Archive by Author | abipearsunicorn

Unicorn LMS is #1 for Financial Services, and #3 globally!

After what can only be described as a fantastic Learning Technologies show this month, we’re also delighted to announce that Unicorn LMS has been ranked third in the world – and top overall for financial services for the third successive year. The news comes as Craig Weiss releases his latest Top 50 LMS Report for 2017.

Bronze LMS 2017 from Craig Weiss for Unicorn LMSThe much-anticipated annual report analyses more than 1,000 LMSs from across world and looks at each system’s niche assets to rank the best of the best.

It’s been a big 12 months for Unicorn LMS, which has not only undergone a name change from SkillsServe but has also again upped the ante, particularly in terms of usability and mobile integration, as acknowledged by Weiss in unveiling his report.

“The name is changing from SkillsServe and the product stayed the same. Wait, scratch that, it has gotten way better,” he said.

“A new UI/UX makes a huge difference for this very strong system for compliance / regulatory (regardless of your vertical). If you are in financial services mind you, this is a system you should be looking at.”

The report also singles out the newest addition to Unicorn LMS’ compatible app suite, Minds-I, for special attention, with Weiss describing it as “by far the coolest thing I’ve seen this year”.

Minds-i learning reinforcement app from Unicorn

Minds-i harnesses the power of informal learning by enabling firms to take the best of the web and expertly curate content on topics of their choice to encourage the learner to explore. Learning becomes self-directed, user driven and personal while its just-in-time micro-bite content makes learning relevant in a real world context.

Unicorn LMS, which is set to get its official re-launch this April, first featured in the Top 50 LMSs Report top five in 2015 and has moved up a place each year since while holding on to the best financial services LMS throughout that time too.

Peter Phillips, Unicorn CEO, said: We are honoured to have been ranked number one in the world for our sector for the third year in succession.

The improvement in our overall global ranking to a new high of #3 in 2017 reflects Unicorn’s commitment to continued investment in improving our LMS, to anticipate and meet the developing needs of our customers.

I would also like to congratulate the other LMS products in Craig’s top 3, Growth Engineering and eLogic, both of which are outstanding solutions in their chosen markets. It is particularly pleasing to see two UK companies in the top three!”

Trends from LT17 – Part 2

We pick up with part two of our blog looking back at the overarching trends and themes from last week’s Learning Technologies show… 

The changing role of L&D

Dr Tobias Kiefer, Global Learning Leader Advisory at Ernst & Young Munich, described the role of L&D departments as becoming ‘conductors of the orchestra’.

No longer will L&D teams set the whole training agenda, rather the concept of OYOL (Own Your Own Learning) will grow, with learners becoming consumers who create their own curriculum to reach the level they want in the areas they choose.

Picture of a speaker on stage at the Learning Technologies conference

This idea that employees choose from a menu of learning relevant to them was also advocated by Rachel Kay, Managing Director, Thales Learning and Development.

She identified two types of learners – those who are hungry and self-motivated and those comfortable with the ‘feed me’ culture, who like taking part in scheduled events and training. The aim is to create environments where ‘feed mes’ become ‘hungrys’ with Amazon-style learning menus reflecting the key skills and behaviours the business wants an employee to have. ‘Feed me’ words such as training, trainers and courses have been replaced by talent, performance and coaches to help this.

Both speakers reinforced the point that social learning is everything, and how solutions are generated by talking. This mindset is akin to making the tearoom globally available to let conversations happen organically and for ideas to ‘marinate’.

L&D diagram on a screen at the LT conference

Dr Kiefer believes a target of 70% OYOL is achievable, even in regulated businesses, with L&D providing professional development guidance and acting as curators, challengers, storytellers, economists and data analysts. The role of L&D becomes about moderating, engaging, helping and stimulating new thinking until the critical point where an individual finds the ‘hunger’ and takes ownership of it themselves.

Where does technology fit in?

In the most basic form technology is the great enabler to all this.

What was really interesting was that all the most popular themes of personalisation, social, informal, self-directed learning, collaboration etc, which prevailed at Learning Technologies feature in the Unicorn Learning Ecosphere, launched at the event (you can download the whitepaper here.)

