Continuing the theme of learning nuggets from our award-winning content team, Emma Parnell shares some insight about transitioning from being a classroom based trainer to an eLearning designer.
Having been a trainer for the best part of 20 years, a lot has changed in terms of how training can be delivered to the learner. Moreover the demand for instant, at your fingertips learning has grown beyond all expectation and I wanted to be part of the new way of doing things. So how did someone like me, an ageing facilitator with a phobia of technology, make the transition to eLearning designer?
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and maybe sometimes that’s true. Let’s turn this on its head a bit by thinking about what you know and what you do well but just do it differently. I did this and I have identified 7 steps that show how you can transfer your existing skills to eLearning.
Here are my 7 steps to becoming a successful eLearning designer:
Imagine a computer is a classroom – eLearning design software is evolving rapidly and is becoming more interactive and responsive than ever. It’s now possible to create eLearning that interacts with the learner perhaps in a similar way to how you do as a facilitator. For example, you can ask the learner questions and they can respond by selecting answers or typing in a reply and this can link to feedback that can tell the learner how well they did.
Think like a learner – When deciding on what should be in a piece of eLearning, consider the sort of questions the learner might have. Even though you are not with them in a classroom you can incorporate potential questions into engaging training such as a case study or a scenario.
Less is more – You wouldn’t talk constantly for 2 or 3 hours in face-to-face training, so don’t make eLearning just one long piece of text. If the content makes for a long course, consider breaking it down into bite-size chunks of learning that makes it easier to digest and doesn’t require too long attention span.
Use your imagination – what kind of learning engages you and keeps your attention? The chances are that your learners will be just like you in that way, so think of creative ways to present your content.
Are words always necessary – Don’t be tempted to add lots of text to set a scene or describe a situation in place of the words you would use as a facilitator. Instead use animation and illustrations more. Too much text on a page is a turn-off for learners. They say a picture paints a thousand words and in eLearning this is good to remember.
Talking to the learner – I was concerned that I couldn’t communicate with a learner in eLearning. Actually you can still talk to the learner in an eLearning environment by adding audio to the course. If you combine audio with graphics/video then it becomes more show and tell, just like you would in a classroom environment. Audio and graphics together are as good a combination as fish and chips.
Finally, don’t be afraid to try things out – Many authoring products offer free trial periods and great instruction for use, so give something a go. I reckon you will be a better eLearning designer than you might think. Above all, have fun with it.
I took the leap and it works so please, give it a go, you never know where it will lead.
If I asked you for the time, would you check on your analog wristwatch? Chances are if you are a millennial you wouldn’t, as you’re probably not wearing one and you might not even own one. You’re more likely to check via some piece of versatile technology, which might be a smart phone, smart watch, tablet, fitness tracker or other multipurpose device. It’s amazing to think the effect technology has had on something as simple as telling the time, so how have advances in technology changed learning experiences and styles?
From push to pull
Technology has changed our lives and continues to do so, both at home and at work, in a rapidly evolving digital world. As a result of this, employees now have different expectations and preferences, learning styles have changed from a tradition push model to a more modern pull model. So what is push and pull and what’s the difference between them?
Historically employees would be invited to formal training, typically in a classroom, which would be at a time suitable for the trainer or training team. The employee would sit and listen whilst the trainer would go through a presentation, with the delegate taking reels of notes. The employee might be required to take a formal test (no talking or conferring please), and the success of the training and the employee would be based on the pass or failure of that test. The employee would be sent back to the workplace and often not given an opportunity to put into practice what they had learnt.
The Ebbinghaus forgetting curve, shows 50% of classroom training is forgotten in an hour if theory isn’t put into practice. So how effective could this method of training actually be? And at what cost to the organisation?
Millennials pulling away from the push model
Today’s employees, specifically millennials – who according to PwC will make up 50% of the global workforce by 2020 – expect a different kind of learning experience. The pull model, whereby employees are able to access material whenever (work, home or on the go), however (desktop PCs, laptops, mobiles, tablets and face to face) and through whatever source (search, eLearning, assessment, video share, blogs, forums, knowledge share, mentors, communities and networks) is what these employees expect, desire and need.
