Apollo-Optik uses a serious game to put on the “leader glasses”

Apollo-Optik is a German optician company and is part of Grandvision Group. Apollo was founded in 1972 and is based in the Bavarian city of Schwabach. With more than 850 stores, Apollo is the largest optical retailer in Germany.

The challenge: Offer new ways of learning regarding leadership

There are over 1,000 managers in Apollo-Optik and the HR team is always looking for new methods and ideas to give them the best possible training and make them shine as leaders.

In the search of new ideas, Apollo’s HR team was looking for a game based learning tool to enhance the spectrum of learning. They visited the Learntec fair, a remarkable technology event in Germany. In times of digitalization, it seemed to be an innovative and effective way to train managers.

Starting with a first test using the methodology, a group of managers tried the game before expanding the experience to the rest of banner. The interest in the game was very high and finally, 40 participants from different departments were chosen.

Furthermore, other countries of the Grandvision family took part in the test, such as the Netherlands, Italy or Austria.

Solution: Pacific, the serious game on negotiation and conflict resolution

Apollo-Optik chose the serious game Pacific to train the above-mentioned challenges since the soft-skills developed by the game were very state-of-the-art. In this graphic adventure, users survive a plane crash but are stranded on a desert island. To escape, each employee is challenged to learn about leadership and managing a virtual team to build a hot-air balloon that will let them return to civilization.

Pacific provides at two main advantages:

• Maximum quality contents. The lessons appearing in Pacific are the result of hundreds of interviews conducted with the CEOs, executives and senior managers of large corporations spanning a period of over 12 years. With this video game, Apollo-Optik employees were able to learn to set objectives, ascertain the individual needs of team members, give feedback and delegate tasks.

• Interaction with contents. Thanks to its video game format and gamification techniques, Pacific provides an educational experience in which students have an intense interaction with the content. Doing so allows users to activate more areas of their brains and achieve deeply rooted and longer-lasting learning. Moreover, this serious game incorporates a sophisticated simulator to guarantee that students are actually putting what they’re learning into practice, thus enabling learning by doing, aka “experiential learning”.

Players only need an email and internet connection to access Pacific. The serious game can be played from a computer, tablet or smartphone. Such eminent flexibility allowed the training and development department at Apollo-Optik to combine the use of video games with other leadership courses and launch training in several countries simultaneously.

Results: A major acceptance for training that promotes rethinking daily work

Over 95% of participants in the training program said they loved the game. Most of them agreed that it had been a completely different and enjoyable way of training. Most of the participants acknowledged that the video game showed new, but also well-known leadership techniques. The game certainly helped to make the leaders learn new skills, repeat known tools and make them rethink their way to approach their daily work routine.

Beyond the success in the training acceptance, game-based learning has also contributed to good performance of the business itself. For the second time in a row, Apollo has taken first place in the service chain for “optician chains” with a Service Experience Score (SES) of 71.2 percent. The ranking is based on more than 1.5 million customer reviews for more than 3,016 companies and more than 327 industries and the nationwide largest survey of experienced customer service is carried out by the cooperation partners DIE WELT, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main and ServiceValue.

In the future, Apollo will also use other games from Gamelearn in different talent and training programs, based on the successful test.

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