And before you know it, here we are again! We’ve been coming to Learning Technologies for long enough to have true veteran status but we’ve never had a show quite like this!
This year, we’re delighted to have used LT as an opportunity to launch our latest concept – the Learning Ecosphere.
As you may have seen if you’ve come across our press releases or recent blogs, the Learning Ecosphere is a concept that reimagines the dichotomy of traditional, ‘enterprise focused’ learning, and new, device-based ‘learner focused’ methods. Rather than seeing the two as mutually exclusive, or indeed in conflict, the Learning Ecosphere can help businesses reconcile the new possibilities presented by modern technology with existing LMS and classroom based methods.
We knew the Ecosphere concept would be hard to miss at the show – after all, we have a 3metre version of it across the side of our stand! But the appetite for a service provider who genuinely understands both sides of the coin (or as we’ve put it, both sides of the ecosphere!) is possibly more profound than even we anticipated. By the end of day 1 we were very nearly out of hard copies of our free whitepaper, and had welcomed nearly 500 people to play our latest app, QuizCom. Naturally, the fact that we had two enthusiastic quiz hosts dressed head-to-toe in orange – as well as fluffy Unicorns as prizes – might have had something to do with the sheer number of players, but we’re not complaining!
In fact, one of the highlights of the day was definitely awarding the Unicorn prizes to our top scoring players!
Keep an eye out as we live blog from Day 2 of the Learning Technologies conference, as well as lift the lid on all this year’s core learning trends. Follow us on Twitter for more event insight: @unicorntraining
If you’re remotely connected to L&D, this is shaping up to be a pretty big week! Learning Technologies returns to Kensington Olympia across Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd February – bringing together over 7000 visitors all keen to get their hands on the latest in education tech. From tomorrow, we’ll be joining over 200 of our contemporaries from across the learning industry as we exhibit at this year’s show. If you’re swinging by, here are the top 5 things you can look forward to:
- Get your hands on the free ‘Learning Ecosphere’ whitepaper.
Discover how learning technologies can smooth the dichotomy between traditional and modern learning with the Unicorn Learning Ecosphere – the subject of our whitepaper launching at the show.
The underlying need for an enterprise to define, manage and report on the competence of its staff has not changed. Environmental, safety and other regulatory demands on organisations are here to stay, while data security requirements are greater than ever.
But how does this fit with such concepts as social learning, collaboration and BYOD? How do we dip our toes into this fast flowing stream of opportunity in a way that is effective, relevant and affordable, and consistent with the practical day to day demands on our time, budgets and resources? What tools should we be using? What are the implications for e-learning design?
Pick up your free copy at stand P14.
- If you need a little persuasion, go and see our very own Mark Jones giving you an overview at one of his two free seminars
12:30-13:00 on both Wednesday and Thursday, Theatre 8. Where are you in the Learning Ecosphere?
Mark will seek to explore some of the issues facing businesses wishing to explore new learning methods. We’ve all heard the buzzwords and seen a flurry of new micro learning and learning Apps, but how do we really go about introducing effective ‘learning reinforcement’ – and where do we start? In a world where learning is changing, and we’re increasingly urged to explore new training formats, how do we ensure that we’re doing is going to work?
Join Mark to find out more, as well as discover our brand new mobile reinforcement app, Minds-i.
- Come and have a go at QuizCom and you could win a Unicorn!
Yep, you read that right – come and try your hand at our giant swipe game and you could be the proud owner of your very own Unicorn. Our enthusiastic quiz hosts will be tough not to spot, as they’ll be sporting bright orange blazers and encouraging you to try your luck with our latest game. Loaded with questions covering everything from learning trends to star wars trivia, this is the perfect way to trial a brand new product from Unicorn aimed at getting your staff engaged whilst challenging them to prove their knowledge in a topic of your choice.
Winners announced at 4pm each day, plus bonus prizes for two players picked at random!
- Check out Mike Hawkyard giving you a little insight into learning games and apps in corporate learning.
