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Bomb defusal game used to teach HR principles with explosive results

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16 December 2020

Teaching staff at the University of Auckland’s Business School have explored ways to incorporate virtual reality into their teaching, drawn to its potential for creating engaging and immersive teaching and learning experiences. With the support of staff at the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship they used the virtual reality game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes to teach human resources principles. 

Professor Elizabeth George and Patricia Hubbard first briefed Unleash Space Manager Sean Kelly on the kind of student and learning outcomes they had in mind, and Sean was keen to help. “I am a big advocate for technology enablement and empowerment. These experiences are incredibly valuable for empowering business students and future people leaders as it encourages expansive thinking and lends itself to the identification of new opportunities and solutions.”

Elizabeth and Patricia wanted to use VR to simulate management, communication and coordination through team-based solving exercises. Sean says “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes came to mind as the perfect fit because it relies on clear communication between a bomb defuser – who can only see the briefcase bomb – and bomb coordinator – who can only see the diffusal instructions. This provided a great scenario for a third team member – the manager – to observe the communication and collaboration of participants under a time-pressure environment. The difficulty level could also be progressively increased and roles switched so students could continue to be challenged and have an experience that could be reflected on.”

Patricia says “I was not sure what to expect as this was my first VR experience as well. The actual results were beyond my expectations and the students are still talking about it and how it relates to the content. It was a positive experience for them and they were able to connect our strategic and micro learning outcomes. This sort of learning experience offered the students a completely different way of learning and took them outside the comfort of the classroom. We ran the simulation a number of times to give them each an opportunity – they would have stayed many more hours!” 

Patricia is interested in running a similar workshop in the coming year and exploring other opportunities for innovative course delivery. “This approach to teaching was unlike anything the students have been experiencing. We tend to have plenary, tutorial and team based learning sessions but this experience brought them all together. The space is a great way to use technology and incorporate it into the content. It is such a unique experience that they may never have again when they are in careers so I am glad we could expose them to it during this class.”

Nicholas Bing
Nicholas Bing

social media

16 December 2020

Teaching staff at the University of Auckland’s Business School have explored ways to incorporate virtual reality into their teaching, drawn to its potential for creating engaging and immersive teaching and learning experiences. With the support of staff at the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship they used the virtual reality game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes to teach human resources principles. 

Professor Elizabeth George and Patricia Hubbard first briefed Unleash Space Manager Sean Kelly on the kind of student and learning outcomes they had in mind, and Sean was keen to help. “I am a big advocate for technology enablement and empowerment. These experiences are incredibly valuable for empowering business students and future people leaders as it encourages expansive thinking and lends itself to the identification of new opportunities and solutions.”

Elizabeth and Patricia wanted to use VR to simulate management, communication and coordination through team-based solving exercises. Sean says “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes came to mind as the perfect fit because it relies on clear communication between a bomb defuser – who can only see the briefcase bomb – and bomb coordinator – who can only see the diffusal instructions. This provided a great scenario for a third team member – the manager – to observe the communication and collaboration of participants under a time-pressure environment. The difficulty level could also be progressively increased and roles switched so students could continue to be challenged and have an experience that could be reflected on.”

Patricia says “I was not sure what to expect as this was my first VR experience as well. The actual results were beyond my expectations and the students are still talking about it and how it relates to the content. It was a positive experience for them and they were able to connect our strategic and micro learning outcomes. This sort of learning experience offered the students a completely different way of learning and took them outside the comfort of the classroom. We ran the simulation a number of times to give them each an opportunity – they would have stayed many more hours!” 

Patricia is interested in running a similar workshop in the coming year and exploring other opportunities for innovative course delivery. “This approach to teaching was unlike anything the students have been experiencing. We tend to have plenary, tutorial and team based learning sessions but this experience brought them all together. The space is a great way to use technology and incorporate it into the content. It is such a unique experience that they may never have again when they are in careers so I am glad we could expose them to it during this class.”


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