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.)

Highlights: The Open University’s Trends in Learning 2017 from the CIPD Learning & Development Show

Earlier this week we visited the CIPD Learning & Development Show in London, one of our favourite sessions was from The Open University’s Simon Tindall, Head of New Business Worldwide.

Simon’s session gave insight from The Open University’s Institute of Educational Technology (IET) research, where they identified 6 key trends in learning for 2017:

  1. Learning for the future
  2. Learning through social media
  3. Productive Failure
  4. Formative Analytics
  5. Learning from the crowd
  6. Design thinking

We’ll explore each trend in a little more detail below:

OU CIPD

Learning for the future

Learners will need to be agile, curious and adaptive in the workplace. With rapid developments in technology, employees will need to move to a continual learning process in order to keep up to date and ready for future trends. There will also be a shift away from the more formal ‘one big event’ type of training, to informal, bite size training delivered through multimedia. Science has taught us our brains prefer and are more receptive to multi media stimulation and therefore this learning style preference will go hand in hand with delivery through collaborative training environments.

Employees will need to learn a variety of skills with a focus on soft skills such as building resilience, being ready and receptive to change and having an understanding about global networking, as well learning traditional hard skills. Learning will need to incorporate informal styles, where employees are able to collaborate in a positive, stress free environment – think nurture and reward.

Learning through social media

Social media is undeniably a big part of modern social life and it can, and is being used to bring learning to life. Social media is incredibly accessible, easy to use and can be accessed on the go. This style of training delivery can provide pockets of information and just in time learning, harnessing on a creative and collaborative environment where learners enjoy learning.

Employees should also be able to communicate and gain/provide support peer-to-peer both locally and globally. Although there are many benefits to learning through social media, organisations still have some way to go in accepting the ‘social’ aspect of using this type of learning in a work environment. It is therefore likely most organisations will need a cultural shift in expectations before social media learning at work becomes the norm.

Productive Failure

Deep learning and focus often comes from learners making mistakes and problem solving through situations. This approach to learning means employees are learning through failure and tackling these sometimes very complex problems themselves, through exploration and a need to have a more thorough understanding of the topic. The question organisations will need to ask themselves – is your organisational learning culture set up to allow learners to fail? Employees will need to feel they are able to fail (and learn from it) without being blamed for their mistakes. It’s likely most organisations will need to go through a cultural change in order to adopt this type of learning environment where it’s ok to fail and managers understand employees are likely to have a more deepened knowledge of the subject through this type of approach.

Formative Analytics 

The measurement for learning, which provides information on a personal and individual basis and enables organisations to interpret employees reactions and experiences toward training content. The benefit of this type of analytics is it provides organisations with in-depth information allowing for training to be tailored to the learner. The act of matching preferences to future experience is something which happens a lot in the retail world, for example if you purchase a coffee machine from an online retailer they will capture this information and interpret your preferences, in this instance coffee. The next time you visit their online store you will be shown product links for related items such as coffee beans or coffee mugs, tailoring the shopping experience to you.

Learning can be seen in the same way, if we collect and understand data about learning preferences and experiences we are able to provide learning pathways based on this, so if a learner has shown a preference towards video based learning, we can then tailor this for future learning.

Learning from the crowd

Peer-to-peer learning both internally within the organisation and externally either locally or globally. This trend is closely linked to the learning through social media trend we outlined above and also focuses on collaborative learning principles. Information typically is high value, learners are self motivated and their needs can be fostered through a learning community where employees can be innovative, creative, collaborative and share/learn with peers. This type of learning experience can be harnessed through the use of technology, providing digital spaces within the organisation for employees to share ideas, technical knowledge or experiences and provide a culture where employees are encouraged to interact, be curious, share information and problem solve situations together.

Design thinking

This is a similar approach to how design teams work, whereby they work with prototypes, process mapping and a continuous loop of reviewing and improving. This approach can help organisations to develop ideas quickly, whilst reviewing them and refining them over time. Training has always typically followed a top down approach, whereby managers decide how, when and where employees will learn, design thinking puts the learners at the heart of the learning and tries to understand problems they are trying to solve. This agile and flexible approach is outcome focused and will need organisations to create time for space and creativity and encourage employees to work collaboratively with other areas of the business to understand different possibilities.

Has your organisation already starting implementing any of the trends predicted by The Open University for this year? Let us know below.

 

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.

Engagement is key: Unicorn and Paragon Group

Senior Relationship Manager Sarah Smith explores how one of our major clients is driving learning engagement within their organisation… 

For the past three months Unicorn and Paragon Group have been working on a project to re-launch their E-hub (Unicorn LMS) with an update to the homepage and addition of a Career Area.