The Unicorn Learning Ecosphere

The Learning Ecosphere looks how the learner-focused world holds great potential to augment and enhance the personal learning experience, but balanced with the fundamental underlying need for an enterprise to define, manage and report on the inevitable core competencies that remain in every business.

Mobile, just-in-time microlearning, mobile delivery, Bring Your Own Device, gamified learning and social media all present a wealth of opportunities through which to really nurture the ‘hunger’ for OYOL in staff, but in complementing, not replacing, the enterprise-focused concerns of governance, risk and compliance, secure platforms, tracking and reporting and mandatory formal assessed learning.

Although the idea of giving staff the choice to do learning where and when they want is high on the list of demands to suppliers now, Rachel Kay raised an interesting point on the moral position of asking employees to engage in learning outside of office hours. She concluded that in reality no one can be forced to work outside their contracted hours, all you can do is provide such diverse, appetizing learning menu to try to create the hunger in people to start picking at it themselves.

When it comes to fostering social learning she also identified the power of WhatsApp in creating informal discussion groups where some of the best learning and knowledge sharing takes place.

Last year games were the Learning Technologies hot topic. This year it felt like people had moved from not quite being sure where games could fit into a learning programme but being mildly intrigued, to now seeing their value and looking at whether actually introducing elements of gamified learning might be right for them.

Could the same level of recognition towards personalisation and learner-led learning be evident by Learning Technologies 2018? Time will tell…

Trends from LT17 – Part 1

It’s been a few days since the curtain came down on Learning Technologies so now is the perfect time to look beyond the event white noise and reflect on what we really learned from the 2017 conference and exhibition.

It was called different things, described in different ways, utilised in different capacities, but when you really sat back to ask what was the big theme that emerged from Learning Technologies 2017 you needed just one word – personalisation.

From the conference rooms to the exhibition floor, learner-led learning was everything. Learner demands are changing.

The vehicles for facilitating this and the challenges adopting such a shift creates, well they were all up for debate, and debated at length they were. But there was no escaping the overriding sense that the days of spoon-feeding staff are heading west.

So where does that leave the L&D community?

An audience gathered to listed to one of the talks at LT17

Stargazing at the future

In his ‘Future Learning’ lecture, Harold Jarche (Internet Time Alliance) highlighted how automation in business is creating demand for talent-led workforces. He stated that in the US 47% of jobs were at high risk of automation over the decade and 43% of corporate Vice Presidents want to make that happen.

But while robots can be programmed to be diligent, compliant and intelligent, they can’t (currently) be programmed to be curious, creative, empathetic so that is where the focus has to be. Such non-routine work is highly contextual and requires greater implicit knowledge and implicit knowledge is developed through social relationships.

Harold Jarche gives a talk at LT

Social relationships spawn informal learning, and that idea of learning as part of a community was a common theme at this year’s Learning Technologies.

This is not learning that can be forced, ticked off or largely tracked, rather it is non-codifiable, can occur on and offline and needs time to, as Jarche described it, “marinate”. It is an individual taking responsibility for the direction of their own learning and career and developing the knowledge and connections to achieve it.

This is arguably the antithesis of traditional training and appears, at first glance at least, in conflict with mandatory training requirements, particularly in highly regulated environments. And there is no doubt the notion of handing over perceived control of an employee’s learning pathway is enough to make some L&D and compliance teams very nervous. But why should it if it is managed properly?

Keep an eye out for Part 2 of our ‘trends from LT’ blog later this week. In the meantime, don’t forget you can also download your free copy of the Unicorn Learning Ecosphere white paper here.

Learning Technologies – Reflecting on Day 1

And before you know it, here we are again! We’ve been coming to Learning Technologies for long enough to have true veteran status but we’ve never had a show quite like this!

Unicorn Training Learning Technologies stand

This year, we’re delighted to have used LT as an opportunity to launch our latest concept – the Learning Ecosphere.

The Unicorn Learning Ecosphere

As you may have seen if you’ve come across our press releases or recent blogs, the Learning Ecosphere is a concept that reimagines the dichotomy of traditional, ‘enterprise focused’ learning, and new, device-based ‘learner focused’ methods. Rather than seeing the two as mutually exclusive, or indeed in conflict, the Learning Ecosphere can help businesses reconcile the new possibilities presented by modern technology with existing LMS and classroom based methods.

