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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 Spring Client Forum – live blog
Morning all! Welcome everyone to the live updates from our Unicorn Spring Client Day – we will be blogging across the presentations and breakout sessions to bring you all the hot topics and latest discussions all things learning solutions and Unicorn-y. Here’s a taste of what’s in store…
And we’re underway…
Mark Jones welcomes delegates to the Oval.
First up is Laura Hooper providing an introduction to content development.
Laura provides an overview of all the teams that contribute to content development within Unicorn and how many hats they wear.
The creative process involves
- information gathering…who are learners, what are trying to achieve, tech and budget requirements, what trying to achieve
- “If you can’t describe it simply you don’t understand it well enough”- Einstein
Working more and more closely with platform development – crossover.
Pathways use to combine content and platform together in SkillsServe.
Using relevant relatory case studies all linked to leaderboard.
Katrina (Senior Digital Designer) is talking about how hand drawn animations can be used in learning
Here’s an example of the showreel….
Using storyboards to present to clients.
‘Filming’ – take photos of flat images to create film.
Now it’s over the room to try…
Everyone has been given a script….From the floor asking people to brainstorm what ideas could relate to key words from the script. Camera set up to film every 2 secs as delegates come up to the front to replicate their artwork…et voila!
Use a piece of software called Premier to pop images into software so can cut over and narrate over it to produce a short video.
2 minute video – from scripting to day to produce storyboard and 2 days for digital design.
How can you tell if it works? Feedback – short animations people will watch a video up to 6mins, but if know it’s up to that long will stop earlier rather than keep on. Use them at the start of a training module – to get you engaged and interested and also more in refresher based learning.
Learning pathway with all in and might throw something like this out at some point during year to overcome the forgetting curve. Also with compliance more likely to be happy to use a 3min video than the thought of a doing a course. Included as a part of a programme of learning, including in some of our current OTS courses.
Upstairs with Laura now to go through how to create eLearning…
Evaluating needs to teach someone to make tea…
This is Robert the Robot. He doesn’t know how to make tea at the moment. We’re going to teach him. Hopefully.
What key information does Robert the Robot need? For e.g.: Is English first language, refreshing knowledge or learning topic etc.
- What does he already know? Don’t assume knowledge.
- List images / bullet points of what is required.
- How to fill the kettle?
- How to achieve boiling water?
- Where does the water come from?
- When it’s ready?
- Where does the power to fuel the boiling come from? Gas? Electricity
- Brewing time.
Broken down into ‘Required’ and ‘Additional’ info.
How do you handle this info once got it?
Required first and additional learning often dealt with using a menu so they can go off and find out themselves.
- What should the learning cover?
- What are key learning objectives?
- Target audience requirements?
Provide knowledge and then interactive learning – go through the process – and then get feedback at end.
Bringing the learning to life…can be an app, linear eLearning, game etc, drag and drop but telling a story.
SkillsServe Update from Mark Jones
Update from last client day
- New ‘Find learning’ UI and pathway builder
- Diagnostic assessments – massive increase in it compliance teams love it
- SkillsServe app – July next release of update
- Responsive design
Key recent projects
- new improved CPD interface – updated design, filter by CPD status, group activities by development need, single reflective statement for group activities, allocate CPD level
- multi language report – have seen a bit of increase
- activity ratings and feedback – rating content done, prompted to rate on activity completion, provide supporting feedback, view and edit own activity rating via training plan, view all users activity rating in catalogue
- graphical reporting and MI dashboard – it’s here! Charts, select chart type, run diagnostics by team/pathway/individual employee level
What’s coming up next – common theme of UI
- create discussion groups linked to activities
- acesses discussions directly from your training plan
- foster peer to peer collaboration
- edit existing rules as requirements evolve
- refine the overall UI
- Event management enhancements
- T&C and Performance Management enhancements
- Self service system email management – enable/disable email as required. edit and preview text for all system emails
Applying ‘self service’ principles across other areas of features. All updates are and full details on the roadmap are at http://blog.skillsserve.com – updates/functions not turned on by default so speak to your RM if you see something that you think you might like turned on.
Now lunch! See you back here soon…
Game time! With Peter Phillips…
Why the arrival of Gen Y are driving the use of games in learning.
Quick fire games – simple, fast feedback, adaptive, social, leaderboards.
Few months ago Unicorn invested in Amuzo – the use of games is a really important and valuable trend that really can improve learning. Games provide a different way of looking at the world – move along the ‘engagement’ aspect very quickly, instructional designers will go up the ‘learning’ axis.
How do you get into the square where get great learning and great engagement = great learning games.
Peter is now showing 3 examples of learning games have developed with clients and Amuzo and judging where they sit on the engagement/learning matrix.
Simulations – we’ve been building simulations for 25yrs but largely done in classrooms. Now developing some of these online for global markets.
One of things really important about getting best out of games for learning is that learning is the game. The very best games have the game and learning the same thing.
Apps – new SkillServe, ComplianceServe, My Learning Lounge, app/game (induction in style of quickfire short games, leaderboards etc)
Issue of selling game into corp – buyers aren’t Gen Y and sceptical about staff sitting round playing car games but can limit number of times. Being able to play it one or more times a day makes you eager to keep playing as encourage you to keep you coming back and carrying out whatever call to action the games company wants you to do.
Mike Hawkyard (Amuzo MD) on how you would use apps to aid learning.
Using example of using a game to encourage Gen Y to start pension planning – YAWN!!!!!
