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Join us at Learning Technologies Summer Forum, for the UK launch of our new App minds-i

We’re excited to announce we will be exhibiting at the Learning Technologies Summer Forum next week at Kensington Olympia. After the successful launch of our new App minds-i at ATD, Atlanta, we’re delighted to take this opportunity to showcase our new offering in the UK for the first time.

Learning Technologies Summer Forum Unicorn Training Banner

minds-i has been designed in response to client-demand to tap into the potential and power of self-directed informal, mobile-first learning, to complement and reinforce enterprise-driven formal learning activities. For further information about minds-i take a look at our previous blog post here.

Minds-i Tablet and Mobile

Visitors to the Summer Forum will also have the opportunity to find out more about our outcome-led custom eLearning courses and our fun, beautifully designed quiz App, QuizCom that uses a familiar swipe model to reinforce learning or test newly acquired knowledge.

Intrigued? Would you like to learn more? Come and discover minds-i, custom eLearning and Quizcom by visiting Unicorn Training at stand 24 at Learning Technologies Summer Forum on 13th June.

ATD Day 2 – Europe, Unicorns, and the Great Millennials Debate

Day two at the Georgia World Congress Centre and we’re back bright and early – despite the rain – for another day of exhibiting.

Having enthusiastically embraced the European networking event laid on by ATD on Monday night, we were perhaps surprisingly bright-eyed and bushy tailed. The same can’t be said for our expo neighbours, but we get the sense it’s as much about the social side of things here as anything else.

Interestingly, the European night had also furnished us with the early announcement that the ATD show will be coming to Amsterdam this December – something that certainly bucks the trend as until now ATD has never taken place in Europe.

We started the day with a steady stream of conversations, demos and general talk with visitors about Minds-i, as well as making one very excited woman’s day by presenting her with her unicorn prize from the day before.

At 1pm, I made my way up to one of the smaller theatres for a session I had circled in the event programme earlier that day. It was boldly entitled: ‘Motivating Millennials’: New Research into Unlocking their passions.

As sessions titles go, this one is a little like a red rag to a bull.

It’s immediately obvious that the speaker (Christopher Kendrick) is not a Millennial. The first thing he does is ask us how many of us consider ourselves to be Millennials. There are a lot of people who raise their hands. “You can fact check me as we go along as much as you like”, he laughs – but it’s not clear whether this is something he anticipates is actually going to happen.

I have to be honest; I’ve arrived here ready to hate this session. The pervading irony of older people evangelising about the needs and wants of the so-called Millennial generation seems to escape the majority of folks who typically attend talks like these. I’ve said it before – I have no desire to be ageist. Being a woman, I know only too well what it feels like to be on the receiving end of inherent prejudices or to be inadvertently side-lined in the bigger picture of a wider debate; so it should be said that in this case, a rejection of generationally-imposed ideas does not also mean a rejection of the older generations full stop.

Christopher is charismatic, loud, and obviously at home in front of a crowd. He’s from a company called The Culture Works – a conservatively sized provider of engagement, talent development and leadership training. He later jokes to me that despite the inclusive nature of their mantras, the business is currently exclusively made up of a male workforce.

It seems the organisation is behind a number of extremely successful publications that centre around the findings of extensive surveys into people’s habits – specifically their motivations, prejudices and wider behaviours. Having achieved New York Times Top 100 Bestseller status with a string of previous books, their latest piece lends its title to the name of this very session.

“We started to notice that some people were more engaged than others”, he says of the basis of this latest book, “and at the bottom of it, what set those people apart from their colleagues was that they were doing something at work that they really enjoyed.” As it happens, this observation forms the basis of much of what is to come in this session – which is important because despite the jokey start to it all, Christopher’s unique flavour of inter-generational bridge-building is significantly more palatable to a cynical twenty-something than (in my view) the majority of his contemporaries.

“I actually want to show you something”, he continues, “I’m gonna show you three videos in this session, and the first is from a YouTuber called Micah Taylor.”

I’m going to share this here, because a description – however comprehensive – probably won’t do it justice:

Whether or not you fall into the bracket of those of us born between 1982 and 2000, the clip is undeniably quite funny. Chuckles of appreciation ripple through the room as this plays out, and Christopher follows this with what feel like a sensitive nod to why if you do fit into the ‘Millennial’ bracket, it could be a little insulting.