Unicorn Learning Ecosphere at LT

We knew the Ecosphere concept would be hard to miss at the show – after all, we have a 3metre version of it across the side of our stand! But the appetite for a service provider who genuinely understands both sides of the coin (or as we’ve put it, both sides of the ecosphere!) is possibly more profound than even we anticipated. By the end of day 1 we were very nearly out of hard copies of our free whitepaper, and had welcomed nearly 500 people to play our latest app, QuizCom. Naturally, the fact that we had two enthusiastic quiz hosts dressed head-to-toe in orange – as well as fluffy Unicorns as prizes – might have had something to do with the sheer number of players, but we’re not complaining!

Unicorns at Learning Technologies

Unicorn toy close up

In fact, one of the highlights of the day was definitely awarding the Unicorn prizes to our top scoring players!

Unicorn prize winners wedsnesday

Unicorn winners 2

Unicorn prize winners 3

Keep an eye out as we live blog from Day 2 of the Learning Technologies conference, as well as lift the lid on all this year’s core learning trends. Follow us on Twitter for more event insight: @unicorntraining

Visiting Learning Technologies? Here’s what you can expect from Unicorn this week…

If you’re remotely connected to L&D, this is shaping up to be a pretty big week! Learning Technologies returns to Kensington Olympia across Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd February – bringing together over 7000 visitors all keen to get their hands on the latest in education tech. From tomorrow, we’ll be joining over 200 of our contemporaries from across the learning industry as we exhibit at this year’s show. If you’re swinging by, here are the top 5 things you can look forward to:

  1. Get your hands on the free ‘Learning Ecosphere’ whitepaper.

Discover the Unicorn Learning Ecosphere

Discover how learning technologies can smooth the dichotomy between traditional and modern learning with the Unicorn Learning Ecosphere – the subject of our whitepaper launching at the show.

The underlying need for an enterprise to define, manage and report on the competence of its staff has not changed. Environmental, safety and other regulatory demands on organisations are here to stay, while data security requirements are greater than ever.

But how does this fit with such concepts as social learning, collaboration and BYOD? How do we dip our toes into this fast flowing stream of opportunity in a way that is effective, relevant and affordable, and consistent with the practical day to day demands on our time, budgets and resources? What tools should we be using? What are the implications for e-learning design?

Pick up your free copy at stand P14.

The Unicorn Learning Ecosphere

  1. If you need a little persuasion, go and see our very own Mark Jones giving you an overview at one of his two free seminars

12:30-13:00 on both Wednesday and Thursday, Theatre 8. Where are you in the Learning Ecosphere?

Mark will seek to explore some of the issues facing businesses wishing to explore new learning methods. We’ve all heard the buzzwords and seen a flurry of new micro learning and learning Apps, but how do we really go about introducing effective ‘learning reinforcement’ – and where do we start? In a world where learning is changing, and we’re increasingly urged to explore new training formats, how do we ensure that we’re doing is going to work?

Join Mark to find out more, as well as discover our brand new mobile reinforcement app, Minds-i.

Mark Jones picture

  1. Come and have a go at QuizCom and you could win a Unicorn!

Yep, you read that right – come and try your hand at our giant swipe game and you could be the proud owner of your very own Unicorn. Our enthusiastic quiz hosts will be tough not to spot, as they’ll be sporting bright orange blazers and encouraging you to try your luck with our latest game. Loaded with questions covering everything from learning trends to star wars trivia, this is the perfect way to trial a brand new product from Unicorn aimed at getting your staff engaged whilst challenging them to prove their knowledge in a topic of your choice.

Win a Unicorn by playing QuizCom

Winners announced at 4pm each day, plus bonus prizes for two players picked at random!

  1. Check out Mike Hawkyard giving you a little insight into learning games and apps in corporate learning.

15:30-16:00 on Thursday, Theatre 8: Learning games and engagement.

We’ve all heard 101 talks lately about ‘gamification’, but this isn’t one of those talks. Mike is the Managing Director of an award winning games studio who have produced apps played more than two billion times in the last three years.