15:30-16:00 on Thursday, Theatre 8: Learning games and engagement.
We’ve all heard 101 talks lately about ‘gamification’, but this isn’t one of those talks. Mike is the Managing Director of an award winning games studio who have produced apps played more than two billion times in the last three years.
In recent months, Amuzo have been training people how to fly Star Wars™ Drones and encouraging children to build LEGO® models to rescue LEGO® Mini Figures trapped on erupting volcanoes. Join Mike for a session that will look at:
- How the technology and best practice used in these exciting projects is identical to that being used in work for companies like KPMG and the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)
- How to explore the possibilities of learning games for your business
- Experiencing Amuzo’s latest product to engage staff with corporate communications; QuizCom
- …And you might even win a prize or two!
- Finally, if you’re at the conference, go and see Richard Owen from the CII talk about their learning journey.
15:30-16:40 on Thursday, Conference Theatre T5S6: Organisational learning – Creating better learning outcomes for the learner and the business.
Richard Owen – Product Manager at the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) – lifts the lid on how the CII have approached their corporate learning. He looks at the value of online learning for the learner and the business alike, and shares experiences of the challenges that the CII has faced in creating better user experience despite a highly regulated, compliance driven context. From topic-specific pathways, powerful diagnostic tools and a more intuitive interface, discover how the CII has trebled its uptake of its content within just 12 months with a little help from us!
We’ll be live blogging from LT, as well as tweeting from @unicorntraining. Don’t forget to stop by and see us at stand P14 across the event, as well as take some time to relax in the Unicorn café!
We’re just a few days away from eLearning guru, Craig Weiss, revealing his much-anticipated Top 50 LMS Report for 2017, and yep, there are a few nerves kicking in.
In 2016 our LMS topped Craig’s rankings for the world’s top system for the financial sector for the second year running and was fourth overall across all sectors, so we’re super excited to find out if our hard work over the past 12 months can make it an FS table topping hat-trick and see our LMS move up in the overall rankings again.
With this on our minds, it made us ponder just how eventful 2016 had been for Unicorn, and what standards we set ourselves to live up to this year. Not only were we so happy about Craig’s ranking but there were plenty of awards to celebrate too.
Our games arm Amuzo had their industry-leading genius recognised with gold in the Creative Digital Impact category at the Dorset Business Awards while their Playmobil Police Chase game won the 2016 TOMMI Award for Best Kids’ App!
The TOMMI is the children’s software award of Germany. Every year since 2002 the TOMMI Prize has been awarded at the Frankfurt Book Fair to the most innovative and outstanding software title developed specifically for children, showing Amuzo are appreciated far beyond these shores too. Pretty cool huh?
Then there was the awesome success of our partners, FSTP, who were named winners of the Most Effective Training Firm at the Compliance Register Awards.
FSTP work closely with us on developing all of our Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) content, and their knowledge and experience proved invaluable in the build up and throughout 2016 as many of our clients grappled with the new Senior Managers’ Regime and Certification amongst other complex mandatory topics.
We were also delighted to scoop a bronze at the eLearning Awards with Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank for the platform implementation that has introduced MyLearning, and changed the way the whole organisation approaches L&D.
With our partners at Credit Suisse, who joined us for the evening, also taking home a silver in the Learning Technologies Team of the Year category it topped a pretty successful 2016 for us Unicorns.
The bar has been set pretty high for 2017 now, but hopefully Craig’s report will help us kick off the year as we mean to go on. Get crossing everything!
The biggest event in the L&D calendar is just around the corner, and we’re delighted to say we’ll be back for another year at Learning Technologies! This year’s show will run across the 1st and 2nd February at Kensington Olympia, and is set to welcome more than 7000 visitors from across a huge range of industry sectors.
As well as being joined by our partners from Amuzo for an extra focus on innovation in the games and app space, this year’s show will focus on the launch of our revolutionary new concept – the Learning Ecosphere.