The 70.20.10 approach
The 70.20.10 framework, which has been gaining momentum in recent years, takes on a different approach to learning, moving away from a formal classroom environment which provides little to no practice in the workplace after a training course is complete. The principle of this learning framework is 70% experience and practice, 20% conversations with people and networks and 10% formal learning. The approach moves away from formal structured learning techniques, where it’s thought to be more costly, inefficient and does not provide flexibility for the employee or employer. The 70.20.10 approach goes hand in hand with millennial expectations and is complemented in our digital era where information, networks and communities are more easily accessible.
What can employers do?
By creating a culture where employees willingly share skills and knowledge is critical for success within an organisation. A study by BlessingWhite found employee development is one of the biggest drivers of retention and engagement, and aside from just retaining staff, employees are more capable and motivated in the workplace and within their role.
If employees are given access to the right tools and knowledge, they will drive their own development and will seek information themselves. Technology can help organisations to provide collaborative learning environments for their employees and help to create a one stop shop for employee learning, development and training resources, allowing employees to gain access to this information when they need to.
This collaborative learning space can be provided through a virtual hub, whereby learning, development and training tools and resources are all found in one place. This space allows for a continuous learning environment, whereby employees can pull on any information and resources they require at that time, in a format which is conducive to their learning style and from wherever they are. Digital eLearning modules provide interactive learning quickly and effectively to delegates, saving time and resources compared to traditional methods. Other forms of technology can also be utilised such as apps and games, through multiple channels including mobile, harnessing a 70.20.10 learning environment.
The final word on the evolving learning experience
Technology is rapidly changing the world around us, both at home and at work. With millennials soon becoming the majority of employees in the workplace, it is critical to ensure their learning and development needs are met. Moving away from a traditional push model to a pull model, whereby employees are responsible for their own development and are able to seek the information they require when, where and how they need to, will lead to more capable and motivated employees and ensure organisations are retaining talent. Time to autonomy is quicker, employees are competent and confident in their roles and organisations save on costs of traditional formal training and move to digitalised solutions, which can provide a one stop shop for employees.
Rolling out eLearning within your organisation can bring about many challenges. Listed below are the top 6 obstacles you could face and our quick tips as to what you can do to overcome them.
#1 Limited Tech Experience:
For non-tech savvy individuals, there is sometimes a fear that comes with having to complete online learning. This is often rooted in the preconception that in order to complete digital tasks, a certain level of technical knowledge is required.
What you can do: create online demos and webinars that offer help and guidance when it comes to accessing and utilising the Learning Management System in question.
#2 Past Experience:
We have all been there, dreading eLearning due to bad (or worse, boring) past experiences.
What you can do: Get your learners excited about your eLearning programme. Stress the advantages of the course in advance and explain how it will benefit them in their daily lives. Be clear about what they should expect when they undertake the course.
#3 Lack of Motivation:
Linking in with boring past experiences, a lack of motivation can be one of the biggest push backs when implementing eLearning.
What you can do: Get your learners actively involved and engaged in the learning process via gamification. At the most basic level, examples of this might be the inclusion of badges, certificates, points and leadership boards to give the learners motivation to achieve the desired outcomes.
#4 Challenging eLearning Materials:
Easy learning means learners become bored. Difficult learning means learners become frustrated and may just give up! So how do you find the balance?
What you can do: Research your audience and carry out pre-assessments (diagnostics) to find the ideal level of challenge.
#5 Lack of Community Involvement:
elearning can be perceived as a lonely task…sitting behind your desk clicking through the content…
What you can do: Build an online community group where learners can create forums, open up discussions on topics and share knowledge and tips.
#6 Learner Boredom:
There is no magical solution to take away the boredom factor altogether. However, you can take necessary steps to make eLearning more inspiring and engaging:
What you can do: identify the learners’ expectations, needs and goals. Include real life challenges, scenarios and problem-solving cases. Develop personal learning paths that allow online learners to choose their own learning activities (self-directed learning).
