January 27, 2021

Choose your own adventure; a green classroom delivered to your PC

As COVID-19 continues to limit contact between individuals, one Welsh training company has developed a unique new way of delivering its leadership courses to ensure they continue to be an immersive and challenging experience – even when completed virtually.

Call of the Wild has long specialised in delivering training programmes that challenge participants both physically and mentally by using the incredible landscape and geographical features around its headquarters in the Brecon Beacons to create unforgettable learning experiences for clients.

With lockdown preventing such physical interactions, the company quickly pivoted its offering into the virtual world, conducting sessions via video link. To ensure its sessions remained interactive, collaborative and rooted in hands on learning, it brought the ruggedness of its green classroom to the screen by filming various scenarios and allowing participants to choose different outcomes.

One of its training programmes, themed ‘Behind Enemy Lines’, a course designed to develop leadership skills and improve team performance and motivation, uses footage of real geographical features and the physical challenges they present including rivers, rapids, caves and cliffs to offer participants scenario-based exercises that replicate the experience of being in the Brecon Beacons.

Through this virtual world, participants will need to work as a team to journey across the wild Brecon Beacons while completing tasks and challenges to obtain clues. In one scenario, coordinates will lead the team to a downed plane in the area where they must find the pilot and extract him from the mountains as quickly as possible.

In another scenario, participants must enter caves and navigate a route using videos and maps to work out the direction of travel.

Mark Soanes, director, Call of the Wild, said:

“As a company, we have always enjoyed helping individuals get out into the fresh air and set their imaginations free. We are located in an incredible landscape and that has been at the core of our offering. With travel limited and restrictions around the physical contact individuals can have we naturally moved our offering online, which has been a real success.

“However, we didn’t want to suddenly become an online training company simply asking individuals to stare at PowerPoints on a screen for hours on end. As such, we devised what we think is an innovative solution which makes our programmes as immersive as possible and think this is an innovative way of delivering scenario-based training based in a green classroom setting to individuals – even while they sit at their PC. It is a form of ‘Choose Your Own Experience’ but with training and development as the ultimate goal.

“The feedback from clients has been fantastic. We have had a number of senior management teams from blue-chip companies complete the programme in recent months and they have all described it as a breath of fresh air. While we are determined to get our clients back on top of real mountains as soon as we can, we also feel this adds another string to our bow and makes us more resilient as a company long term.”

One client commented:

“We really enjoyed the Behind Enemy lines, felt that this day really helped us with our team building skills and I think everyone on the course really liked it. Also, it was just plain fun. It had a good mix between real life skills and puzzle solving, the caving video was inspired, and I would gladly do something like it again just for the sake of it!”

Call of the Wild works very closely with its clients across the UK, many of them blue chip, to create tailor-made learning and team-building sessions, identifying the specific needs and aims of each client company. Its bespoke courses focus on achieving desired outcomes by creating positive behavioural change within the workplace. The programmes all have measurable outcomes and are aimed specifically at delivering a return on the client’s investment.