M&E Connections

Xcapsim Learning: Improved Cybersecurity Awareness, Retention

London-based Xcapsim Learning came about with the understanding that traditional methods of in-company training weren’t doing the job, with employees retaining roughly 30 percent of the information provided. Xcapsim has taken a different — and far more fun — approach, creating compelling and immersive experiences that bring learning to life.

Meera Mehta, co-founder and CEO of Xcapism, spoke with MESA about what makes her company’s approach effective, how cybersecurity training has changed in recent years, and the talent and experts Xcapism employs to change how we learn.

MESA: How did Xcapism Learning first come on the scene, what was the impetus for the company?

Meera: We’re a group of creatives and developers with a background in cybersecurity and privacy with a passion for making sure that as many people as possible know about the threats out there and what to do about them.

We saw that traditional learning and awareness methods such as intranet articles, video learning, presentations and boring mandatory training were not hitting the spot with information staying in people’s heads!

So we started Xcapism Learning as an antidote to this and made training that people wanted in a way that was fun.

MESA: What’s standing in the way of retention when it comes to in-house education, on any topic, with businesses, and how does Xcapism aim to improve these experiences?

Meera: Using the traditional methods we talked about above means that you’re only retaining up to 30 percent of the information given to you, which makes you far less likely to change your behaviour and stay safe.

Cybersecurity and privacy can sometimes be seen to be quite techy and a dry subject so we see it as critical to make it much more engaging to have any chance to empower colleagues to act in the right way.

MESA: Cybersecurity education is an Xcapism education focus. What are companies missing on the cybersecurity front, and how is Xcapism helping fill those gaps?

Meera: We’ve come across a number of education programs that have learning designed as a tick box exercise. If those that create that education see it as a tick box then people that receive it definitely will, rendering the whole exercise pointless!

Xcapism Learning stimulates more senses than are currently being used through gamification and discovery. We’ve created an online cyber escape room where you are locked in a house by an evil hacker (Philip O’Phish) and you have to solve a series of challenges to escape.

The challenges are puzzles that use everyday objects to represent cybersecurity and privacy threats meaning that you don’t have to be an expert to play it.

The escape room allows an individual to be immersed in a subject and learn subconsciously … whilst having fun. The learning is reinforced at the end with an explainer video that shows how each puzzle you’ve solved is related to cyber and privacy (with all the techy jargon removed!).

At the end of the day our colleagues are the front line of defence so we need to make sure that any learning that they are given hits the message home in a way that they will retain … one box does not fit all!

MESA: Tell us a bit about the talent Xcapism employs for its programs … who’s in charge of making this both inspirational and fun?

Meera: We started off as a small team of three and now we’re up to six!

We’ve got a stuntman from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a UK kids TV presenter who provide the character voices for the games. Behind the scenes, we’ve a techy designer who blows our minds with all of his funky designs, a developer who is second to none, an awesome creative director and me!

MESA: What are some of Xcapsim’s favourite use case stories in the media and entertainment space, and why?

Meera: My favourite has to be an individual that played Breakout Cyber escape room who told us that she didn’t realise how exposed she was online and changed her behaviours immediately to the point she started warning all of her friends to change their passwords to passphrases and what happens if you don’t!

MESA: What’s next for Xcapism, what data-centric advances can we look forward to from you next?

Meera: The elves have been busy in the Xcapism Learning offices over Christmas and we’ll be launching a new escape room at the end of January with four more in the pipeline for release later in 2021!

We’re also working with a STEM director to try and embed cybersecurity and privacy learning into schools so that kids can learn about these topics from a young age and keep them safe by making them aware of good cyber hygiene.

And of course we’re helping MESA to run some escape room team sessions online!