“We’re laughing because we maybe recognise some of those things as being true,” he says – (let’s just say the bit about selfies and yoga pants rings a bell) – “but actually Micah is one of those people who is sending up these generalisations and stereotypes that have cropped up around the ‘Millennial’ label in recent years. The backlash against Millennials is starting to get a backlash, if you will – and you can laugh about it, but I think we’re genuinely starting to realise that we’re in danger of tarring an entire generation of young people with the same brush when we seek to understand them in these basic, one-dimensional terms”.

“Let’s look at the facts, we know from all the research we’ve done – (it transpires this is a study of 25,000 young people in the past year) – that things are changing, just as they have done in every generation previously. We know that compared to our Gen X-ers or Baby Boomers that this generation are set to have something like 17 different jobs in their lifetimes. That means job-hopping every two to three years, and its markedly different to the pattern of what we’ve seen in generations before.”

“I was looking for something relevant and snappy in the news lately that I could bring to this session to tell you all about”, he says, “and you know what I found? Literally the perfect quote in Forbes – it said, ‘at the base of it all, your criticism of Millennials just make you look old’. And it’s so right. We can’t ignore that in the US alone, this Millennial generation is the biggest ever – accounting for 92 million people, and over 25% of the total US population. The challenge of adapting our workplaces to suit and accommodate and include these people is not going away. We have a choice – we can change or we can extinct.”

What are Millennials? The definitive list, according to The Culture Works:

  1. They don’t believe in being shackled to tradition or location
  2. They don’t believe in the inherent value of face time
  3. They believe in learning, not pieces of paper
  4. They believe in learning from someone else’s experience
  5. They believe in life, not work-life balance

“What we’re seeing here is essentially a set of values,” says Christopher of his list, “we’re looking at motivators – things that underpin and explain the more superficial observations about this set of people. In truth,” he continues, “we can take some of the pervading stereotypes of young people being selfish, or tech-obsessed, and interrogate these back to a root in a specific value set that actually says, a person displays a certain set of behaviours because their unique blend of motivators looks a certain way.”

As the session progresses, Christopher is no longer talking about young people. “In talent development of any kind, what we’re really interested in is understanding what motivates people”, he says. “It’s an absolutely critical part in any manager or leader successfully and strategically planning for the future of an organisation with his or her people. If we understand what motivates people to do what they do, then what we’ve got is a golden ticket when it comes to getting the best out of those people; knowing how to develop them, and being able to support those people to be better not only for their organisation, but also for themselves.”

Christopher tells us that from The Culture Works’ extensive assessment and survey-based research over ten years – and an impressive 850,000 people – they have distilled these motivators into a set of 25 distinct factors:

You’ll notice the list is colour coded. He goes on to explain that these factors fit into related groups, which when consolidated account for 5 common groupings of traits in people. These groups are as follows:

  • Builders
  • Challengers
  • Caregivers
  • Reward Driven
  • Thinkers

There follows an explanation of what each of these labels represents: aggregations of traits such as autonomy, recognition, praise, money and so on – each carefully mapped out to explain the visible nature of any given person. Apparently, though, there’s yet another level to this – as we can be more than one thing. Christopher talks about the unique combinations of motivators that give rise to exceptional talent – Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and other tech moguls all referenced as examples of people with perhaps seemingly incongruous traits and motivators who given the right environment have leveraged this to produce something truly astonishing. The lesson here is not to fall into the trap that just because someone is primarily a ‘Caregiver’, for example, that they’re necessarily overly sensitive or emotional. Or that just because someone is Reward Driven that they are shallow and money driven above all else.

“Knowing your people is key”, Christopher asserts. “It’s true that when we look at these groups of motivators, we can identify certain trends that crop up more commonly within specific demographics – but as you might imagine, these too can change over time. We might start as being driven by social factors, recognition and reward, but over time these give way to purpose, ownership and the desire to develop others.”

The crux of these observations is that Christopher is advocating a training model that requires any and everybody within an organisation to be afforded the courtesy of being understood. And he means deeply. If we’re to effectively communicate with, or seek to develop, retain and motivate our people, we need to understand what makes them tick.

