A game changer for food safety
A Game to Train Food Safety is a seriously impressive food safety app that is changing the way that the hospitality industry is learning about food safety. Say goodbye to your team being bored senseless by online learning.
Melissa Thompson, Founder of Safer Food Scores reports on this ‘serious game’ https://agametotrain.co.uk/
For many years as both an EHO and Consultant (25 and countingâ€¦) I have been frustrated by how ineffective food hygiene training can be. Hospitality companies spend vast amounts of money to ‘tick the box’ – only for employees to continue with the same bad habits. This is due in some part to the culture of the organisation, but mainly to the fact that the training did not engage or motivate them to use their newly found knowledge. Interestingly, food poisoning outbreaks rarely occur due to lack of procedures but more often due to the fact that ‘trained’ staff chose not to follow them.
Although there are plenty of fantastic trainers out there (Safer Food Scores Trainers for a start!) hospitality companies are increasingly using online training for convenience and to save money. Unfortunately as you will have seen, many courses merely ‘instruct’ despite promises of ‘fun’ and ‘engagement’. In fact they can even have a demotivating effect as I frequently hear employees describe the experience as “three hours of my life I’ll never get back!
I am not pointing out anything new but I think there has become a general acceptance that this problem cannot be solved. However companies in Court over food poisoning outbreaks, have found it hard to use this quality of training to prove due diligence.
Increasingly frustrated by this missed opportunity to influence a critical area of food safety, a colleague Audrey Deane and I decided to see if we could do better.
We trawled learning and development conferences, watched TED talks, read academic papers, spoke to our clients and trialled nearly every product on the market. And we both came to the same conclusion – the future of technology driven learning for the Millennial Generation is ‘serious games’. These are games with a purpose; that purpose in this case being to improve the player’s food safety behaviour when they return to the workplace. Other areas where serious games are increasingly used are for team building in the military, fire safety and customer service in the retail sector and financial compliance in the banking sector.
This generation of 16-30 year olds have grown up with the internet and love computer games. They are used to immersive experiences with challenging tasks and quick rewards. Being able to connect socially whilst playing serious games together and competing against one another is what motivates them to focus on the information. Realistic tasks in a fun environment allows them to practice what they need to do better in a safe environment and the repetitive nature of games means that these behaviours become embedded.
A couple of years after our initial idea, we launched the ‘A Game to Train Food Safety’ App. Here’s a quick summary of its features:
- ‘CIEH Assured’ as up-to-date, accurate, meeting the learning outcomes of their Level 2 Food Safety Course and providing a robust method of testing.
- Our primary authority. Milton Keynes Council, have issued assured advice that along with on the job coaching in a company’s procedures, it meets the legal requirement for caterers working unsupervised.
- 300,000 + versions of the final test in eight different languages
- The player is put into the position of a restaurant supervisor who has to spend their day directing staff to do the right thing and take the right corrective action when things go wrong.
- Each stage represents a step in a typical catering HACCP and players must achieve a certain score to be able to move on to the next stage.
- Players receive a pass, merit or distinction and can replay each of the eight stages (apart from the final test) as many times as they like to move up the leader board.
- Leader boards are set up so players can compete globally, within their company and within their individual sites.
- Companies can have their own customised version of the game to match their procedures.
The first two stages are available for free and can be downloaded from the App Store (Apple) and the Google Play Store (Android) to play on phones or tablets on or offline. There is also an online version on our website that can be played on laptops or desktops https://agametotrain.co.uk/
The pay to play version is £25 (plus VAT) with discounts available for large numbers.
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