Headset Hero: A Gamified eLearning Example Turned Template for Customer Service & Communication Training

Headset Hero Drive Thru Game on dominKnow | ONE
October 25, 2022
8 minutes
Headset Hero Drive Thru Game on dominKnow | ONE

As we develop and expand our offerings for dominKnow | ONE, we try to strike a balance between ease of use, efficiency, flexibility, and creativity.

We want to facilitate your ability to create custom content without having to reinvent the wheel (unless you want to). We want to make your authoring experience as easy as possible without setting up barriers.

Many of our authoring features and updates reflect this goal, but sometimes we attack the problem from a different angle with products in our marketplace. In recent years, we began offering editable off-the-shelf courses so that you could start with professionally developed, award-winning content and make it your own.  

Now we're flipping that around. We're launching a collection of course templates called SimpliCreate that let you start your project with an expertly crafted framework, so you only have to worry about filling in the content.

The inaugural template for the SimpliCreate collection is based on a game developed by our long-time partner, the Harbinger Group. You can find a sample version of Headset Hero now in our eLearning example library. Download it, for free, through the dominKnow | ONE marketplace and put its principles to work for your organization.

The Headset Hero template will give you the perfect head start on building gamified scenario-based training where the goal is to improve personal interactions.  

Today, we're going to take a look at how Harbinger designed Headset Hero to deal with a particular client's challenge. Then, let’s examine the flexibility of the Headset Hero template and how it can be put to work for you.

Headset Hero: A Scenario-Based eLearning Game Sample

Harbinger developed the Headset Hero game for a U.S.-based fast-food chain that was struggling with low customer satisfaction. The restaurant chain was known for its speed, but they were getting customer complaints about courtesy and order accuracy. They already had traditional forms of eLearning on the topic but weren't achieving the desired results.

An interactive scenario-based eLearning game seemed ideal. The goal was to engage young employees and help them practice the chain's customer service principles.

Scenario-Based Learning

After exploring the customer's challenges and goals, Harbinger decided to minimize the amount of traditional eLearning involved and focus on scenario-based learning. This would maximize engagement by challenging employees to "learn on the go" despite the digital environment.

As a result, Headset Hero only presents a little information up front. There's a video introduction followed by several short learning screens. Key expectations and guidelines are set up, but these screens don't try to cover everything.  

Instead, learners dive right into the game, where they're confronted with challenges and learning opportunities. Instead of teaching and then testing, the game replicates some of the "trial and error" of learning on the job. Learners take their best guess at the right answer, then learn more through the feedback they receive.

For example, you're given the choice of several responses to the first drive-thru customer's order. The obviously "wrong" response involves a lackluster and borderline rude acknowledgment of the customer's order. You're also given the choice to politely repeat the customer's order back to them. In a third option, you can suggest an upsell.  

This question (and the feedback you get in response) is intentionally designed as a bit of a "gotcha." It serves two purposes. The first is to test learners on the courtesy and accuracy learning objectives mentioned in the introduction to the course. The second is to introduce a new learning objective: that workers should upsell when possible.  

By building a second learning objective into this question, the game gives the learner a jolt of surprise when they get feedback saying that politely repeating the order is "wrong," even though it's what they've been taught. This little moment of surprise guarantees that the upselling objective is memorable.

Use of Multimedia  

Another deliberate instructional design choice that Harbinger made for Headset Hero is to minimize screen text in favor of multimedia elements.  

Multimedia can be much more engaging than written text, so the instructional content in Headset Hero is mostly presented through short video clips or audio narration. That's the case with all introductions, key concepts, and answer feedback.

However, engagement is only part of the picture. Headset Hero uses audio clips for scenario questions and answers because audio aligns best with the client's goals.

Taking orders through a drive-thru speaker or interacting with customers face-to-face obviously relies more on listening skills than reading comprehension. Learners are required to listen to the "customer" as an audio clip in the game so that the training reflects the real-world conditions and skills they'll need on the job.  

Some of the multiple-choice responses are also presented as audio. One of the primary goals of this project was to address customer complaints about rudeness. The game presents potential responses in audio format so that learners can evaluate answers based on content and tone.  

Increasing Challenges

In addition to multimedia elements and scenario-based learning, Harbinger added gamification elements to Headset Hero in order to hook and engage their young audience. The game elements also help the scenario mimic real-world consequences.

The first level is somewhat of a warmup round. Learners have no time restriction so they can focus on choosing the best answer. To succeed, learners need to pick answers that rank high on the customer satisfaction meter.  

Any guest who receives two unsatisfactory answers will "drive away," which eliminates a chance to correctly serve them. The first round has five possible guests, and to succeed, you need to satisfy at least three.  

You can receive a bonus award called a Hat Trick by satisfying three guests in a row.

The scenarios presented in level one are fairly straightforward. Learners can use this round to practice applying the courtesy and accuracy objectives for routine orders and fulfillments.

The second level increases both the challenges and the rewards.  

First, the scenarios are more complicated. Customers ask for a discount or make a mistake in their order, and learners get the chance to practice conflict resolution skills.

At the same time, learners are racing the clock. A timer gets added in the second level to reflect the "speed" learning objective which was ignored in level one. If the timer counts down before they address all the customer's concerns, this gives the customer a new reason to "drive off."

Finally, the second round adds an extra reward. Learners can still earn a Hat Trick, but if they manage to satisfy all five possible customers, they also earn a reward called Perfection.

A Rich But Responsive Learning Experience

When Harbinger originally conceived Headset Hero, they planned to create it in Storyline. They knew they wanted to create a rich and interactive experience from scratch, and they knew that Storyline was robust and flexible enough to do the job.

They just had one problem: their young audience called for a game optimized for mobile devices. Storyline could only produce fixed-pixel projects – learners would be able to run the game on a small screen, but everything would shrink to fit. The text might end up too small or the elements too cramped.

Thankfully, dominKnow | ONE's responsive authoring mode, Flow, offered all the flexibility and robustness of authoring in Storyline while producing results that look great at every screen size.

Headset Hero: A Gamified, Scenario-Based Training Template

A template version of Headset Hero is now available for download in the dominKnow Marketplace. You'll be able to use the structure and game mechanics set up by Harbinger's instructional design experts as a launching point for your custom training project.

Save time on the technical end and focus on your learning objectives – you'll still end up with an engaging, interactive, and fully responsive learning experience.

Given its origins, the Headset Hero template is obviously well-suited for any job training that involves direct customer contact and a set list of do's and don'ts. While the original project focused on audio communication for a drive-thru, you could adapt the template for a variety of settings, from chat support on an e-commerce site to the returns counter at a department store.  

Additionally, while the game was developed for customer service, we can see it being adapted for any number of scenarios that rely on interpersonal communication, whether you're teaching interview skills, sales techniques, or how to handle a difficult doctor-patient conversation.

You'll be able to edit most aspects of the game to suit your needs, including:

  • The setting and characters
  • The look and feel of the game
  • The number and type of learning objectives
  • Whether students are judged against a timer (and if so, the amount of time they have)
  • How questions and answers are presented (for example, audio vs text)
  • The number of levels in the game
  • The requirements and goals for each level
  • The number of customers to serve
  • The ratio of correct responses needed to advance or earn special awards

Want to learn more? You can find the Headset Hero template in the dominKnow marketplace, and as always, we're here to answer any questions. Contact a dominKnow expert to learn more about our marketplace products, partners in eLearning, or anything else!

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