The move to Theme Builder allows Paragon access to the sliding banner within their portal, which is used to highlight what’s new on the platform:

e-Hub banner by Paragon bank

New additions to the platform, available after the relaunch, include a new ‘My Career’ informational page with links to key resources and video clips of staff that have progressed internally. The Learning and Development team have also created eCreator courses with tips and advice as support tools for staff looking to progress.

New portlets have been added to the homepage to highlight what is on offer to staff, these include: ‘My Career’ – to access the page noted above.

An Appraisal Portlet making the appraisal forms easier to access.

CPD is now configured and a portlet added to highlight staff progress and allow them to add relevant activities to the log should they wish.

Balloons at the paragon launch partyThe final new addition is the Learning Heroes content. This library is available so that staff have easy access to a range of subjects as and when they want (including topics covering health and safety, personal development, project management and more.) This is Paragon Group’s first step into offering ‘pull’ style learning to staff, and signals a real move into offering a ‘one stop’ shop for staff looking to develop.

To ensure staff engaged with the new look E-hub the L&D team has organised road show events at each of the company’s key locations. As the Paragon’s Senior Relationship Manager, I joined them at their Solihull Branch for the first event.

The event was a great opportunity to hear first-hand what staff thought of the new additions to the platform and the response was overwhelming positive. A few people admitted they only ever used the platform to complete mandatory training but the extra learning available gives them a new reason to check it out.

The L&D team have also set up an initiative that anyone who completes a Learning Heroes course within the first month will be entered into a prize draw. This was deemed a real incentive to try out the courses for the staff that dropped by. The prize draw is a great example of a simple yet effective way to increase engagement with the content and the platform.

The drop-in event lasted 4 hours with laptops set up in the foyer and an email sent around to let staff know that we were there to answer questions. With the added bonus of chocolate for anyone we spoke to the four hours passed quickly with a constant stream of people interested in what we were showing.

If anything, from a Senior Relationships Manger’s point of view, I really saw how a simple explanation from the L&D team about what E-hub offers really changed people’s perceptions of the platform.

Talking to the L&D team they mentioned that staff surveys and feedback had driven the need to add additional resources. Staff had mentioned that additional learning would be useful and a central career area would be of interest. Seeing that action had been taken on the feedback was well received and positive comments included:

‘Looks great and a lot more user friendly’

‘Really like the look of the new areas’

‘There’s so much more on e-hub now’

‘These changes have really created a one-stop shop’

‘I can’t wait to try some of the Learning Hero courses – I have been looking for something like this since I started here’

Paragon launch party introducing Unicorn to the business

It has been great working with the Paragon L&D team and Steph Rufino (Unicorn Project Manager) to launch the Career Area and additional functionality, and I wish Paragon every success in engaging the rest of the business with the initiatives.

As an SRM at Unicorn I always look for opportunities to work with my customers to make enhancements to their platform like this a reality. I truly believe that to drive value through the Unicorn LMS you have to look at how your staff engage with what is on offer and not be afraid to highlight tools and support that’s available within your business.

Engaging staff in their own development and offering tools to support this always gets positive feedback and there are really easy ways to achieve this with the LMS.

What is gamification and when is it appropriate?

In this new blog series, we will be examining the use of gamification for eLearning.  Gamification it is rapidly becoming commonplace due to our advancing IT infrastructure, the effectiveness of game design, and shifting cultural perceptions as games become mainstream.

Indeed, many large companies such as Cisco, Samsung, Deloitte, Google, Domino’s and Microsoft are already using gamification for training or business needs:

Gamification - why is it appropriate? Graph with blue and orange bars

 

What is gamification?

Gamification refers to the application of elements and techniques found in entertainment games to enhance a non-game’s content or delivery thereof. It doesn’t mean you are making a game – simply that you are borrowing underlying mechanics or psychology from game design.

A simple example of gamification would be the incorporation of a progress bar into a questionnaire or eLearning course. Since they give immediate and visual feedback, they can be used to encourage completion by leveraging positive reinforcement, and our learned drive to see things in a 100% state.

Top view of smiling woman completing gamified online learning on her laptop

Finding the right tool for the job

Gamification is all about taking and using the best tools that games have at their disposal – but individual tools have a specific purpose and function, they are not to be used universally as a panacea.