To gather his session towards a conclusion, Christopher then shows us a clip from the 2009 movie, The Blind Side. It’s the scene where the coach is shouting at protagonist Michael about his football technique. The coach continues to shout, but Michael doesn’t seem to be responding to what’s being said. So, having watched from the sidelines, his adoptive mother played by Sandra Bullock – dressed in her little miniskirt and ‘mom-shades’ for maximum effect – marches over to him on the field and starts to take coaching into her own hands. Rather than shouting anything, she takes him back to a past experience where he showed passion, emotion and drive, and proceeds to relate that experience to the situation he’s currently in. She appeals to his emotional side, and sensitively yet humorously guides him into a place of action. Needless to say when she returns to the sidelines, Michael flattens the opposition.

I get what Christopher is trying to show us. Coaching, training – and indeed connection – are only possible from a place of understanding. In this case, the session has moved away from talking exclusively about young people, and instead strives to illustrate that whatever labels we might assign to groups of people within our organisations, we must seek to understand what makes them tick.

Whilst some of things that Christopher said in this session might raise an eyebrow amongst those of us feeling a little testy (are man buns really synonymous with Millennials? Or have we strayed into ‘hipster’ territory here?), his point is well-intentioned. Whether everyone in the room gets it or not, what Christopher has done here is begin to subvert and challenge the ways in which speakers, managers and the general populous alike have started to ringfence and label a core group of people. “At the end of the day,” he says, “as long as we think of Millennials as ‘Millennials’, we will lose.”

“Not all our Millennials are about man buns and artisan coffee. We cannot simply be content with categorising our Millennials anymore. The fact is that until we start talking to them and getting to know them in our own organisations, we don’t know what they are.”

***
For my part I really hope to catch up with Chris again (his business card says Chris, so I’m going to drop the formalities.) He tells me after the session that their work in the UK is for the moment limited, although as he’s heard it, the UK’s specific breed of Millennials is really “something else”. I wrote my name and details on the back of a card he gave me, and told him I’d send him this blog. So Chris, if you’re reading this, thanks for not just being like every other L&D professional who thinks they get the younger generation.

ATD 2017 – Day 1: Minds-i, Elliott Masie and Learning Changes

It’s day one in Atlanta. As a business we’ve been coming to ATD for a number of years (you might have seen Peter’s blogs from last year’s Denver date), but this is our first time as exhibitors. It doesn’t matter how many times people tell you that everything in the US is just on another scale when it comes to the size of these shows – you really have to see it to believe it.

This year is no exception. The conference is set to welcome between ten and twelve thousand visitors, many of whom will be here for the entire event – which in itself makes this particular meeting of the learning and talent development world quite different to its European cousins.

The Georgia World Congress centre is a veritable maze of session rooms, corridors and conference auditoriums, and with an event guide comprising a solid 270 ring-bound pages of breakouts, key note sessions and workshops, there really is something for everyone.

Having spent the weeks running up to the show perusing the floor plan, we know we’re amongst a host of familiar faces (9 hours from Heathrow to Atlanta has also brought several of us closer!) and it’s great to be amongst the buzz of what is undoubtedly one of the major dates in the international L&D calendar.

We’re here first and foremost to launch our brand new App offering – a sophisticated learning reinforcement tool offering a plethora of neat features and functions to help turn knowledge into behavioural change. The App – as you may well have seen if you’ve been following our marketing pieces recently – is called Minds-i.

As it transpired, the topic of learning reinforcement was high on the agenda for everyone at ATD. The level of interest and precise questioning from expo delegates affirmed that the industry as a whole has moved beyond the initial ‘rabbit-in-the-headlights’ response to mobile-based learning – and into a more mature and informed understanding of what opportunities new tech offers to their specific business needs.

The morning left us little time to explore – with a constant stream of visitors keen to unpick the potential benefits of Minds-i for their various organisations.