In recent months, Amuzo have been training people how to fly Star Wars™ Drones and encouraging children to build LEGO® models to rescue LEGO® Mini Figures trapped on erupting volcanoes. Join Mike for a session that will look at:

  • How the technology and best practice used in these exciting projects is identical to that being used in work for companies like KPMG and the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)
  • How to explore the possibilities of learning games for your business
  • Experiencing Amuzo’s latest product to engage staff with corporate communications; QuizCom
  • …And you might even win a prize or two!

Mike Hawkyard picture

  1. Finally, if you’re at the conference, go and see Richard Owen from the CII talk about their learning journey.

15:30-16:40 on Thursday, Conference Theatre T5S6: Organisational learning – Creating better learning outcomes for the learner and the business.

Richard Owen – Product Manager at the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) lifts the lid on how the CII have approached their corporate learning. He looks at the value of online learning for the learner and the business alike, and shares experiences of the challenges that the CII has faced in creating better user experience despite a highly regulated, compliance driven context. From topic-specific pathways, powerful diagnostic tools and a more intuitive interface, discover how the CII has trebled its uptake of its content within just 12 months with a little help from us!

We’ll be live blogging from LT, as well as tweeting from @unicorntraining. Don’t forget to stop by and see us at stand P14 across the event, as well as take some time to relax in the Unicorn café!

Join us at stand P14

A little reflection ahead of Craig Weiss’ annual LMS report

We’re just a few days away from eLearning guru, Craig Weiss, revealing his much-anticipated Top 50 LMS Report for 2017, and yep, there are a few nerves kicking in.

In 2016 our LMS topped Craig’s rankings for the world’s top system for the financial sector for the second year running and was fourth overall across all sectors, so we’re super excited to find out if our hard work over the past 12 months can make it an FS table topping hat-trick and see our LMS move up in the overall rankings again.

With this on our minds, it made us ponder just how eventful 2016 had been for Unicorn, and what standards we set ourselves to live up to this year. Not only were we so happy about Craig’s ranking but there were plenty of awards to celebrate too.

Unicorn at the Learning Technologies Awards Dinner

Our games arm Amuzo had their industry-leading genius recognised with gold in the Creative Digital Impact category at the Dorset Business Awards while their Playmobil Police Chase game won the 2016 TOMMI Award for Best Kids’ App!

The TOMMI is the children’s software award of Germany. Every year since 2002 the TOMMI Prize has been awarded at the Frankfurt Book Fair to the most innovative and outstanding software title developed specifically for children, showing Amuzo are appreciated far beyond these shores too. Pretty cool huh?

Amuzo win a the Dorset Business Awards

Then there was the awesome success of our partners, FSTP, who were named winners of the Most Effective Training Firm at the Compliance Register Awards.

FSTP scoop an award

FSTP work closely with us on developing all of our Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) content, and their knowledge and experience proved invaluable in the build up and throughout 2016 as many of our clients grappled with the new Senior Managers’ Regime and Certification amongst other complex mandatory topics.

We were also delighted to scoop a bronze at the eLearning Awards with Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank for the platform implementation that has introduced MyLearning, and changed the way the whole organisation approaches L&D.

Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank take a Bronze at the Learning Technologies Awards

With our partners at Credit Suisse, who joined us for the evening, also taking home a silver in the Learning Technologies Team of the Year category it topped a pretty successful 2016 for us Unicorns.

The bar has been set pretty high for 2017 now, but hopefully Craig’s report will help us kick off the year as we mean to go on. Get crossing everything!

Join us at Learning Technologies and discover the Learning Ecosphere

The biggest event in the L&D calendar is just around the corner, and we’re delighted to say we’ll be back for another year at Learning Technologies! This year’s show will run across the 1st and 2nd February at Kensington Olympia, and is set to welcome more than 7000 visitors from across a huge range of industry sectors.

LT mail 1.png

As well as being joined by our partners from Amuzo for an extra focus on innovation in the games and app space, this year’s show will focus on the launch of our revolutionary new concept – the Learning Ecosphere.

