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How Gamified eLearning Helped a Global Financial Institution Increase Learning Engagement and Streamline Training

The Challenge

A global financial institution has been working with LEO GRC for nearly a decade. In early 2020, it recognized a need to refresh and elevate its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) training. Keen to maximize the impact of and engagement with the training, while cutting down the time it took for learners to complete the annual mandatory module, we worked together to create a gamified eLearning solution.

This organization runs its AML training at the same time every year and previous iterations of the training were no longer fit for purpose. With staff from all levels of the organization frustrated by completing the same training every year, the L&D team was keen to refresh the content. The module needed to be rolled out to hundreds of thousands of employees globally, from trainee customer service reps through to senior management.

A spokesperson at the financial institution explained that in finance with so many guidelines and regulations to keep up with, training fatigue and burnout are real risks. This training needed to be visually engaging and mentally stimulating in a way previous training wasn’t. There were also a number of employees who had been with the organization for 20+ years and had taken this training repeatedly.

The Solution

After understanding the needs for this new training as well as challenges from previous iterations, a fully gamified, scenario-based eLearning module was created that would support the needs of both new starters and existing employees. 

As modules for AML had previously taken over an hour to complete, the goal was to create a new module that could be taken in around 25 minutes for new starters, and a shorter timeframe of 15 minutes for existing employees (as refresher training).

The Strategy

A more relatable espionage theme was used throughout the eLearning program to closely tie in with both the content and the real crimes that staff may need to face in their working environments. Focusing on scenario-based training also allows the learners to become more immersed in the experience of fighting financial crime. The eLearning module includes gamified elements, including learning through clues, red herrings, and a final face-off with a fictional criminal as the main assessment.

Engagement and information retention were high priorities when developing the module, so ensuring relevance as well as active participation was key. Simple design decisions like having interactive elements appear in different areas of the screen also helped to increase engagement levels and avoid passive “wait and click” type behaviors commonly associated with mandatory training.

Positive reinforcement was also used throughout the module. Combining scenarios of realistic financial risks with an engaging and high-stakes virtual environment creates a sense of ownership and responsibility that taps into learners’ motivation. While all areas of the module are fully interactive, there’s a clear split between learning and assessment environments. The ability to answer incorrectly in the learning zone without impact on their final result encourages curiosity and enables further learning.

A representative for the organization emphasized the importance of positive reinforcement within the content. They said that one of the most valuable features is that while in the “learning zone” if the learner answers incorrectly they are invited to try again. This positive reinforcement continues in the assessment as learners are directed to the correct answer rather than being chastised for answering incorrectly.

The Results

The financial institution’s L&D team received consistently positive feedback after releasing the new gamified AML module. One senior member of staff even said “this is the best training we’ve ever released.”

The primary KPI/objective of the module is sustained behavioral change: increasing identification and escalation of suspicious activity. While fully understanding the impact of this module will require longer-term measurement, the uptake of the learning content at the initial post-launch period is incredibly promising.

Following the global push of this new module to over a quarter of a million employees, the organization has seen a big increase—from 25% to 48%—in the uptake of this training within the first month of its release compared to 2019.

A member of the organization’s L&D function explained how highly collaborative this project was, and due to working together with LEO GRC so well and managing stakeholder engagement, the entire project was completed in just 79 days. This was nearly a month sooner than a typical project of its type, which enabled the organization to roll out the training globally without any accessibility of timing constraints.

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