The explosion in digital and social technologies holds great promise for L&D professionals, and our community is rightly excited by the potential of collaborative learning, point-of-need performance support, serious games and even augmented reality.
But amid the hype, the task of identifying the truly worthwhile from the hot air, and determining how these opportunities fit with the learning strategy for your business has arguably never been more perplexing.
How do you identify what is relevant, affordable and good value, in the context of the practical day to day demands on your time, budgets and resources?
The Unicorn ‘Learning Ecosphere’ reimagines learning in the context of Enterprise-focused ‘Push / I must learn’ and learner-focused ‘Pull / I want to learn’. It offers interpretations of how a firm’s learning strategy does not have to sit on one side or the other, rather seeing the possibilities for utilising different technologies to create a better blend and balance in an overall learning approach.
The free ‘Learning Ecosphere’ white paper can be picked up from stand P14 on both days of the Learning Technologies exhibition.
There will even be the chance to win a giant Unicorn (yes you did read that right!) by having a go at Unicorn’s new app-based game, Quizcom. This gamified application allows firms to manage their own question banks to create quizzes and push them to individuals or groups of learners. Who doesn’t need a giant Unicorn in their life?
Register for free entry to the Learning Technologies and Learning and Skills 2017 exhibitions and seminars at www.learningtechnologies.co.uk
What a week it’s been! We know we’re well and truly into the festive season now that it’s acceptable to have Christmas trees up and Mariah is blasting out on every radio station. But aside from all the usual connotations, the arrival of December also wraps up what’s been an excellent and eventful awards season in the learning world.
Wednesday evening saw the return of the annual Gala Dinner and presentation ceremony for the Learning Technologies Awards – with the Park Plaza Hotel in Westminster welcoming over 800 of the industry’s elite for a night of revelry. Having already enjoyed an incredible win for Amuzo at the Dorset Business Awards last week – taking gold in the Creative Digital Impact category – we had our fingers crossed for the night ahead.
Having been welcomed to the evening by Donald Taylor, it was esteemed comediennes Katherine Ryan and Deborah Frances-White who got the night well and truly underway.
In fact, if you want to see what happened when they took something of a shine to our Business Development Manager Alex, look no further than this YouTube video.
With some seriously stiff competition across both the categories we were shortlisted for, there were no golds for us this year. However, we were delighted to scoop a bronze with Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank for the platform implementation that has introduced MyLearning, and changed the way the whole organisation approaches learning and development.
We were also incredibly proud of our partners over at Credit Suisse who joined us for the evening as they took home a silver in the Learning Technologies Team of the Year category.
Success for Unicorn Partners at the Compliance Register Awards
As if one night of celebrations wasn’t enough, last night the team joined our partners at FSTP for the Compliance Register Awards. Testament to their hard work and incredible support for all the businesses they work with, FSTP were named winners of the Most Effective Training Firm category.
All in all it’s been quite a week for the group – as well as our partners and friends! We would like to extend our thanks to both the awards panels, and our wonderful team and clients who make our success possible. Here’s to 2017 and everything we’ve got in the pipeline!
Newsflash – learning is changing. But what are the benefits and pitfalls of creating bespoke learning in this landscape? Chris Tedd, Strategic Head of Content at Unicorn, and Unicorn CEO, Peter Phillips, enlightened us!
So how has learning changed?
Here’s a good quote…”The future has already arrived, it’s just not evenly distributed” (William Gibson). What does that mean in relation to learning? That the explosion in digital and social technologies make EVERYTHING possible in learning. It’s just understanding what’s relevant, how we can best use which technology to deliver what and how that’s the tricky bit.
You’ve only got to look at a timeline of when the things we take for granted, like Google, Facebook, WhatsApp etc, arrived to grasp just how rapid the exponential growth in digital technologies has been over the past 20 years. Moore’s Law they call it (Google it), but it now means user experience (UE) directly translates into learner experience and the language the highest level decision makers and CEOs use naturally today is the language of UE.
