Brett: computer games can help people retain compliance information

In the third of our series of features on lawtech start-ups, Dan Bindman profiles a company trying to engage people’s interest in dry but important subjects for law firms by using computer games as the model for designing training courses

Law firm employees could be clamouring to take anti-money laundering (AML) training, if a business that has applied computer game technology to training in a subject not normally described as ‘fun’ successfully gains traction.

E3 Compliance Training (E3CT) has spent months trying to ‘gamify’ compliance training to improve the information retention of people who take the course over conventional AML training courses. It claimed its app, which can be accessed via a desktop computer or mobile phone, by being “fun but not frivolous” can achieve a level of engagement that “boring” training cannot.

The business, which was a runner-up in October’s Legal Geek lawtech start-up awards, said it was working with the risk director of top-100 regional law firm Freeths LLP to develop the app.

Players work their way through the game answering multiple choice questions presented in as ‘fun’ a way as possible. “Our approach uses mobile game mechanics to challenge players and make the content memorable,” the E3CT website claims.

Steve Brett, E3CT’s co-founder, told Legal Futures that he came up with the idea when he saw how people would engage in very repetitive tasks with games. Compliance training stood out as an area where the technique could be deployed:

“There has been no innovation in this sector for quite a long time and it ticked all the boxes where ‘gamification’ could really add value to something that is very important when you get it wrong. It’s also something that is currently done in a very boring way and it’s something where there is a clear set of rules that you can work with.

“We built an engine that enables us to take any compliance subject and turn it into an engaging game. We test people’s knowledge but most importantly we test their behaviours… So the compliance officer can check to see whether they’ve actually understood and can apply that knowledge.”

Other suitable subjects were discrimination, anti-bribery and corruption, and cyber-security.

He said that while he had yet to speak about the strategy with the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Financial Conduct Authority was “keen on the idea” and had been “supportive”.

Mr Brett said any area was suitable if it involved “a set of rules [where] people need to understand those rules and, more importantly, they’ve got to show that they have understood and demonstrated it, and the business needs to know that they have that capability. Our focus is the really dull and boring subjects that shouldn’t be dull and boring.”

He said the creators of E3CT had tested the AML game and anecdotally it had been well received. He continued: “We are looking to get more data on how effective our approach is. [But] there is lots of research that shows if people have fun they learn more. It’s fun not frivolous.”

E3CT has been self-funded so far and was still at “a very early stage”, said Mr Brett. Freeths was “our first live customer”, he added.

The business was now seeking seed funding and was speaking to angel investors and high-net worth individuals. As well as the three founders, there were four part-time employees.

On price, he was hesitant: “We are currently exploring what our price point will be, so it’s not easy to give… a figure. We aim to be competitive; not the cheapest but a similar price point to leaders in the market but with an innovative and better solution.”

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