Having enjoyed such success (and borderline hysteria) at the Learning Technologies show back in February, we thought it only fitting to bring along some of our furry friends to offer as raffle prizes for the best QuizCom score…

Conference Session Highlights: ‘Learning Trends, Hype, Disruptors and Shifts in 2017’

At 3pm there was a mass exodus from the expo hall, as everyone headed upstairs seemingly all to join Elliot Masie’s session on learning trends for 2017.

I’m aware of Elliott Masie. Not that I’ve particularly made a point of delving in to what he does, but his name has cropped up here and there. He’s tall, apparently Jewish, and wearing the oddest combination of chinos, blue blazer, orange shirt and lime trainers – which I’m told is his thing.

“Wikipedia will tell you I helped invent eLearning”, he jokes, “but I don’t really think I did.”

He’s charismatic, but rehearsed. Undeniably he has a way with the audience that means his compulsion to overshare about his involvement with ‘Spongebob Squarepants the musical’ (amongst others) seems not to be news to anyone.

“I’m here to be a bit provocative”, he announces – telling us that besides learning, his two major passions are stage musicals, and breeding racehorses.

Soon enough the bravado gives way to what I assume has compelled an auditorium full of people to traipse up several floors from their already packed schedules to listen to a veteran of the industry expound yet more neatly packaged views on trends, disruption, and – of course – Millennials.

“The biggest mistake you can make in relation to learning changes, is to think that it’s just the technology that’s changing”, says Masie – “in the simplest terms, it not the tech that’s different, but the learners. And yet, ‘learners’ continue to be an elusive breed – a ‘them’, as opposed to an ‘us’, which when you think about it is crazy because we’re all leaners in one way or another.”

He makes a good point. Arguably, it’s an obvious one – you only have to be a marginally cynical citizen of the world these days to see that a lot of what is vehemently argued by these established figureheads of the industry is artfully packaged common sense.

His next trick is to make everyone get up and spend a precise 2 mins and 30 seconds discussing the way that learning has changed specifically for them in the last five years. All around me I can hear the buzzwords we’ve been volleying about all day – microlearning, bite-sized learning, video content. “Two minutes and thirty seconds is the average time an employee spends actually watching what you send them”, he tells us. “In fact, you decide within 18 seconds whether you’re in or out.”

Essentially, he’s talking about the growing demand for shorter video. And short, effective video content that is delivered in a mobile-native environment. True enough, we’ve spent a large portion of this year talking about microlearning; but arguably what Masie says goes beyond that. What he’s really talking about it the entitlement of interconnectivity and interoperability: our expectation that our various devices and operating systems ought to be able to work together seamlessly to deliver end-to-end learning experiences that tally with our ever-shrinking attention spans.

Elliott’s presenting style is charming but tangential – before you know it we’re on a rollercoaster ride through the deepest recesses of his professional (and personal) back-catalogue – sharing experiences of dinners held with the Gates’, and his views about the relative merits of established training tools.

“Today one thing is for sure – our learners want to be in an environments of curation, recommendation, optimisation”, he asserts. “The learning experience isn’t changing because of a new LMS, or any equivalent piece of revolutionary tech. The major disruption is people. Us.”

Elliott’s Top Takeaways

1. We must challenge our rituals. The age old adage of ‘we’ve always done it this way, we don’t need to change’ has to change, he says – and fast. This includes the way that businesses seek to calculate, express and measure ‘ROI’ from their training programmes.

“The worst people to give money to and expect it back from are those in the learning world”, he says. “Forget what you think you know; we’re not interested in ROI, we’re interested in impact.”

2. There are going to be more and different formats for learning

As Masie’s passion for all things production shines through, he tells us that as learning managers, we should be comfortable with taking lessons from TV shows. “You’ve got to produce a season,” he says. “Whether I did or did not start the ‘eLearning brand’, it sucks. eLearning has and always will seemingly stand for ‘electronic learning’ – a term we came up with in back the 1900s (he’s joking, of course, but you get the point.) But we need to start moving away from this. It’s no longer about a singular format – rather we need to start being able to adapt and embrace new learning formats and new technologies.

“For me personally,” he continues, “I’d put my money on the fact that the next big thing is the recommendation engine. Something with the power to tell you who your learners are, where they’ve been, what they respond to. And it’s more than likely that this kind of tech will come in through a talent system, rather than a traditional LMS or LCMS.