What does that look like then?
A user interface is like a joke, if you have to explain it it’s not very good. eLearning hasn’t always done a very good job of this.
We live in a world of mobile everything. Pull down to refresh, pinch zoom, swipe across – these gestures are used everywhere, to the extent that they are taking on cultural significance. It’s second nature to use these gestures so should we incorporate them into learning? If we use them, it is undoubtedly an advantage in design. If we don’t, the learning is less intuitive and enjoyable to today’s audience and people are less likely to use it.
Our day’s are made up of ‘mobile moments’ – interactive touchpoints where you use a handheld device to access apps, internet, maps, social media, games, whatever. With the fact almost half of the workforce is already made up of Millenials – digital natives – learning delivery needs addressing now.
How do we achieve behavioural change?
The $64,000 question. What simple technicques do we use to transform a campaign of learning?
Robert A Bjork’s concept of ‘desirable difficulties’ is a good starting point – you want to slow down learning (by introducing variability, spacing, testing, reducing feedback to learner) to help long term retention. You don’t want learning itself to be too easy.
The ‘forgetting curve’ tells us if we don’t use something we’ve learned within an hour, 50% of it is lost. By day 2, it’s 70%. Could breaking content into campaigns of learning to do at different times overcome this? What about using a diagnostic approach where long term learning is tested, followed up with targeted learning, and another test, to satisfy competency before following up with periodical learning (videos, podcasts, PDFs, whatever bitesize activity it might be) to top up/reinforce knowledge?
Achieving behavioural change requires the following to the taken into account when deciding content approach….
- What is the behaviour trying to change? Is it reasonable to affect change?
- What’s the audience – roles? Time to access learning? Educational level? Language? Experience of subject matter? Experience of doing this type of learning? Attitude towards learning? Motivation to learn?
- Subject matter – is it being taught now, if so how is it taught, how long does it last, how well is it received, is content mature (been in business while and refined or new content)? Are SMEs available to the project as part of project team or do they need to be called from outside?
- Is it detailed?
- Is it volatile? Is there going to be change over time, for example, if content changes every 3 months don’t use video, but if a longer term message from the CEO etc then video maybe a good content option.
- Delivery environemt – where (not going to do 30min eLearning course on mobile), when will they be doing it, what device will they be using, BYOD (not universal at moment), tracking, hosting (just on LMS or elsewhere eg another CMS)?
How do games and simulations fit into this?
The old learning by doing. Games appeal to some of the most basic elements of the human psyche – we like to complete things, we like to think we’re getting something for nothing, we like to be rewarded, we’re quite happy to keep doing effectively the same thing to achieve all of the above!
Chris showed demonstrations as to how Unicorn’s eCreator authoring tool had been used to create Riskford Manor, an immersive interactive ‘game’ for wannabe insurance brokers to explore, ask questions and test themselves in a ‘real life’ risk assessment situation at a fictional hotel.
Peter then showed some examples of whole business simulations Unicorn has created in airport development and portfolios of risk in commercial property decisions.
The difference between games and business simulations? Short, sharp games are looking to teach one or two things and make it stick, whereas simulations are about holistic nature of business.
But while the set of learning objectives maybe different, the principles of learning by doing are the same.
Here at Unicorn HQ we have a favourite quote: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Originally attributed to Benjamin Franklin, it’s not just a tag line, it’s become something of a mantra to live by…
In the rapidly changing world of digital technology, we’ve got smart-device overload. Nowadays, the possibilities for deploying learning are just about endless, as people’s unrestricted access to the latest tech means almost complete ubiquity of smart phones, tablets and portable computers. Whilst this fact presents new and exciting possibilities for changing the ways we deliver and consume learning, the basic principles that underpin the learning experience remain for the most part unchanged. What Mr Franklin aptly hit upon in his quote of which we are so fond is the idea that in order to catalyse real behavioural (or ‘real life’) change, the learning experience must be both memorable and immersive.
