experience a simulation similar to the realities they work with on site.

How does the model work?

I am lucky these days to work within a fairly large team, who love nothing more than collaborating on ideas to make them better, smarter, innovative and best of all fun. What started was an idea to re-create the well known Operation game by Hasbro, was further developed into a life like representation of what is like out there underground. As you can see the model represents a road corridor, with known services indicators, from the green distribution box which suggests some serious voltage, to overhead services and even indicators that sewer mains and water mains are nearby.

When you pull away the layers we show a fairly good representation of what services underground actually look like. For people new to construction the model highlights that what you see above ground is not a true representation of the mess that can occur underneath.

What about the game?

The actual game part of the simulation is the challenge to go ahead and dig in the berm of the corridor for whatever reason that you might need to, for example you might be planting a new tree, or perhaps even about to run a new culvert across the road. Now with the hazard identification complete, we want you to go ahead and dig, just make sure you are being “aware” of possible services. The idea is that learners dig, those with experience a lot more cautiously, and the spade eventually hits a 11KVA cable. In real life, the worker could die or suffer extreme injuries. In the model, however, the worse that will happen is a sudden sound (not to dissimilar from Operation) and the game lights up.


What was my role?

I wish I could take ownership for the game, but sadly I am not clever enough on my own to have put the actual model together. For this we relied on a clever electrical graduate who was on light duties and available to help. Aside from helping to co-design the concept, the rest of the credit needs to go to my very clever colleagues in the Talent, Learning and Development Team.


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