Obstacles organisations face often go beyond the 6 points listed above. As an organisation invested in the continued development of your employees – both professionally and personally – it is important to help them overcome the misconceptions and barriers of eLearning.
Whatever industry you work in, unconscious bias is a topic that has the power to affect us all. Every day, we make decisions about the way we conduct our business lives – from who we hire, to who we promote to leadership positions.
Whilst these decisions should be made fairly, sometimes unthinking prejudices and preconceptions have the power to affect our judgement in a negative way. Despite the best of intentions, our unconscious bias affects the way we weigh up choices and make selections, and has a huge impact on the way certain groups or individuals are treated.
Often, mitigating the impact of unconscious bias is a simple matter of raising awareness amongst your personnel. What’s more, we’ve just added Unconscious Bias to our brand new Workplace Skills library, so the resources you need are just a few clicks away!
Crafted in the signature style of our content partners, Learning Heroes, this title gives a characterful and holistic view of the topic of unconscious bias, as well as offering tips on what you can do to combat it. Find out more about Workplace Skills from Learning Heroes and request a demo of this or any other course here.
Never disappoint a child with a promise you can’t keep. What’s this got to do with eLearning? Well, for a start it was an important lesson that Unicorn’s developers took from their recent team trip to the annual re:develop conference in Bournemouth.
You see, when we deliver final client projects to you looking slick, working smoothly and – most importantly – delivering effective learning, it’s from giving our teams the chance to get out to key events like this that has fuelled their enthusiasm, sparked them with new ideas and kept them at the top of their game for your benefit.
So although our development team didn’t all head to re:develop to improve their parenting skills, it did provide an important analogy for business – never promise something you don’t know for sure you can deliver; it’s far better to under-promise and over-deliver.
That little scrap of wisdom came from a talk entitled, well, ‘Little Scraps of Wisdom’ from Matt Northam, Lead Front-End Developer at Redweb digital agency. Matt was just one of nine speakers doing the honours on the day and we got to see them all. Here, the development team share some of their top takeaways…
Agile in the Public Sector
Roo Reynolds, COO at Digi2al
Dan Proudfoot: Roo Reynolds’ talk “Agile in the Public Sector” focused on Roo’s experience with Agile practices within a relatable working environment. He touched on the topic of Agile principles really well – and avoided the common mistake of making ‘Agile’ sound like a bad marketing pitch! Seeing the inner workings of the Government Digital Service (GDS) was even more exciting. The energy Roo had for explaining the work that was done to modernise the UK Government’s web presence was fantastic, and also followed on nicely from a talk last year which discussed accessibility concerns on the government websites.
Wayne Young: I found Roo’s point on shared team responsibilities interesting – the idea that developers can carry out QA, UX and Accessibility roles as part of their day to day development role. From previous experience I would lean away from this point of view, thinking developers have one set of skills and aptitudes and other specialists have others (I can’t imagine myself as a QA engineer!). The other point I found interesting was the one that touched on diminishing returns when doing usability testing – Roo mentioned on average, 1 user will find 30% of usability problems, while 5 users will find around 80% of them, which generally speaking makes 5 users a good maximum number of users to test with.
Software Craftsmanship vs Lean Product
Elizabeth Ayer, Product Manager at Redgate
Jack Sinclair: Elizabeth’s talk focused on the differences between two approaches to software development – software craftsmanship and the lean approach. Her points on different points of view when it comes to developing a solution was a relatable one – most developers can agree that they’ve found themselves debating the quality of their own or other people’s work even on a daily basis! But which one is correct for the business? The one that involves great code, or the one that delivers the solution quickest to the customer? It was good to see the perspective from a software craftsmanship point of view and a lean point of view, and definitely made our team aware of our own opinions on the topic that might affect our team decision making.