3. Prevalent Learning Technologies will soon be ‘Mixed’ and ‘Adaptive’
Following on from the point about tool diversity, Maisie tell us that the learning tools of the future will not be built by learning technologies companies, but rather by consumer companies (like Amazon). “Something’s gotta give”, he says; “Your employees have better tech at home than you do at work.”

He’s talking about industry cross-pollination again. It’s not surprising because it’s a factor we’ve long recognised as being a pivotal turning point in the identity and future success of eLearning: When are we (and our consumers) going to realise that the bar has already been set for us in terms of UX, video quality and calibre of content we’ve come to expect in our day to day lives? If I can watch my home cinema in 4K, or take photos on my ultra-high spec camera, why would I forgive anything less in my video experience at work?

4. We need to accept that a permanent state of Beta and minimum viable product model are not necessarily bad things

Elliott talks for a time about apps – and the point here is pretty simple: we often get wrapped up in the development, or delivery of a product, but is this really necessary? His argument is one for replacing the compulsion to perfect these new products with an acceptance that the product will always be evolving – hence a permanent kind of beta state. “Is it such a bad thing?”, he asks. “we need to get better at buying the things that will actually solve the problems we’re setting out to address – but we also need to accept that these things are constantly evolving”. Perhaps the minimum viable product model needn’t be seen as such a bad thing.

5. In the near future, most personalisation won’t be done by the system, but by the learner

Masie’s final point was pretty self-explanatory. He spent a lot of time talking about the user experience and intuitive nature of true ‘lifestyle apps’, such as those powering Alexa (Amazon), OK Google and others – and the way that the novelty and fast adoption here are often down to the ways in which data is cleverly used to personalise your experience. “What we need to ensure, is that when it comes to learning, the system doesn’t fight the learner”, he says. “A learning management system in future ought to manage the learning, not just report.”

His session concluded with a series of impassioned soundbites about the future: “What do I think is the future?” he asked. “We’ve never lived at a better moment; learning is really exciting – every day you are curiosity driven – curiosity driven to the point that on average we’re doing between one and 25 Google searches everyday looking for answers. I am spiritually and professionally and personally excited by this time we find ourselves in. Our role in learning is to live in that moment of curiosity.”

“We’re in the business of tapping in to people’s curiosity,” he says, “let’s not for a moment forget that because it’s a beautiful place to be.”

***

Check back tomorrow for more from ATD. Follow us at @unicorntraining of use the Twitter hashtag #ATD2017 for more live content straight from the show.

 

SkillsServe is evolving into Unicorn LMS

As our loyal customers and partners will know, the Unicorn Learning Management System – SkillsServe – has been an integral part of our offering for many years. Built on nearly thirty years of experience supporting organisations’ often complex learning needs, SkillsServe has continually evolved to support the changing regulatory requirements that have characterised the Financial Services and related industries in recent years.

SkillsServe becomes the Unicorn LMS

When we launched our first LMS (“StudyServe”) back in 2005, little did we know that a decade later, its successor SkillsServe would be ranked number one in the world for the financial sector. Two years on, the platform has continued to evolve and we still hold that #1 position, and are ranked #3 globally among all LMS platforms.

But guess what? Things are changing – from this month, SkillsServe is officially being renamed as Unicorn LMS.

Woman sat at a desk using her laptop with Unicorn LMS visible on the screen

Why are things changing?

With a complete overhaul of the corporate website, brand new mobile products set for launch, and a serious drive to build our custom content services all in the pipeline in 2017, we’re making a concerted effort to bring clarity across the Unicorn portfolio.

Renaming SkillsServe as Unicorn LMS forges a tighter link between our award-winning learning management system and the Unicorn brand – as well as reflecting our commitment to quality and simplicity across all our products and services (doing what it says on the tin, some might say!)

Two screens side by side showing different screen grabs from the newest version of Unicorn LMS

What is changing?

Starting with the rollout of the new website in the next few weeks, all Unicorn sales and marketing materials will refer to ‘Unicorn LMS’ instead of SkillsServe – including support documents, the blog, and the help forum.

We will be upgrading the SkillsServe app to offer more features and functions, as well as a slick new look and feel. From this point on, the SkillsServe App will be renamed as ‘Learning Path’.

