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PwC and Kaplan UK win the PQ “Innovation in Accountancy” award for 2017

The Kaplan Business Challenge board game

Now in its 14th year, the PQ Awards, held at the prestigious Café de Paris last night, recognised the achievements of part qualified accountants and those that help train and develop them. PwC and Kaplan UK celebrated on the night having won the prestigious award for Innovation in Accountancy.

Innovation is a key driver for both PwC and Kaplan UK, ensuring student learning continues to evolve and to meet the increasing demands of the millennials, the most digital savvy of all generations.

Jim Hinchliffe, Commercial Manager at Kaplan UK outlined: "After extensive research into how gamified learning can engage students, support innovative learning techniques, and improve student success, Kaplan created a gamification pilot for the ACA training course tailored for PwC students."

"Evidence suggests that students who practice more exam questions have a greater chance of success so we set out to use some aspects of gamification to encourage students to practice more tests, on a more timely basis."

"The simple logic behind gamification is that it attempts to harness the power that playing games holds over people, where individuals will 'game' for hours yet, for example, find studying for more than 30 minutes impossible."

How did it work?

Gamification creates competition and taps into other aspects found in gaming: a league table to measure improvements, being part of a team which creates a responsibility to others, building in additional commitment, and recognising individual achievements by awarding badges to reinforce positive behaviours and create a sense of pride.

Kaplan created both structured gamification league tables, where individuals and teams are allocated points and badges, and in-class gamification through the use of the Socrative mobile app tools.

Students were informed during their 'onboarding' sessions at Kaplan by their PLA (Personal Learning Advisor) about the gamification aspect of their studies. Weekly leaderboards were sent out during the course via email and the PLAs would refer back to these to instil friendly competition during contact days at Kaplan.

Tom Hartgill, Head of Delivery and Operations at PwC commented: "We were delighted with how this new way of learning developed, working closely throughout with Kaplan UK. The level of collaboration and innovation in the team was inspiring, and team members spurred each other on to produce a highly effective learning method that was carefully tailored to the needs of the students. The end results spoke for themselves - the pass rate for the students' Accounting exam was 91%, 9% higher than in the previous year."

Indeed, evaluating its success was a fundamental requirement from PwC and something Kaplan UK through its Customer Insight team are set-up to provide, every time. Jim Hinchliffe, continued: "In order to evaluate the success of this new approach to teaching and learning, we compared the exam results of a group using gamification versus the results for the previous years' cohort who followed the same study programme but without gamification. We will continue to monitor performance throughout 2017 as gamification is not a short term fix, it requires some time to fully embed."