Code of Conduct – Code Ninja version

Code of Conduct – Code Ninja version

Welcome aboard. Here’s a project for you.

When I first joined this organisation I’m with, one of the first tasks I was given was to review the e-learning version of our Code of Conduct (aka. the Code). This project was started by another fellow designer, more senior, they had been in this back and forth with the subject matter expert (SME) for over an year. At some point, the project is parked. It lands on my desk with the instruction, “see what you can do”,  but apparently no high expectations. 

Let’s roll back a little. Code of Conduct, put simply, is the rules of the house. In such a large organisation you have several divisions, branches, units, teams and thousands of employees, and getting SMEs from all business units to agree on what should be included in the learning program proved to be a challenge. After struggling with unclear instructions for months, I asked to see the sponsor. My plan was to get the direction straight from the one leader that would decide whether this project was going any further. She tell me how frustrated she was, the CEO was putting pressure to develop a more updated version and with the project running for over an year they still had nothing. Feeling like tip-toeing on a mine field, I remind them she did have something, but still chose to bin the project and start another, even though the first was so close to be finished. In a few minutes we listed the reasons why that project was parked and I asked, “if I address those issues, do you think you could approved the project?”. With that one out, the CEO would be happy, she would tick that box, and employees would have an updated, more engaging version of the training. With a yes for an answer, I thanked them and left, quickly.

Tell me, how much do you already know?

As previously mentioned, the package was almost finished, the original instructional designers had done a great job to put the content together. My job then was to make it more engaging, easier to digest such a dry content. The plan was simple:

  1. Check existing knowledge.
  2. Add game elements to the learning program (also referred to as gamification or serious game).

For checking existing knowledge, I literally ask, right in the beginning: how much do you know about our Code of Conduct? There are currently many thousands of employees that work in the organisation for many years, some for decades. May will already know the Code rules by heart, forcing them to go over the entire program every year was an issue often raised. So, I asked. If you said you already know the Code, you are giving a Code Ninja status and go straight to the scenario based questions. Get them correct and you are good to go. However, if you get one wrong, you revisit the relevant section of the Code. Get two questions wrong, you lose your Code Ninja status and go through the entire content, like everyone else who did not choose the ninja option.  

Although there was a lot of background work in the configuration, such as accessing the content, navigation and point system, achievement badge collection, the bulk of the work had already been sorted. I changed the look and feel, created an user interface for the game components, fixed the logic and went back to present the new version of the program. Same same, but different. To my luck, and everyone’s relief, the course was approved and published right after.

The first impression

In the first quarter after the e-learning program was launched, in May 2019, the report showed the vast majority was satisfied with the new version (98.7% said good or very good); they thought the knowledge gained  would be useful (94.1%) and that they liked the way it was delivered (88.8%). Also, compared with the previous version, the response rate to the satisfaction survey went from average of 7% to around 54%.

Yay, happy end. Good night, you can go now. 

Or can you? Little did I know, this was chapter one for many to come. But that is a story for another post.


The proof is in the pudding.

Below, some feedbacks collected through the satisfaction survey.

LOVED being able to skip right to the question, the layout and scenarios were also contemporary and attractive. Great job designing this course.

Anonymous learner

This was, by far, the best formatted code of conduct training I have done, awesome that you can skip to the quiz if you want to.

Anonymous learner

Love the ninja option. So much better for those of us who are well versed in the Code

Anonymous learner

Time-saving, and very easy to understand.

Anonymous learner

Being in learning and development roles throughout my working life, and more recently online learning, I really appreciated and loved this course. It looked modern and relevant, choice of imagery and mix up of the storyboard slide layout was excellent to keep the learner engaged. Even the details of choosing names that reflected a certain age and demographic was perfect. Well done, a pleasure to complete. I wish all Council online courses look at this great. I also loved when I got it right you still provide me the answer, just in case it was a fluke. Well done, loved it!

Anonymous learner - fellow designer apparently :)

Leadership Academy awareness activity: Connection

Leadership Academy awareness activity: Connection

The new standard

Late 2018, the Council I work for rolled out a new-ish standard guideline for leaders. It’s a blueprint for desired behaviours, meant to help leaders better understand where their capabilities currently sit against Council’s standards, and also each other.

In order to ease leaders into this new system, a few programs have been developed. One of them, is an interactive online activity I developed with the L&D team, aimed mainly at aspiring and team leaders. Middle and executive managers will enjoy the effort and see the value, although they might find the activities too basic for their level.

Story and logic

(A method to the madness)

The Synopsis – You’ve been invited to join Earth’s delegation and represent Council on the most prestigious intergalactic summit in the Open Space. In preparation for attending the summit, you’ll make key decisions that can make or break the project. They will affect the course of history, the outcomes, your performance and have an impact on the people around you. Your job is to lead your team, make positive connections and deliver a world-class presentation.


The logic

The overarching story is based on the blueprint’s sub-factors for Connection, one of the capabilities promoted, and all passages and decisions are backed by supported (and expected) behaviours.

During the activity we track two variables, CONNECTION and TIME. They are points you may gain or lose in every decision you make. For instance, at some point you’re given the option to get to know more about your team members. If you choose to do so, you’ll lose time points (time invest). However, connection points may be rewarded.

Based on your score, you’re presented with one of four results, from nailing the project to failing not going to the summit at all. Also, based on performance, 70:20 activities are recommended.

The result

The activity is still new, so it’s early to pull any definitive data out. However, the reports already show we’re off to a good start. The majority of the learners (leaders) enjoyed the overall activity and they find the awareness gained will be useful in their jobs. The feedback rate went up to 46%, that’s far more than any other training we have in-house. Also, importantly, the vast majority (83%) liked the way the activity was presented. 

I’m very excited to participate in this new approach, be able to introduce game based activities to Council and work alongside high caliber learning professionals to bring leaders training that is engaging and fun to play yet serious enough to make it to the official Leadership Academy.