Ebola Case Study

Understanding leadership priorities in crisis management


In 2013, CDS DS created a suite of training interventions to assist with the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone.


Due to our continued close work with the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) we understood that the current outbreak in The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had reached grade three, which requires the highest level of operational response. We also knew from lessons learned during the previous outbreak that successful containment of the virus was, in part, down to the leadership skills of the deployed tactical co-ordinators.
It therefore became clear that a training intervention could be created which assessed leadership skills in a crisis situation. From a training perspective, this intervention would allow us to impart knowledge about the issues that leaders who are currently in the DRC have been facing and the solutions available to them. It would also give the deployed leader an opportunity to practice making decisions under pressure and reflect on their ability to effectively balance priorities.  Finally, it would allow trainers to identify issues at an individual level that could be resolved with further training prior to deployment.
The piece of training takes a gamification approach and was developed by the CDS DS Technology Enhanced Learning team in Articulate Storyline 360 in order to deliver an accessible semi-realistic style to the game narrative, without losing any authenticity. The game, set in the DRC during the current Ebola outbreak, sees participants cast in the role of ‘Tactical Coordinator’. Eight scenarios were developed in conjunction with staff from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office with each scenario presenting a current issue that leaders on the ground are facing in the DRC.


After all eight scenarios have been played, the viewer is presented with instant feedback enabling them to find out how they performed and the potential consequences of their decision-making. 
The data is collected by packaging the Learning Content from Articulate 360 into an xAPI format. The xAPI format allows the data to be sent to a Learning Records Store (LRS), in this case Learning Locker hosted on a CDS DS Virtual Server. Learning Locker provides the perfect link between data capture and instant analysis. Data from this can be queried using Learning Locker's inbuilt query builder or exported as a CSV file and interrogated using other data analysis tools as required.
The result of this work is a piece of training which perfectly blends research, gamification and learning analytics to deliver a holistic intervention.
Over the next eight months, we will continue to gather data in order to provide Statistical analysis using SPSS. These results will then inform the next iteration of this project. This approach of recording modelling and analysing human behaviour is an important step towards being able to predict leadership behaviour during crises.

Go back to Case Study page