This means you won’t always use everything in your gamification toolkit. There will be instances where a leaderboard (social interaction and competitive drive) is not the correct approach, but points-levelling (positive reinforcement) and daily challenges (short-term retention) might be, because they give different benefits that address different problems.

Adding gamification to a solution may be detrimental if it’s not fulfilling a specific purpose, as you will be incurring additional development costs and distracting from the content rather than enhancing it.

Image showing a businessman using a mobile device for gamified learning

What are the benefits?

The most observable benefits of gamification can be considered:

  • Clarity – games frequently employ modern user interface design, which presents information in a digestible format that is intuitively accessible. Many games will present their tutorials in textless images for example.
  • Engagement – games can immerse and seize attention, enticing participation. Through the same means they can evoke compulsion for increased reuse or retention, often using advancement or progression systems that positively reinforce the user.
  • Enjoyment – games are all about fun, but not all their fun derives from play. The design and feel of many supporting systems or the levity of an experience provide a fun factor. Simple examples would entail the use of colour, sound and interactive interface elements.
  • Influence – games can have a powerful social element. A number of experiences leverage this reach to impact wider networks or reinforce a target community’s uptake. Popular ‘self-help’ sites encourage users to provide answers to one another and to award a virtual currency to helpful users. Although the currency is worthless, it acts as a powerful status symbol, encouraging interaction within the community and users to help one another.

You should carefully consider whether the solution really needs gamification, or in what form. It might be that a Serious Game or Simulation might be preferable if you require a more thoroughly compelling or experiential answer.

Gamification – the application of game elements. For example, progress bar, badges, competition.

Serious Games – game for training, education or awareness. For example, The Oregon Trail, America’s Army.

Simulation – true to life reproduction for experiential training. For example, flight and medical simulators

As an eLearning example, mandatory training does not need to compel learners to participate or reach out to their colleagues – they already have to complete it – but perhaps making dry content more enjoyable or improving the clarity of dense information would lend to a better learning experience.

Team collaborating on their learning and using technology

Game over

The most important thing to remember is that gamification is a toolkit for addressing specific solution needs as listed previously, distinct as an approach from Serious Games and Simulations.

Following this brief introduction to the subject, future entries will explore specific examples of applying gamification to a solution, discuss the merits of gamifying learning in greater depth and give you some top tips when designing with gamification in mind. We may also see similar introductions to Serious Games and Simulations as their own topic.

Highlights from today’s Cyber Awareness webinar

Your people are the most effective line of defence when it comes to Cyber Security. It’s a message that has been passionately expounded by cyber security experts for many years, but it has taken the recent hike in the profile of cybercrime for people start to really start listening.

Today’s webinar was a chance to gain a little insight into the topics of cybercrime and cyber awareness from two seasoned professionals with a wealth of first-hand experience. Nick Wilding leads the Cyber Resilience Best Practice division of AXELOS GBP – a joint venture between the UK Cabinet Office and Capita; and Vicki Gavin is Compliance Director and Head of Business Continuity, Information Security and Data Privacy at The Economist Group.

At Unicorn we are fortunate to count AXELOS among our strategic partners, and have worked closely with them to develop and continually improve RESILIA – an integrated best practice portfolio designed to put people at the centre of an organisation’s cyber resilience strategy. Ahead of the imminent relaunch of this suite, Nick and Vicki took some time to lend context to the need for cyber awareness training.

This morning’s webinar kicked off with a roundup of the latest statistics relating to cyber attacks:

Screen grab from AXELOS cyber awareness webinar showing recent hack statistics

“One thing’s for sure”, said Nick Wilding, “looking at the stats, it’s clear that at some point you will be breached.” The frequency and nature of these attacks are such that it’s easy to see where he’s coming from: over the past year alone we’ve seen everything from repeated attacks on the SWIFT network, to the sustained efforts of Russian hacking group Fancy Bear in their attempts to upset the US electoral process.

“To be honest, it’s easy to see why people end up with ‘security fatigue’, said Vicki Gavin. “We’re incessantly bombarded with frightening statistics to the point that sometimes these headlines end up just having the opposite effect. For me personally, I’ve found a way to leverage this kind of information, and the key is making it specific and relevant to the activities of your own organisation.”

Screen grab from AXELOS cyber awareness webinar showing a statistics board

“If we accept that people are our best line of defence”, continued Nick, “it’s shocking to think that in a recent study, we found that as many as 45% of organisations don’t do any kind of cyber security training, and of those that do, 81% are relying on mandatory training that is completed once a year or less.”

