Turning Ethics and Compliance Training Into a Game
Note: This article has been updated to correct the location of LRN's headquarters.
Michelle Moyer went from being a full-time litigator at Kirtland & Packard to playing video games—or at least helping to design games that help businesses teach. Think Xbox meets Compliance and Ethics 101.
Moyer works now as an in-house counsel for LRN Corporation, a New York–based advisory company that uses innovative techniques to teach employees about law and ethics and create a healthy compliance culture.
“A while ago we were talking about how to further reengage employees who have become bored with traditional modes of education in the workplace,” Moyer recalled. “So we decided to apply gaming techniques and design to legal and ethical concepts.”
The result was the first of a planned seven-part series of video games released one year ago in February. Called the “Resolver,” the game teaches about corporate conflicts of interest. Players are awarded points and shown their place on a leaderboard that includes colleagues’ scores.
When LRN employees played the Resolver, Moyer said, “for the first time in our history we had employees repeating their education, so they could be higher on the leaderboard. They became very competitive in a fun way.”
A second game, soon to be released, allows the player/employee to travel the world and “save” the company by intervening in potential corrupt situations.
Called the “Honesty Project,” the second game gives players four choices on what to advise another employee to do in certain scenarios.
Moyer explained that there is also feedback with each answer, illustrating the impact of the answer as well as reaction from the employee, the company, shareholders, regulators and the community where that company was situated.
“So employees of companies understand how their decisions can impact real people,” she added. “It’s not just about obeying the law or getting punished; it’s that you can hurt real people.”
Moyer said there are three to four in-house lawyers working on creating the games, depending on their fields of expertise. Future games are planned around codes of conduct, privacy, information security and possibly antitrust.
“I was a litigator for 17 years, cleaning up messes,” Moyer said. “Now I’m on the other side of it, helping companies keep from getting into trouble. It’s fun, and it’s nice being on the preventative side for a change.”
Moyer isn’t the only lawyer working on digital courses. Michael Koehler, an assistant professor of law at Southern Illinois University, has helped create an e-learning course on anticorruption for Emtrain.
Koehler, considered an expert on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, is known as the FCPA Professor on his popular blog. His course includes videos and interactive quizzes, and tries to engage the learner by showing, not telling, according to Emtrain.
The online material better serves to educate a workforce spread out around the world. “In a large multinational company, in-person training of all employees and business partners is simply not possible,” Koehler explained.
The material is not designed to replace all in-person, live training, Koehler told CorpCounsel.com. “In fact,” he added, “the videos used in the course will be offered to FCPA practitioners to enhance their live training sessions.”