Enhancing knowledge retention and designing learning interventions that reinforce and give practical context goes beyond simply making courses compatible with the latest operating systems, devices and browsers. Instead, we need to go deeper into the psychological process that underpins learning and shift our understanding of the learning problem from a simple question of delivery to something more fundamental.
The Psychology Bit
Taking into account the brain’s capacity to absorb, retain and actively recall information, the challenge we consistently face is to find ways to deliver learning that percolates beyond the superficial layers of a person’s memory and taps into the longer term psyche. We know with the move away from traditional, PC-based linear training towards something more dynamic, that learning requirements are changing. Rather than ‘box-ticking’, organisations increasingly recognise the need to deliver learning that goes deeper to yield real behavioural change.
In order to achieve this, learning solutions must tailor educational experiences to navigate the potential pitfalls of the learning process without causing cognitive overload, or allowing learners to simply forget what they have been taught. In order to achieve this, it’s important to deliver learning experiences in digestible chunks, with follow-up and reinforcement that means learners are then encouraged to use and consolidate the learning soon after the original intervention. In the context of compliance training, this approach begins to reposition learning not simply as an annual necessity, but rather as something embedded in the regular activities of learners.
Getting Ahead of the Curve
Here at Unicorn, we believe that one such way to deliver learning that sticks is through the use of mobile Apps.
The average iPhone user unlocks their phone an average of 80 times per day. -Business Insider
Portable technology is increasingly synonymous with modern life – presenting a unique opportunity to deploy learning content straight to a user’s pocket wherever they may be. By understanding these ‘mobile moments’, we have the opportunity to form the framework for including mobile applications into wider learning strategy. Rather than looking to deploy full learning content to mobile, a more effective proposition is to focus Apps on learning reinforcement using microbites of engaging content – short videos, polls, quizzes, check-lists – with simple gamification elements, nudges and prompts to encourage regular revisits.
Apps then become a key element in a blended solution. Whilst a person might still be expected to complete a mandatory 30-minute course on a particular subject, the added functionality of an App means that we’re now able to add in extra layers to the learning experience.
When we start to reimagine learning as non-linear, we open up opportunities to draw in other psychological principles: whether the challenge and reward balance; social collaboration and knowledge sharing, or ‘just in time’ content that gives users the ability to reference bitesized supplementary learning content for reference in everyday situations. As products of modern society, we are already part-programmed to rely on Apps and other forms of mobile interactions in our day-to-day lives –social networking, news, or even the simple use of a fitness or alarm App. If learning and development professionals can leverage mobile technology as a powerful additional channel through which to deliver timely, relevant learning content, then we are already going some way towards combatting the forgetting curve and making sure that learning sticks.
Our partnership with world class games studio, Amuzo, means that we are already seeing the benefits of extrapolating the ‘sticky’ elements of game and app design into wider learning programmes. Once the underpinning psychological principles involved in gaming are understood, the potential for the scope and context of their application is limitless. Read more about apps in learning here.
We can’t quite believe it’s been nearly four months since our last Client Forum, but we’re delighted to announce that we’ll be back this October for another one!
Having run these events bi-annually for the past four years, we’ve learnt a fair bit about what makes a successful forum, and we’re very much looking forward to welcoming both old and new faces to this next exclusive date.
The Autumn Forum is a unique opportunity to explore our solutions in more depth, and learn how other HR, L&D and Risk Management professionals across a number of sectors are leveraging digital technology to solve their learning challenges.
With a rage of sessions covering platform functionality, content and industry discussion, the day aims to showcase real client case studies – giving attendees an insight into practical ways to approach their company learning. Instead of offering the kind of lofty general discussion that we often see from learning and development events, the Autumn Forum aims to demystify some of the industry’s latest ‘buzzwords’, and offer delegates practical insight into how to start incorporating new trends into their own L&D journeys.