It’s about technology and people, not just bits and bytes.
– Vicki Gavin, The Economist

One of the anecdotes that AXELOS have come back to time and again is that of Jim Baines – a personal friend of Nick Wilding, and a CEO who has spoken at length about his traumatic experience at the hands of cybercriminals. Nick relayed this story today, and followed it with an extract from one of Baines’ letters that poignantly reminded others that none of us are invulnerable when it comes to falling foul of cybercrime. “Interestingly,” said Vicki, “what we seem to see time and again is the prevalence of this culture of blame. Whenever something happens, businesses are quick to want to assign blame – who’s fault was it? Who clicked on a malicious link? Who opened a phishing email? But when we’ve talked about organisations only offering cyber awareness training once a year, how are people supposed to learn?”

“They say it takes a minimum of three weeks to start developing a new habit,” she continued, “so what we really need is to start embracing this idea of continuous learning.”

When you consider AXELOS’ stats that of the firms supposedly running ‘effective cyber awareness training programmes’, no more than 50% of them had full completion rates, it’s little wonder that learning continues to be a barrier to resilience.

Screen grab from AXELOS cyber awareness webinar showing coloured panels about training

“In the simplest of terms, where it comes to awareness there’s too much stick and not enough carrot,” says Nick. “At the heart of it, people sometimes forget that cyber is an interesting topic – so engagement ought not to be something that’s seen as tedious.”

“The problem is often that people think just because someone is a cyber expert, that that automatically means they will be a good trainer”, asserted Vicki – followed by another acknowledgement that in order to achieve real engagement, it’s critical to make learning relevant to your target audience. Sharing her experiences of responding to attempted cyber-attacks mounted on The Economist in the past twelve months, Vicki pointed out that this is now becoming the norm for businesses operating in the digital age.

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer, you will find at least two human errors, one of which is the error of blaming it on the computer. – Tom Gilb, US Systems Engineer

“I can tell you we’ve had 360 cyber events in the last year, of which 60 we might categorise as ‘incidents’, and 3 that were escalated to crises,” she said. “In the latter part of last year, we had a breach when an individual unwittingly gave away their user credentials by clicking on a link in a phishing email. Although the hackers then used this breach to send a further email to everyone in the business, of the 1400 people we have working for The Economist Group globally, only 50 people actually opened this email, and no one else clicked on anything. In summary, we had the whole thing contained in under 3 minutes. This is exactly the kind of compelling event that shows the true value of cyber awareness training to our board.”

Speaking about the need to promote awareness learning that really works to change behaviours across businesses, Nick said: “What we come back to time and again is this theme of storytelling –  making training relevant and relatable. Don’t just tell people what the policy is, help them to make that relevant, and to interpret and understand what you want them to do in order to support it. What we see instead is lots of ‘don’t do this, don’t do that’ – but what about the why?”

Screen grab from AXELOS cyber awareness webinar showing new RESILIA content

“Through our partnership with Unicorn, we have moved beyond the model of once a year training,” he continued. “We have built creative, innovative, engaging learning to help businesses design and implement effective training programmes for their organisations. The RESILIA suite gives you the power to build an adaptive, efficient programme of learning, utilising diagnostic tools to test current knowledge and then deliver only relevant content to address areas of weakness. The content is a mixture of online videos; refresher snippets and tests; games and animations – and in its variety is sympathetic to the notion that people learn in different ways.”

RESILIA is designed for businesses of all sizes to help them on the journey of developing a culture that recognises the need to keep abreast of the threats posed by cybercrime. As both Nick and Vicki explained today, a business is only as resilient as its people – something that unavoidably echoes the old adage about a chain being only as strong as its weakest link. “Critically, we want to get people talking about this stuff,” said Nick. “The more that people talk about it, the more resistant they become.”

If you want to find out more about RESILIA Cyber Awareness Learning – or book a demo – you can do so here.

Technology in the workplace: How learning experiences are changing

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?

Young millennials using smart devices to check information

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.

Young businesswoman contemplating learning at her desk with a range of technology and devices around her

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.

Collaboration between two colleagues at a desk using mobile, a laptop and a tablet device to show blended learning

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.

If you would like to understand how Unicorn Training can help with meeting your learning and development needs, get in touch! Call us on 0800 055 6586, drop us an email, or why not tweet us?

Cyber Security: ‘A Tale of Two Banks’

This week, Emma Dunkley of the Financial Times published an amusingly titled yet insightful piece on the recent cyberattacks levelled at two major high street banks. Not to be misled by the lighthearted headline of the article, her account provided another chilling glimpse into the reality of what major banks and consumer organisations now face on almost a daily basis when it comes to protecting their data.

