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University of Liverpool uses Totem’s “Unlock: Project Management” to build learner engagement

In 2015 Totem Learning Ltd began a collaboration with Dr Ronald Dyer at the University of Liverpool, integrating the Unlock: Project Management serious game into the taught element of a core module (Uncertainty & Risk Management) of the MSc in Programme & Project Management as a formal assessment activity.

Game to Lead - Using Unlock: Leadership With Your Learners

Author: Helen Routledge


It is often said that leaders are born; recent research however has shown that this is not the case. Leadership behaviour can be learned. Given the right experiences and opportunities, anyone can exhibit leadership potential. Games can provide these opportunities to practice behaviours which are fundamental to good leadership; team work, communication, problem solving, decision making and emotional management. The behaviours required to succeed in gaming environments are akin to the attributes leaders require in the real world. This paper gives a detailed insight into exactly how the Unlock: Leadership game provides the perfect environment for the practice of leadership skills in the 21st Century.

Serious Games: A Serious Business Proposition (Download PDF)

A Totem Learning Whitepaper

Authors:  Helen Routledge and Kevin Corti


Games-based Learning or ‘Serious Games’ leverage the power of computer games design techniques and mechanics to captivate and engage end-users for purposes beyond pure entertainment. While ensuring learners are challenged and motivated the main purpose of a Serious Game is to develop new knowledge, skills and to ultimately produce a behaviour change. Serious Games enable learners to undertake tasks and experience situations which would otherwise be impossible and/or undesirable to practice in the real world for reasons of cost, time, logistics and safety. This paper serves to introduce Serous Games, to review their potential benefits as well as provide advice on common implementation issues.

Designing leadership and soft skills in educational games: The e-leadership and soft skills educational games design model (ELESS)

The British Journal of Educational Technology, June 25, 2013

Authors: Helen Routledge and Sarah De Freitas, Director of Research at Coventry University


While the field of leadership studies includes a large corpus of literature and studies, the literature and scientific research in the field of e-leadership and soft skills used in learning game environments are at present small in scale. Towards contributing to this newly emerging field of literature and study, this research paper presents a new model, the e-Leadership and Soft Skills Educational Design Model (ELESS) for assessing the use and constructing the effective design of soft skills and leadership skills in multiplayer learning game environments. The central research question considers: what is the role of e-leadership and how can it be designed and tested in the context of educational games? To address this question, the research paper includes a review of the current literature around distributed (shared) leadership models and presents some examples of studies assessing how leadership is designed, used and tested in available game environments. The paper then presents the ELESS model and validates it within the context of a case study of the Leadership Game. As a result, the ELESS model can be used to test the efficacy of existing games and to inform the effective design of new games that focus upon developing leadership and soft skills.