There’s More to Code Reviews than You Might Think
Clair Shaw, Freelance Software Engineer/Tester
James Allen: Clair’s talk gave advice to developer’s on what to look for when carrying out a code review. This talk was an enlightening one – and was good to compare against our own process of code reviews. It’s also a tough topic to take on (the process of having your own work reviewed by other people), and one that can often attract differing opinions. In particular, there was an interesting question raised after the talk on the benefits of ‘face to face’ code reviews vs online code reviews, and the speaker mentioned they weren’t a fan of face to face code reviews due to the demoralising effect of having your code criticised in front of you. Personally, I disagree, and this question does raise a very important point on the culture of code reviews. I’d argue if somebody is feeling irritated, insulted, or personally defensive over criticism of their code, it suggests there is a mindset problem in either the reviewer or reviewee which is causing that. The way critique is delivered should be with the aim of improving the work, and critique should be received as an opportunity to improve, rather than as a personal attack. We should have pride in our work but we should be able to objectively analyse where improvements can be made and accept them. Ultimately I think we should treat our code like ideas are treated in the scientific method; as disposable if necessary, and always open to criticism and improvement.
Employee Evangelism: Make Your Team Badass
Melinda Seckington, Developer at FutureLearn
Christy Mariaselvam: Melinda’s talk focused on the theme of communication in and outside of a team, and her experience in improving this. This talk was one of the most interesting talks of the day with some of the best quotes in my opinion. I enjoyed the general of the theme which was all about sharing with the community, and improving communication within and outside of your own team. It got us thinking – how do we communicate inside of outside of our team? Could we be more transparent? I particularly enjoyed some of the ideas focusing on learning and sharing, such as having a dedicated library in the office, and also having dedicated time in the week to learn, to write blog posts, find inspirational talks to enjoy, and other methods of communication.
Vikki Price: I really enjoyed this talk. The energy Melinda had was contagious and she was able to engage the audience well. I took away the ideas about the team sharing their great work more, blogs and ‘lunch and learn’ sessions, talking about what they enjoy both inside and outside of work. The development team is always looking to improve at communicating what we do – and writing more blog posts is a great way to start. This also applies internally, and making sure we use our internal systems to share things that we have found interesting.
An introduction to Service Workers
Phil Nash, Developer Evangelist at Twilio
Little Scraps of Wisdom
Matt Northam, Lead Front-End Developer at Redweb
Stuart Jones: Matt’s talk was full of advice and inspiration, giving ‘little scraps of wisdom’ to development teams. As a parent, I really related to Matt’s analogy of software development being similar to raising small children. Matt’s talk was really funny – drawing on obvious and more tenuous links. Some of the tips which stuck out in my mind was about positively sharing achievements – I loved the quote “If you are going to do great things and not tell anyone about it, you might as well do mediocre things”. This is so true in software – we must be better at sharing. Another great anecdote around not disappointing your children with promises you can’t keep – it is so true to your stakeholders too. Never promise something you don’t know for sure you can deliver, and always under promise and over deliver. The studies in children that showed trust being eroded in confident adults who’ve let down children previously versus lots more trust in unsure adults who’ve never let down the children demonstrated this as an ingrained behaviour from a young age.
As Matt Northam summed up: “If you are going to do great things and not tell anyone about it, you might as well do mediocre things.”
We don’t do mediocre and re:develop is one thing that helps us try to stay great. If you’d like to find out more about the Re:Develop conference, you can do so by checking out their website here.
Photo credits throughout this article to We Are Base.
Original photos can be found here.
Last week the BBC reported that last year saw nearly six million instances of cyber crime in England and Wales.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), cyber is fast-becoming the most common type of crime – with 3.8 million fraud offences and 2 million instances of computer misuse recorded between March 2015 and 2016. It also noted that the majority of these were linked to some kind of bank account fraud, meaning that as ever banks remain at the forefront of issues of cyber security.
“In today’s climate, 70% of all fraud is cyber-related”, said Arancha Sanchez (CISO, Santander) at last month’s BBA Annual Retail Banking conference, where she expressed a belief that banks have a clear duty not only to protect themselves, but also to educate and assist their customer base. “Although at present, only half of firms consider cyber security to be a priority for them.”