People working at computers in a bank

“The recent attacks on Lloyd’s Banking Group and Tesco Bank revealed the evolving techniques used by cybercriminals to expose financial institutions’ vulnerabilities”, she wrote, as she sought to explain the wider implications of what had happened. “The threat of cyber assaults is increasing. As banks roll out more digital services, and as more customers use technology to handle their money, cyber criminals have a greater number of entry points through which to access systems and customer data.”

What happened?

On January 11th, Lloyds was hit by what is commonly known as a ‘denial of service’ attack, where hackers hijacked several of the bank’s servers and flooded their website with large amounts of traffic designed to cripple online services. Upon discovering that they could not gain access to online banking, many customers took to social media to vent their frustration, as Lloyds deployed a series of counter-measures designed to isolate the attacks and limit the damage caused.

Although large banks are typically targeted by denial of service attacks around once a month, the Lloyds incident was particularly severe – with this attack lasting far longer than the usual few hours.

“Denial of service attacks are happening 24/7 globally,” says Philip Halford, a senior adviser at financial services consultancy Bovill. “There are multiple perpetrators, often targeting the same trophy targets. They share the common objective to breach a control system sufficiently to allow or deny legitimate users access to it. The motivation can vary from criminal intent to mere bragging rights. The effect, however, can be crippling for organisations.”

Compared to the Tesco Bank fraud that took place in November last year, the Lloyds attack was relatively mild, with no customer data or money having been stolen. It is reported that the hackers behind the attack demanded a £75,000 bitcoin ransom, although it is unclear whether Lloyds bowed to this request.

Stressed businesswoman sitting at desk in office

Tesco Bank was not so lucky. Last year’s assault led to nearly £2.5m worth of payouts to 9000 customers who had money stolen by cyber criminals. This time, the data breach was facilitated by a weakness in one of Tesco’s mobile banking apps, which was exploited to access personal information connected to thousands of current and savings accounts. Thankfully Tesco Bank acted quickly to reimburse customers, but the incident still represents a significant and worrying reality of the risks posed by hackers.

What the attacks on Lloyds & Tesco Bank tell us about how online crime is evolving

Over the past twelve months, news of major cyberattacks has become increasingly commonplace –  with 2016 seeing more sophisticated assaults than ever before.

Cyber crime is on the rise, with attackers developing increasingly sophisticated hacking techniques to break through organisations’ defences. It is one of the biggest risks to global banking, threatening to cripple lenders and defraud customers.

As the Financial Times rightfully put it, “the stakes are high”. When we consider the reputation of the UK banking sector amongst its customers, trust is a critical factor, and information security plays a huge role in this. Not only must banks consider their reputation in this matter, but also the potentially significant fines and sanctions imposed by financial regulators where institutions are seen to have failed in their obligation to protect customer information and assets.

Under the UK Data Protection Act, banks can currently be hit with a penalty of up to £500,000, but an EU directive that comes into force in May 2018 will mean companies can be fined up to 4 per cent of their global revenues for serious data breaches.

As we move into an increasingly tech-dependent world, banks and other organisations alike have an ongoing responsibility to stay ahead of the threats posed by cybercriminals – and as we so often hear, this isn’t just down to software.

Hexagon grid with social engineering keywords like phishing and tailgating with a elite hacker in suit background

Education also plays a huge part in cyber resilience, and equipping staff with the right knowledge can mitigate risk on a truly massive scale. We know that as much as 90% of all cyberattacks are mounted as a direct result of the unwitting action of a member of staff – whether that’s clicking on a phishing email, or falling foul of social engineering. Never before has it been so important to place cyber resilience at the top of your business agenda.

***

Interested in better understanding the implications of increased cybercrime for your business? Join our free webinar in partnership with AXELOS GBP and featuring Vicki Gavin of the Economist Group, as we explore the most effective ways to safeguard against cyberattacks. Join the webinar and explore more here.

For the full original FT article, click here

The Learning Ecosphere Explained

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, it’s likely that you’ll have come across the ‘Learning Ecosphere’ in some capacity. Launched at last month’s Learning Technologies show, this brand new concept seeks to reimagine the relationship between traditional and new learning methods – and offers businesses the chance to better understand how they can embrace both in order to strengthen their overall learning strategies.

Here, Mark Jones – Commercial Director of Unicorn – gives a brief overview of the Learning Ecosphere concept:

Don’t forget, you can still get your free copy of the Learning Ecosphere Whitepaper here.