Finally, as well as our Helpdesk and Relationship Management teams adopting the name ‘Unicorn LMS’ in communications and general conversation, all new single tenancy client sites from this point forward will be implemented on the unicornlms.com domain name.

Log in screen showing the old welcome message for SkillsServe LMS

SkillsServe has had various incarnations over the years – this pre-login page was replaced with the new design (below) with the arrival of version 6.0.

Screen showing the most recent pre login page for the Unicorn LMS

The most up to date version of Unicorn LMS gives customers the option to further customise their unique learning portal to suit them.

What is not changing?

Existing customers using a skillsserve.com domain name will continue to use this. We have made this decision because many clients have integrations that depend on this and we don’t want to cause unnecessary problems for them.

ComplianceServe and ContentServe will remain as they are and there are no plans to rebrand these products.

What should you do?

If you are an existing customer and you’d like more information about the rebranding of SkillsServe to Unicorn LMS, please don’t hesitate to contact the Helpdesk or speak to your Relationship Manager.

Otherwise, simply keep using your LMS as you were, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled as we get closer to the launch of our new public website! Want to always be in the loop? Make sure you’re subscribed to this blog (all subscriptions will be carried across to our new Unicorn blog when the new site arrives.)

Unicorn Summer Client Forum Announced

Although it still feels like 2017 has only just arrived, we’re very nearly into May, which means it’s time for our next Client Forum!

Thanks to a brand new structure (and a little help from a beautiful City venue) our Autumn Forum in October last year was by far our best to date, and we can’t wait to share what we’ve been up to since then.

Image showing visitors at the Autumn Unicorn Client Forum at 40 Bank Street Canary Wharf

As part of our commitment to great customer support, we believe it’s important to keep running these forums in order to give you the chance to hear about new products and services, industry trends and future developments first hand. With this in mind, the next Unicorn Client Forum will be held on Thursday 8th June, at the O2 Intercontinental Hotel, 1 Waterview Drive, London.

London the O2 showing the dome, thames, city and intercontinental hotel which is where we will hold the next client forum

The Summer Forum will offer a range of sessions from our Senior Relationship Management Team, Product Managers, Executive Team, Clients and Special Guests (keynote). Following the launch of our Learning Ecosphere whitepaper at Learning Technologies back in February, we will continue to address themes of new technology, engagement and changing behaviours in corporate learning.

Unicorn Marketing Manager Abi introduces guests to the day's itinerary at the Autumn Client Forum

Throughout the day we will also be offering sessions on Cyber Awareness, GRC (including T&C, GDPR and MiFID II) and showcasing our brand new reinforcement app, Minds-i, following its official launch at ATD in Atlanta.

A full session breakdown and registration portal will be available this week and can be found by contacting your Unicorn Relationship Manager, or the Marketing Team.

Unicorn Summer Forum June 2017 at the O2 Intercontinental Hotel
**Please note that we will be starting this event late morning to allow you time to vote in the UK General Election. We will have a live feed throughout the day, and anyone concerned about timings can still register for a postal vote by following this link.**

Unicorn to Launch New Mobile Learning Reinforcement App at ATD 2017

Discover how your business can harness the power of informal learning when Unicorn Training launches its new Minds-i App at the ATD 2017 International Conference and Expo in Atlanta, Georgia next month (21-24 May).

Minds-i has been designed in response to client-demand to tap into the potential and power of self-directed informal, mobile-first learning, to complement and reinforce enterprise-driven formal learning activities.

Minds-i is a brand new mobile learning app from Unicorn

Minds-i puts a range of microlearning nuggets into the pockets of learners, and encourages individuals to explore and build their own personal learning journeys. It comes ready populated with quality content from leading international content providers. In addition you can create and curate your own company library of content (videos, quizzes, pdfs, etc).

Learning paths can also be generated and you can ‘nudge’ your learning community to follow these at convenient intervals to reinforce specific formal learning activities. Simple gamification and social features encourage users to engage and return.

Minds-i also includes a new intelligent web content curation engine. Choose up to 25 from a list of 100 learning topics to make available to your learners. The App searches the web twice every day and returns the most relevant new content. Each user can then create their own pinboards of the best new stuff, and recommend it to other users.

