Flash Info

Leveraging the gamification of learning

By Hongyoung CHO (RTC Korea), Mi JANG (RTC Korea), Jindeok JANG (Korea Customs Service) and Younglage JEON (Korea Customs Service)

Gamification can be defined as the use of game principals in non-game contexts, including to deliver knowledge and know-how. For example, acquiring points and completing series of tasks or activities to advance to the next level may be used in contexts other than gaming to provide fun and stimulation for the learner.

The Korea Customs Service (KCS) and WCO Regional Training Center in Korea (RTC Korea) constantly pondered how to enhance learner engagement by breaking away from conventional ways of delivering knowledge. In 2021, as it was no longer possible to deliver face-to-face training due to the COVID-19 crisis, the RTC Korea staff started looking at ways to introduce game-based learning in its portfolio. In the last months, it managed to develop a virtual reality training course for field inspectors in charge of physical inspection as well as gamified quizzes on goods classification.

Virtual reality and gamification to enhance inspection skills

To develop the first course, the RTC worked with the WCO Secretariat. The idea was to develop it using Immersive Learning, an experiential training methodology that uses Virtual Reality (VR) to simulate real-world scenarios. A team mixing staff from the RTC Korea and from the WCO Secretariat was set up. It chose to work on shipment inspections, a basic function all Customs administrations share. Real seizure cases were examined, scenario and related documentation developed, and visits were made to a maritime port and warehouse with the company hired to develop the software and graphic design. Funding was secured through the WCO Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF) provided by Korea government.

The course was finalized in September 2021 and is available in both English and French, the two official languages of the WCO. It takes officers to a container yard and a bonded warehouse with the mission to carry on inspection. Officers must choose between three scenarios focusing respectively on drugs, IPR infringing items, and explosives. To find the illicit shipments, they are provided with documentation. Gaming elements include accepting special missions to find items to receive rewards.

A high memory computer, a TV screen, headsets, hand-held controllers a well as two censors to track the devices are needed to deliver the course. This equipment was first installed at the RTC Korean premises and in November 2021 at the WCO Secretariat in Brussels.

A game to learn how to classify goods in the Harmonized System (HS)

The second game-based learning tool is called the “HS Code Game”. It enables users to go through the 97 chapters of the HS while visualizing actual pictures of items. Users earn points every time they manage to classify a good properly. They start with the chapter level (2 digits) and progress up to the heading level (4 digit). The “game” is available in Korean but the WCO Secretariat and RTC Korea have plans to develop an English and French versions.

Way forward

The WCO/RTC Korea team plans to distribute the full set of equipment of the inspection course to all RTCs and to develop the course for computer or mobile phone. This will make it more accessible. It will be made available on the WCO CLiKC! platform.

The team is also examining the possibility of developing other content using augmented reality. The difference is virtual reality creates a total-immersion simulation, whereas augmented reality superimposes the real world with 3D images, captions and other elements. The latter enables developers to create content of various degrees of difficulty.

The ultimate objective is to create a community of individuals dedicated to the development and sharing of solutions based on the latest methods and technologies while making learning fun and interactive. Contact us if you wish to participate in this project or receive more information.

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