Immersive learning solution

To enhance learner engagement in its capstone subject, CPA Australia turned to DeakinCo. for an excellent result achieved through collaboration, innovative technology and expert design.

More than numbers

Accountants don’t deal with numbers all day. Which is why the capstone subject in CPA Australia’s program is Global Strategy and Leadership (GSL).

It is often said that leadership and strategic thinking cannot be learnt in a traditional way. We couldn’t agree more, so when CPA Australia looked to us for a solution to help its GSL students apply their knowledge to real world situations, we jumped at the opportunity to innovate.

Real life collaboration

By working alongside CPA Australia’s education team and subject matter experts, we developed a simulated learning experience to support its distance learning study guides.

The real world immersive experience includes:

  • A gamified interface
  • Video
  • Interactive accounting activities
  • Personalised performance results
  • An intuitive navigation with features such as help from a fictional manager via instant messaging and a fictional intranet with resources

This simulation design and development succeeded positively by working collaboratively with CPA Australia. We used streamlined communication and project management tools to achieve the project’s goals to progress CPA Australia’s strategy to deliver learning through innovative digital modes.

Behind the scenes

This project was highly complex and while the end result has been described by students as “slick”, a lot went on behind the scenes to make it happen.

We began by reviewing the existing study material to identify key learning challenges and areas for content improvement, before working with CPA Australia’s subject matter experts to design new content suitable for digital learning.

From a technical point of view, our development team heavily customised the open-source Adapt framework to deliver the online simulated experience. We also integrated xAPI technology to collect data and provide candidates with in-depth information on their performance, and CPA Australia with detailed live reporting and analysis. This provides a world of future learning opportunities for CPA Australia in understanding candidates’ learning engagement and continuous content improvement needs. Around all of this, we designed core business workflows and processes to support the program’s design and delivery.

A simulation is only as good as the story it tells. So we placed emphasis on creating a compelling narrative set in a world that students can become immersed in. Students play the role of a management accountant within a fictional hotel group and are tasked with a high profile project. This narrative now plays out across a number of CPA Australia’s subjects in similar learning scenarios.

Student success

CPA Australia is extremely happy with the simulated learning experience, reporting a marked improvement in learner engagement in its GSL subject, and improved understanding of the experience and previous problem areas.

But what do the candidates who are using the simulation say about it? Great things so far, with the average user score sitting at 4.5 stars and comments such as the below.

"Great new delivery of content. Helps connect the theories to real life."

"Cool idea to have presented a case study like this. Please continue to do so."

"Excellent resource to put the theory into practice."

"Very impressive, fully evolved."

"In the context of education these days, we are going to be able to take some real leaps forward and continue to push the boundaries in terms of accounting and finance education."

Kellie Hamilton - Interim Head of Education CPA Australia