The explosion in digital and social technologies holds great promise for L&D professionals, and our community is rightly excited by the potential of collaborative learning, point-of-need performance support, serious games and even augmented reality.

But amid the hype, the task of identifying the truly worthwhile from the hot air, and determining how these opportunities fit with the learning strategy for your business has arguably never been more perplexing.

How do you identify what is relevant, affordable and good value, in the context of the practical day to day demands on your time, budgets and resources?

The Unicorn ‘Learning Ecosphere’ reimagines learning in the context of Enterprise-focused ‘Push / I must learn’ and learner-focused ‘Pull / I want to learn’. It offers interpretations of how a firm’s learning strategy does not have to sit on one side or the other, rather seeing the possibilities for utilising different technologies to create a better blend and balance in an overall learning approach.

Learning_Ecoshpere_FINALSMALL.png

 The free ‘Learning Ecosphere’ white paper can be picked up from stand P14 on both days of the Learning Technologies exhibition.

There will even be the chance to win a giant Unicorn (yes you did read that right!) by having a go at Unicorn’s new app-based game, Quizcom. This gamified application allows firms to manage their own question banks to create quizzes and push them to individuals or groups of learners. Who doesn’t need a giant Unicorn in their life?

LT Unicorn 1small.jpg

Register for free entry to the Learning Technologies and Learning and Skills 2017 exhibitions and seminars at www.learningtechnologies.co.uk

Christmas Opening Hours

We can’t quite believe it’s that time of year again but here we are! Christmas is just around the corner, which means it’s nearly time to wave goodbye to 2016. So that you’re fully informed about our opening hours over the festive period, here’s when you can get hold of us…

Monday 19th December – open from 09:00 until 17:30 GMT
Tuesday 20th December – open from 09:00 until 17:30 GMT
Wednesday 21st December – open from 09:00 until 17:30 GMT
Thursday 22nd December – open from 09:00 until 17:30 GMT
Friday 23rd December – open from 09:00 until 13:00 GMT
Monday 26th December – closed
Tuesday 27th December – closed
Wednesday 28th December – open from 09:00 until 17:30 GMT
Thursday 29th December – open from 09:00 until 17:30 GMT
Friday 30th December – open from 09:00 until 17:30 GMT
Monday 2nd January – closed

If you have any queries concerning site access, usability or technical issues please contact us on +44 (0) 800 055 6586 and we will be happy to assist. Alternatively you can email your query to helpdesk@unicorntraining.comPlease note that any emails received during the period we are closed will be addressed on our return.

Naturally, we’d like to thank all of our clients, partners and friends for a fantastic year – and we look forward to everything that 2017 has in store!

Merry Christmas from Unicorn

A Week of Awards Success for Unicorn Training Group

What a week it’s been! We know we’re well and truly into the festive season now that it’s acceptable to have Christmas trees up and Mariah is blasting out on every radio station. But aside from all the usual connotations, the arrival of December also wraps up what’s been an excellent and eventful awards season in the learning world.

Wednesday evening saw the return of the annual Gala Dinner and presentation ceremony for the Learning Technologies Awards – with the Park Plaza Hotel in Westminster welcoming over 800 of the industry’s elite for a night of revelry. Having already enjoyed an incredible win for Amuzo at the Dorset Business Awards last week – taking gold in the Creative Digital Impact category – we had our fingers crossed for the night ahead.

Amuzo win at DBA small.png

Gold in the Creative Digital Impact category for Amuzo (part of the Unicorn Training Group) in the 2016 Dorset Business Awards

Having been welcomed to the evening by Donald Taylor, it was esteemed comediennes Katherine Ryan and Deborah Frances-White who got the night well and truly underway.

LT Awards 4 Headline Sponsor.jpg

Don Taylor opens the night with his welcome address

In fact, if you want to see what happened when they took something of a shine to our Business Development Manager Alex, look no further than this YouTube video.

LT Awards 9 Unicorn meets KR DFW.jpg

[L-R] Peter Phillips, Deborah Frances-White, Alex Prodromou, Stuart Sawyer, Katherine Ryan, Abi Pears, Shona Yeung.

LT Awards 7 Supplier Bronze.jpg

Deborah Frances-White gives Unicorn a cheer!

