MSD: A game-based learning success story

Training new soft skills such as negotiation, communication and time management through video games (game-based learning) is possible, it exists and it works. This has been proven by Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), which in 2009 became the first company worldwide to invest in the use of training based on courses in video game format.


After five years of training, the leader in global health has brought to light the results of an innovative and revolutionary initiative in the field of corporate training: learning through simulation (game-based learning). The training, based on our methodology, has had a great influence on the improvement of the results experienced by MSD:

  1. The company has identified an improvement of a 25% in the skills covered.
  2. An increase in productivity of an 8% in the different profiles trained: senior management, directors, managers or team leaders, salespeople and executives.
  3. MSD has been able to reduce the training costs per employee by a 58% in a project that started in 2009
  4. The course completion ratio has reached a 98%.
  5. The degree of applicability of the contents was 99%.
  6. The assessment made by the Department of Education and Development is of 4.8 out of 5.

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Thus, MSD becomes one of the first companies to use this methodology in a project which lasted more than 5 years and trained 760 employees. The model, based on the use of courses in videogame format, has led to the effective learning of more than a 60% of the workforce.

employees trained of msd

The program has focused on developing soft skills through our 2 courses-video games:

  1. Merchants Serious Game to learn and improve the following skills: negotiation, communication and conflict resolution.
  2. Triskelion Serious Game to develop an organizational efficiency system: the employee learn to manage agendas, meetings, tasks or his/her time.

A Higher Engagement Level

“One of our major concerns was improving employee engagement during the training, and it is because of this reason that we launched this program,” said Tanit Ruiz, Assoc. Dir. Learning & Development Department at MSD. A concern that has disappeared after a 6% improvement in the ‘engagement’ level and employee motivation, according to the latest work environment survey.

This survey also shows an increase of a 6% in the work environment of the staff with respect to previous editions. This fact is a direct consequence of one of the skills covered in the program: the reconciliation of work, professional and social life of the employee.

a higher engagement level

New Solutions to New Challenges

“The model of sitting through a two-day training course had its rationale and impact at the time, but it clearly does not work nowadays,” states Tanit Ruiz. The combination of these criteria of innovation and effectiveness has characterized the commitment of MSD to game-based learning methodology.

A model, developed by the Spanish company Gamelearn, which perfectly blends high quality content and practical approach, a sophisticated simulator and gamification techniques within a single product: a course in vide ogame format.

the effectiveness of the game

In summary, the need for a new breakthrough in the strategy of MSD and a new approach to talent development as the best response to the challenges of the market has led the company to the launch of a program never seen before in 2009. As a result, skills training through video games represents a 40% of the strategic training plan of MSD, which will incorporate Pacific, the serious game on leadership and team management skills.

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