Training with Game-Based Learning (Case Study)

Paul Massarelli LT - Baltimore County, MD


Paul Massarelli, Lieutenant at Baltimore County’s Fire Department, is in charge of all EMS training for the Maryland County. There are over a 1,000 employees and even more volunteers that the county is in charge of training every year for EMS. Massarelli has been in charge of the EMS training for over five years and has been an instructor for more than 20 years. The programs that Massarelli oversees are usually a majority of volunteers and have 15 to 50 students per program. With so many volunteers, Massarelli observed many students were shy and did not fully participate during program training.


The department began using Turning Technologies’ audience response software and ResponseCard clickers four years ago after the solutions were introduced to Massarelli at a medical conference in Baltimore. The initial implementation for the technology was to help the students study for exams by using interactive polling questions. To enhance review sessions even further, the department adopted the instructional game suite BRAVO! Response provided by C3 SoftWorks. ResponseCard clickers are compatible with BRAVO! interactive games to answer game-based questions, capture scores and track individual results. With the combined efforts of C3 SoftWorks’ BRAVO! and Turning Technologies’ TurningPoint software, the department started to notice the enhanced comprehension of program material. “The way students learn these days we feel is a more technological type of environment and this allows them to interact and be more involved in the training,” replied Massarelli regarding the outcome of using the solutions. As the department’s knowledge of the solutions evolved, the use transformed from test review to every day in-class use. “We try to incorporate them often in our PowerPoint presentations so that we can base the student’s knowledge as we’re going, not just at the end of the session,” said Massarelli about changing the lecture format. Massarelli noticed every student was interacting and becoming more involved with the training programs. Other departments began to recognize the positive impact the response solutions had on Massarelli’s programs. “Our Fair Practices Committee felt that they could get a better response from the employees because it was an anonymous response on some of the questions they were asking. They feel as though it really enhanced the training that they were doing,” Massarelli said referring to how other departments utilized the technology.


The instant feedback from both Turning Technologies and C3 SoftWorks solutions provides Massarelli with the benefit to modify the learning material to better accommodate overall comprehension. With the interactive test review, the students are able to assess themselves what material they need to study and what they already understand. The success of using Turning Technologies and C3 SoftWorks’ interactive education solutions in Massarelli’s programs has intrigued his interest in moving forward with a more technological approach to training. He plans to use computers and stray from lecturing since the students have reacted positively to using response software and clickers in the programs.