Article: New DDI video game helps leaders refine interpersonal skills

Skills Assessments

New DDI video game helps leaders refine interpersonal skills

Zapp! Zone: Jane’s Dilemma is changing the learning ‘game’ with different ways to drive behavior change and learning.
New DDI video game helps leaders refine interpersonal skills

As part of its commitment to creating innovative solutions that impact the way business leaders learn and develop, Development Dimensions International (DDI) has launched its first animated leadership development video game designed to engage learners and drive behavior change in a fun and interactive way. Called Zapp! Zone: Jane’s Dilemma, the game provides leaders with the opportunity to practice and refine their use of critical interpersonal skills, called Key Principles (set by DDI), in a video-game format. Backed by more than 40 years of DDIresearch, these skills—esteem, empathy, involvement, sharing and support—are proven to be the core behaviors that make leaders effective and successful.

Working with Pittsburgh-based Simcoach Games, a spinout of Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center and leader in adult learning and behavior-change game design, Zapp! Zone incorporates the latest gaming techniques and critical design elements that include—achievable goals, learner participation, practice and application, consequences, and actionable feedback.

“Today’s overwhelmed learner must be pulled into engaging learning reinforcement options that enable their new knowledge to stick,” said Barry Stern, DDI Senior Vice President, Accelerated Development Solutions. “This game does just that by providing a unique, fun way to draw the leader learner in and at the same time reinforce knowledge of the skills central to leader success.  We are excited to add this to our growing collection of knowledge acquisition and reinforcement practices.”

Playing the game, the learner assumes the role of “Jane,” the leader of a team made up of different personality types. As the game progresses, Jane interacts with her direct reports through player selected responses indicating the most appropriate Key Principle. Situational judgment is sharpened by allowing the player to gauge the immediate impact of Key Principle use.  A Zapp! Zone meter continuously monitors player progress along the five-levels of the game and identifies opportunities for improvement along the way and at the end of the game. The game, or sections, can be replayed to determine the impact of different choices.  

Ken Smith, Simcoach Games President had learned DDI’s Key Principles 20 years ago at a previous company. “I don’t recall another game we have built that has had such a direct impact on our own company culture,” he said. 

DDI is a global talent management consultancy founded in 1970, that helps companies transform the way they hire, promote and develop their leaders. DDI’s expertise includes identifying and developing frontline leaders to executives. 



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Topics: Skills Assessments, Skilling, #Gamification, #TAWeek

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