With some seriously stiff competition across both the categories we were shortlisted for, there were no golds for us this year. However, we were delighted to scoop a bronze with Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank for the platform implementation that has introduced MyLearning, and changed the way the whole organisation approaches learning and development.

LT Awards 5 CYB Win.jpg

Beccy Gilpin and Stuart Snowden with the bronze award – Best Enterprise Learning Platform Implementation with Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank and Unicorn Training

We were also incredibly proud of our partners over at Credit Suisse who joined us for the evening as they took home a silver in the Learning Technologies Team of the Year category.

LT Awards 6 CS Win.jpg

Credit Suisse take silver

Success for Unicorn Partners at the Compliance Register Awards

As if one night of celebrations wasn’t enough, last night the team joined our partners at FSTP for the Compliance Register Awards. Testament to their hard work and incredible support for all the businesses they work with, FSTP were named winners of the Most Effective Training Firm category.

Win for FSTP.png

FSTP with their gold award

All in all it’s been quite a week for the group – as well as our partners and friends! We would like to extend our thanks to both the awards panels, and our wonderful team and clients who make our success possible. Here’s to 2017 and everything we’ve got in the pipeline!

Highs and Lows: Everything you need to know about today’s Autumn Statement

If you’re anything like us, you may well have been glued to the BBC all morning. It seems ludicrous to think that it’s a whole twelve months since we were last sat here awaiting George Osborne’s spending pledges to infrastructure and changes to personal tax thresholds – in fact, we couldn’t have imagined a more turbulent year if we’d tried. In the wake of the summer’s Brexit vote, as well as Trump’s meteoric rise to office in the US election, many feel that 2016 has been something of a rollercoaster ride, and one that looks set to continue into the foreseeable future.

One thing is for certain – at a critical time in the UK’s political and economic life, we are in need of political leadership with a vision to meet the coming challenges.

Whatever the public feeling about his predecessor, Hammond was keen to highlight the differences between himself and Mr Osborne as he addressed parliament and the watching nation this afternoon. With an overarching message that the government’s aim is to ensure that, “the UK economy is “match-fit” for the transition that will follow the Brexit vote,” Hammond maintained the need to continue with a, “commitment to fiscal discipline”, while recognising the need for investment to drive productivity”.

Big Ben, the Palace of Westminster

Three fiscal rules for budget responsibility charter

First, the public finances should be returned to balance as early as possible in the next parliament, and in the interim cyclically adjusted borrowing should be below 2% by the end of this parliament.

Second, public sector net debt as a share of GDP must be falling by the end of this parliament, and third, that welfare spending must be within a cap set by the government and monitored by the OBR.

As the announcements continue to come thick and fast from Westminster’s live stream, here’s a quick rundown of the highlights…

Innovation and infrastructure

  • £1.1bn extra investment in English local transport networks
  • £220m to reduce traffic pinch points
  • More than £1bn for digital infrastructure and 100% business rates relief on new fibre infrastructure
  • £2bn per year by 2020 for research and development funding

Housing

  • A £2.3bn pledge over the next 5 years to help provide 100,000 new homes in high-demand areas
  • £1.4bn to deliver 40,000 extra affordable homes


The state of the economy

  • Promises of “fiscal headroom” to support the economy through Brexit
  • Office for Budget Responsibility growth forecast upgraded to 2.1% in 2016, then downgraded to 1.4% in 2017
  • OBR forecasts growth of 1.7% in 2018, 2.1% in 2019 and 2020 and 2% in 2021
  • Government no longer seeking a budget surplus in 2019-20 – Mr Hammond says he is committed to returning public finances to balance “as soon as practicable”

Other highlights

  • A ban on upfront fees charged by letting agents in England
  • National Living Wage to rise to £7.50 from April next year
  • Reduction in the rate at which benefits are withdrawn from people when they start work
  • Tax on insurance to rise to 12%
  • Personal allowance threshold protected at £12,500
  • Fuel duty frozen

For a full rundown of this afternoon’s Autumn Statement – including closing announcements that will see future statements delivered in the Spring, with the full budget being moved to Autumn – head over to BBC breaking news for a complete live feed.