“The widespread use of computers, laptops and smart-phones to facilitate fraud has changed [the way we perceive crime]”, said Danny Shaw, BBC home affairs correspondent. “[The ONS found] we are more likely to be a victim of fraud than any other type of crime, with one in 10 adults defrauded in the past 12 months.”
“Fraud and cyber offences are not a new threat and the government has been working to get ahead of the game, committing to spend £1.9bn on cybersecurity and cybercrime over the next five years.” –Policing Minister Brandon Lewis
Indeed, of the reported two million instances of computer misuse, 1.4million involved the device in question becoming infected with a malicious virus, with the remainder related to “unauthorised access to personal information” – such as hacking. As technology continues to advance, and banks seek to provide seamless, cross-platform solutions to their customer base, it is crucial that cyber awareness is given adequate attention. “Consumers need confidence in banks, and banks need confidence in customers, said Donald Toon, Director of Economic Crime Command NCA; “Cyber Security is about Tech, Processes AND People.”
“Boards need to be able to heavily tasked with promoting a culture of cyber confidence. There isn’t a silver bullet when it comes to cyber security; and it’s a Chief Exec problem not just an IT one.” –Arancha Sanchez, CISO, Santander
At Unicorn we are always committed to finding the next generation of talent. Here, Bournemouth University student Jenade shares her 6-week experience working as a Marketing Assistant.
Six weeks ago I started my placement at Unicorn Training Group Ltd and it has been nothing like I ever expected. I thought I was well equipped for the real working world, being a Communications and Media undergraduate from Bournemouth University. However, my time at Unicorn has shown me that books and lectures only take you part of the way.
Unicorn staff are lovely and had a genuine interest in my career path. Everyone has smiles for miles, as if that wasn’t enough I felt so welcomed to find out the role was specially tailored to suit me. Working as an Internal Marketing Assistant was interestingly varied and advanced well from my course teachings.
Unicorn is a rapidly progressing business, this however, can impact how communications are spread, as it becomes harder to keep track of who knows what. I met with Jackie Kennedy (COO) and we thought the introduction of a quarterly internal magazine would help to keep all staff in the loop.
Despite my nerves and reservations, Unicorn were enthusiastic and trusted me with the big responsibility of producing the first edition of the magazine- Connected +. My role was to ensure that all staff in both the Bournemouth and London branch are informed of news they may be unaware of. By featuring articles from a wide spectrum of the business, we hope Connected + will transcend the city borders to bring the Unicorn family together.
Being in a busy and dynamic environment, it was important to be flexible and adaptable especially when working around staff schedules and workloads. I spent the majority of my time working with the HR and Training Team but there was always a friendly and passionate Unicorn around the corner.
Although, Connected+ was my main focus, I was given the opportunity to take part in exciting events that I’ve never done before. Such as the UCL Airport simulation game testing (thank you Peter Phillips, Jackie Kennedy, Gemma Blackaller and Team 5!). With fresh insight into the Induction programme, I was encouraged to evaluate the current process and identify areas for improvements. During this time, Abi Pears (Marketing Manger) also encouraged me to review some of the Unicorn platforms including the website, blogs and social media footprint.
When the sunshine finally reached Bournemouth, I didn’t ever feel like I was missing out, especially with treats like these to look forward to:
Unfortunately, we hit some bumps along the way and we weren’t able to Launch the magazine during my time here but all our hard work won’t go to waste and I have no doubt that we will see the finished product sooner than you think. Don’t fear, if I have missed you out (I’m sorry!) Connected+ is ongoing project that anyone can get involved in so feel free to send Shaun Hickman a message to be a part of the Autumn Issue.
Joining Unicorn has been an instrumental part of my personal development and I only wish I had the time to meet everyone during my time here. This placement encouraged me to come out of my comfort zone and challenged my capabilities in range of topics. It has improved my confidence and developed my experience in writing and editing as well as marketing and graphic design.