This Autumn, the Unicorn Client Forum will take place on Tuesday 4th October in the heart of Canary Wharf, and will be brought to you in partnership with our apps studio, Amuzo. The day will be split into main room welcome and keynote sessions, and registration-only breakouts that will give attendees access to specialist slots run by our experts.
More information coming soon. If you have a specific query relating to the Unicorn Forum, please contact your Relationship Manager, or the Unicorn Marketing Department. This is an invite-only event.
Unicorn first invested in Bournemouth-based Amuzo last December and the partnership’s potential has proved so positive in its first six months that Amuzo has now officially become part of the Unicorn Training Group.
Together Unicorn and Amuzo are developing and publishing learning games that engage and immerse ‘players’ along with Apps to meet employer and employee demand for Just-In-Time and reinforcement spaced learning outside of the more traditional desktop environment.
Peter Phillips, Unicorn CEO, said: “This partnership is about allying the creativity of a great casual games company with the instructional design expertise of Unicorn to hit the sweet spot where the power of games can make learning more meaningful, practical and effective, and fun too.
“Equally important, Amuzo have in-depth expertise in publishing Apps to mobile platforms for global audiences, a skillset not yet embedded in the desktop-oriented world of corporate eLearning. Amuzo’s LEGO® games, for example, are played on a range of different devices and in different languages in over 100 countries worldwide.
“That knowhow and level of experience would take years to build from scratch in the eLearning world, and yet flexible, mobile learning solutions that can be made available to many thousands of people at the same time is what employers and learners want now.”
Mike Hawkyard, Amuzo MD, said: “We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with Unicorn through this new investment. Unicorn bring scale and financial strength and open up a new revenue stream for Amuzo while enabling us to continue to grow our core business of creating great games.
“With games and gamification the fastest growth areas in learning and development, adding proven world class games development to its core business helps Unicorn meet this demand with uniquely creative and effective solutions.”
The past 12 months have been record breakers for Unicorn, with sales topping £6m for the first time while Unicorn’s learning and performance platform, SkillsServe was ranked the World’s top LMS for financial services for the second year running. Unicorn has been creating learning and development and compliance solutions for the UK’s ever-changing financial services for 28 years. This experience, industry expertise and award-winning creativity is unmatched in the financial services sector.
Award-winning Amuzo games have been played well over a billion times in the last two years alone and have reached #1 on the App Store in over 150 countries.
Unicorn have renewed our headline sponsorship of the Learning Technologies Awards in 2016 and we are delighted to be back!
“The Learning Technologies Awards are without doubt the most prestigious and respected in our sector and their continued growth mirrors that of the learning technology industry itself,” said CEO, Peter Phillips.
“Unicorn has seen many ups and downs in our 29 years, but I can’t recall a time when the potential for technology to enhance and transform workplace learning was greater.
“The infrastructure is now here to integrate formal and informal learning, with personalised learning support, learning games, collaborative learning and just in time reinforcement, combined with high quality analytics. Unicorn will be at the forefront of this revolution as will many of our fellow sponsors and the Learning Technologies Award winners.”
Unicorn’s learning solutions are marked by outstanding creativity, reliability and security. Our enterprise LMS, SkillsServe, continues to be ranked global #1 for the financial sector, and sits at the heart of a unique compliance and CPD solution that delivers the highest quality learning to organisations across a range of industries.
Our partnership with multi award-winning games studio Amuzo has also changed the way custom content can be delivered, and has facilitated some of the most original and innovative learning games, Apps and business simulations on the market.
Unicorn has a proud track record at the Learning Technologies Awards – formerly the elearning Awards – winning, amongst other awards, eLearning Designer of the Year (Sam Yates), Outstanding Learning Company, Outstanding Achievement (Henry Phillips) and eLearning Development Company of the Year in the past five years.
With over 25 years’ experience in the L&D space, Unicorn continues to challenge learners and training managers alike to reimagine the corporate learning experience. Find out more about the awards at www.learningtechnologiesawards.co.uk