Good manufacturing practices are revised in an escape room room – emotional memories promote learning

Orion’s production employees will revise good manufacturing practices by means of gamification in 2021. The annual training is provided in an escape room that skilfully simulates real life. In addition to learning effectively, the participants will have a great deal of fun.

The operations of pharmaceutical companies are guided by a large number of statutory regulations, and pharmaceutical industry organisations have also agreed on a number of binding ethical codes. These are reflected in Orion’s day-to-day work and involve continuous auditing and training.

One such standard is the GMP (good manufacturing practices). Orion provides continuous basic training on the GMP, and various aspects of good manufacturing practices are revised intensively each year.

In 2021, the revision training will be provided by means of gamification in an escape room.

A world of riddles in a pharmaceutical plant

The goal is for 680 pharmaceutical production and laboratory employees and administrators to complete the GMP escape room game this year. The Espoo and Turku plants each have an escape room, and escape rooms will later be built in the Salo and Kuopio plants.

The game is organised safely for groups of 3 to 5 people, taking the coronavirus situation into consideration. The groups consist of people who work together on a daily basis. The instructor wears a face mask throughout the game, and the room is cleaned after each game.

In the escape room, the participants enter a typical pharmaceutical production facility, with computers and piles of paper on the tables. Laboratory coats and other protective equipment are in their designated places.

The game skilfully imitates Orion’s office and production environment, and has been praised for being true to life. Similar environments can be found in the facilities of any pharmaceutical plant.

We remember embarrassing mistakes and the correct solutions                     

In the escape room, the group seeks to complete tasks as quickly as possible. The tasks are complicated, involving mistakes related to good manufacturing practices – not even the members of Orion’s GMP auditing team were able to find all the errors.

In the heat of the game, the participants may miss aspects that are otherwise self-evident. In other words, the game teaches them how to focus on making observations even in routine contexts.

“This is the idea of gamification, because we learn best through emotional memories. Everyone in our group will certainly remember the mistakes we made, and are likely to not repeat them in their work,” says Reettaleena Laine, who is responsible for GMP training at Orion.

Instructions are provided at the beginning of the game, and each game is followed by a feedback discussion.

Easier to focus than in a classroom setting

The purpose of the training is for the participants to revise their practical skills and improve their ability to identify any shortcomings in operations. The idea arose from Laine’s own interest in escape room games.

“I realised that gamification would be an excellent way to learn about good manufacturing practices. I contacted Development Engineer Emilia Ängeslevä, who is in charge of the Data Integrity project, and she immediately shared my enthusiasm. She created this escape room game with her team,” Laine explains.

Judging from the experiences gained, an escape room could be used as a training method in the future as well, and also for other topics.

As one of the participants put it, “In an escape room, you focus fully on the game without distractions, and your motivation grows. The same level of intensity is difficult to achieve in a classroom setting.”

Text: Anni Turpeinen

April 12, 2021