Finally, I’d just like to give a big Unicorn thank you to everyone that have made my experience one to remember!
ABCUL – the leading trade association for credit unions in England, Scotland and Wales – is helping its members improve and demonstrate their skills and professionalism thanks to a partnership with financial services training specialists, Unicorn.
With new innovations and opportunities for credit unions, plus the recent arrival of the FCA’s new Senior Managers Regime and Certification Regime, training and evidencing competency is more important than ever.
Credit unions – member-owned providers of savings, loans and a range of financial services for communities and workplaces – serve more than 1.2 million people in Britain and hold over £1.3 billion in assets, and are regulated by both the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). ABCUL (the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd) has therefore launched a comprehensive and innovative new compliance training solution for members to meet the required regulatory standards.
ABCUL Learning Academy is powered by Unicorn’s award-winning Learning Management System (LMS), populated with an extensive compliance eLearning library, which provides credit unions with the means to reduce risk through relevant practical training designed to encourage the right behaviours in staff and directors.
Rosanna Donovan, ABCUL Head of Member Services, believes ABCUL Academy is already transforming how credit unions meet their training needs. “Over the last decade, British credit union membership has doubled and assets have trebled,” she says, “so our rapidly expanding sector recognises that we need to meet and demonstrate the highest standards of knowledge and compliance to reassure the growing number of consumers who trust us with their money.”
“As credit unions are governed by volunteer directors and many also have volunteers in operational roles, Unicorn’s LMS and content suite is the perfect solution to allow credit unions to train their people in a way that suits their lives, and to track and demonstrate compliance to their members and regulators.”
ABCUL Academy meets the industry demand for ‘snackable’, just-in-time and role-relevant learning delivered online that embeds core knowledge in line with FCA regulation and heightens awareness of the serious consequences of non-compliance.
New diagnostic tools, Apps and mobile learning, with on and offline syncing, video and role-specific scenarios all create impactful, personalised learning pathways within ABCUL Academy. These instantly connect learners with their day-to-day activities and embed the learning required for firms to meet all the FCA’s regulatory demands.
Simon Mercer, Unicorn Product Manager, continues: “The FCA is challenging firms, credit unions included, to prove their staff or volunteers are competent and compliant, so the evidencing is as critical as the training itself. We are delighted ABCUL has partnered with Unicorn for the solution to support its members.
“ABCUL Academy enables the deployment of content, monitoring, reporting and automatically assigning learning from its content catalogue, CPD, creating role-based pathways and sending email reminders to effectively deliver the right learning. For those who may not need to do a whole course but want a refresher or reminder, highly visual summary module PDFs provide a useful referral tool for key messages.”
In 2016 Unicorn’s learning managment system, was ranked the world’s top LMS for the financial sector for the second successive year, and fourth overall across all sectors, in the Top 50 LMSs Report 2016, compiled by the influential Craig Weiss. For more information about Unicorn’s solution for the financial services sector visit www.unicorntraining.com/complianceserve
With the introduction of the new Accountability Regime, the need for effective training and robust processes for evidencing competency has never been greater. Here, we share 3 quick top tips about how to get ahead under the new accountability regime:
1. Microlearning changes behaviours
Changing behaviours is about embedding good practice in people’s day to day activities. Don’t view training as a one-off event; give your employees a variety of easily-digestible learning activities all year round to provide reinforcement and continual improvement
2. Recognise that ‘one size’ doesn’t fit all
Your employees will have differing levels of knowledge, skills and expertise, so don’t treat them all the same the same when it comes to training. Use diagnostic assessments to identify individual knowledge gaps and provide tailored learning pathways to maximise employee engagement and minimise wasted time.
3. Introduce firm-wide CPD
Try introducing a formal Continual Professional Development (CPD) scheme to provide a practical framework to ensure development is addressed in a structured way. Enabling employees to track all their learning activities against the CPD scheme gives visibility of personal progress, improves motivation and provides a comprehensive audit trail.
Got your own smart tips for evidencing competency? We’d love to hear them! Leave us a comment below…