As Unicorn CEO Peter Phillips explains: “The days of L&D spoon-feeding learners are numbered. Informal learning constructs, such as just-in-time microlearning, mobile delivery, Bring Your Own Device, gamified learning and social media, all present a wealth of opportunities through which to nurture a hunger in employees to learn.

“All the evidence suggests people will collaborate, share and discuss more freely in an environment of trust, where they don’t feel monitored or evaluated. Minds-i lets L&D dip a toe into the world of informal learning without breaking the bank, giving learners ownership of their learning and so greatly enhancing its effectiveness.”

Steve Rayson of curation experts Anders Pink, added: “Everyone’s skills have a half-life, but despite good intentions, most people don’t have time to check multiple sources to stay up to date. This is why curation is a key aspect of enabling continuous learning.

“Curation makes a business more agile, responsive, and at a lower cost than creating formal learning. It is not meant to replace courses, which have value in taking people to a certain knowledge level. But courses are fixed and time-consuming to maintain. Live curated content alongside courses adds value and relevance to the learning.”

With a beautifully designed, intuitive user interface, Minds-i will be fun to use, and will encourage self-directed, personal learning. Behind the scenes, administrators can view management information, add new content, create learning paths and communicate direct with your learning community through their mobile devices.

Intrigued? Would you like to learn more? Come and discover Minds-i. Visit Unicorn Training at stand 645 at ATD, or go to www.unicorntraining.com for more information.

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!”

Unicorn to launch new ‘Learning Ecosphere’ white paper at Learning Technologies

Unicorn is to launch the Learning Ecosphere at next month’s Learning Technologies show, which introduces a brand new way of reimagining the dichotomy of traditional vs new eLearning.

The explosion in digital and social technologies holds great promise for L&D professionals, and the learning 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, how do enterprises identify what is relevant, affordable and good value, in the context of the practical day to day demands on time, budgets and resources?

This is the focus of a new White Paper being launched by Unicorn Training at the Learning Technologies conference and exhibition next month.lt-unicorn-1small

The Unicorn ‘Learning Ecosphere’ reimagines learning in the context of balancing enterprise-focused ‘you must learn’ and learner-focused ‘I want to learn’ demands.

The White Paper argues that 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.

The free ‘Learning Ecosphere’ White Paper can be picked up from stand P14 on both days of the Learning Technologies exhibition at Olympia on 1-2 February.

Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC), custom content, LMS and apps/games are all key elements within the Learning Ecosphere, and Unicorn will be showcasing its solutions in each of these and explaining how, far from being in competition, the ‘new’ and ‘old worlds of learning technologies, are, in fact, complementary.

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?

Peter Phillips, Unicorn CEO, said:

“The mobile revolution has opened up exciting new opportunities for L&D to radically improve the effectiveness of their investment in learning. But mobile learning is inherently different from, and does not replace, the more traditional enterprise led training. We still need to ensure staff are safe and competent to do their jobs.

“The Learning Ecosphere is designed to help businesses to recognise what new pieces of the learning jigsaw might be missing in their business and how it is possible to make the many different elements on both sides work harmoniously together.

“What is needed is balance, and anyone visiting the Unicorn stand at Learning Technologies will go away with a much clearer understanding of how that balance could potentially be achieved within their business.”

More information about Unicorn Training is available at www.unicorntraining.com and registration for free entry to the Learning Technologies and Learning and Skills 2017 exhibitions and seminars is available at www.learningtechnologies.co.uk

Have you read our new T-C News feature? So what is your compliance strategy?

T-C News cover imageRegulation is only going one way, equaling an ever growing need to evidence competency.

With 52,000 more  firms due to come under the Senior Managers Regime by 2018, in the new T-C News magazine Simon Mercer, Unicorn ComplianceServe Product Manager, asks ‘What’s your training strategy for compliance?’

“Do not put it under the jurisdiction of Compliance or HR”, Simon argues. “It has to be championed by a Senior Manager and driven from the top down.”

Find out why by downloading the January 2017 edition of T-C News for free from the website at www.t-cnews.co.uk

 

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.