What’s the simple message?
Taking a huge complicated book and changing it into one core message and make that starting point then drip-feed in rest so everytime play a little bit more learn a bit more (watch this video to get more time to beat your friend), accepting they weren’t going to take it first time and using the addictiveness of games to generate a final call to action / outcome.
Retention is 27% using mobile.
Mobile moments – behaviour is you pull your phone out of pocket 2-3 mins at a time, all the time. Tend not to sit there for 30mins. When sat on bus which app are you going open as so much choice? How you make your app the one are going to open.
Engagement Theory – making them come back again and again and again.
Swipe but don’t make swipes aligned to mouse clicks make it part of the experience. Game involves the device is more engaging – moving things about to keep the momentum going in a ‘mobile moment’.
Team motivation or individual glory?
- individual progress and compare to friends
- ‘clan’ creation – team v team
- mini leagues of strangers
- picking a side
- all contributing to a common cause – no winner
What is best way to deliver this because the minute it doesn’t work is minute it fails.
Points mean prizes?
Complete eLearning, get certificate, hit points totals, random user selection, top players – when is it bad to give a prize? Deadline. Most of these things are doing for fun, shouldn’t be doing it for that reason. Don’t want to create a reward but give people a reason to stop playing it when you’re actually trying to incentivise them so think it through.
No-one wants to start at the beginning – show are learning and getting better is a really powerful motivator.
Add randomness to your learning so people look forward to what they might get when they don’t know what’s coming. The principle behind this is Skinner Boxes. Look it up!
Peter on designing learning games now…
My Learning Lounge – using video content management system to host ‘taster’ videos, quizzes, polls based on this RTE app
Clydesdale Bank case study – content curation
Started project with Unicorn in April 2015. Launched My Learning system in October last year.
Making sure colleagues in business understood wasn’t like for like replacement of previous LMS – much more self development and career/professional development and also going to contain compliance content but at back end of messaging. Wanted it to be about helping them get to their chosen destination and putting the employee in the driving seat.
Engaged employees before launch – regular project updates to give glimpses of what was going to look like, went on roadshow to give people a hands-on experience, great feedback and set on really positive footing for full launch.
Since gone live hosted over 100,000 pieces of content.
Purchased ComplianceServe content in build up to SMR/Accountability in March – being able to customise us meant were able to engage some of stakeholders.
Everything learning orientated movie here so people are used to searching for content etc. Business already creating content – things like assessments, starting to use eCreator, learning pathways and assigning to own people and using managers to drive learning not be centrally driven.
All messaging and strategy has to come through learning so everyone has same consistent voice across the whole business.
Good balance between compliance and self development.
Digitisation business is going to be a massive part of bank’s future success.
And that’s all folks! End of another HUGELY thought provoking client day. Thanks to everyone who made it along, we hope you learned as much as we have and feel as positive about some of the cool stuff coming up that we do.
Safe travels home.
It’s just not cricket…Well, nope it’s not because tomorrow the thwack of leather on willow will be replaced by coos of amazement as the Unicorn Spring Client Day 2016 returns The Kia Oval in Surrey.
We will be live blogging on this very page throughout the day as guest speakers and our own super clever Unicorns will be delivering an insightful day around all things engagement, learning design, content development, apps, games and simulations not to mention updates on what’s new in our learning and development platform, SkillsServe.
So even if you can’t make it we will make sure you don’t feel left out. You will also be able to follow everything on Twitter too at @unicorntraining and #UTGClientForum.
See y’all back here tomorrow from 10am 😉
For their recent report into ‘In-House vs. Third-Party Content: Which Is Best for Your LMS?’ Software Advice, a site that rates learning management platforms, surveyed 150 corporate LMS administrators on their use of third-party versus in-house training materials and found 73% use both. From knowing the industry that stat probably isn’t a huge surprise.
But the report does throw up a few interesting stats that go some way to confirming what until now have largely been anecdotal hunches or common sense conclusions. For example, the Software Advice report confirms video is the most popular format for training content with 82% of those surveyed creating videos in-house, while 85% obtain video from third-party sources.
In-house content is used mainly when training needs to be company-specific, while third-party is most often used for generic or compliance-based training. The majority (+75%) of users believe LMS content is extremely effective for job-specific, technology and compliance training.
The corporate LMS market grew 21% in 2014 highlighting how companies are seeking better ways to train employees. From talking to clients about our SkillsServe online learning and development platform, we know the demand for comprehensive blended learning experiences is greater than ever.
Third Party But Not As We Know It
Increasingly the LMS is seen as only part of a wider learning and HR ecosystem, and the ability for users to have seamless single sign-on, and for systems to exchange data securely and reliably has never been greater.
The growth of TinCan xAPI – a new way for different technologies to ‘talk’ to each other – is expanding the opportunities for third-party integration.
As the TinCan xAPI gathers momentum we will inevitably see more demand for seamless data transfer between LMSs and Learning Record Stores (LRS), or, like with SkillsServe, you can have your TinCan LRS integrated within the platform itself.
Things like e-book readers, digital newspapers and examining bodies will start implementing TinCan, bringing even greater potential to incorporating varied third-party content.
LMS Apps, and tools like mobile CPD, have gone from nice- to-haves to must have features. The potential for Apps is almost limitless, and the development of bite-sized chunks of learning, video clips and modules that can be tackled offline to sync with a main system once online again are all key in creating 24/7 Just-In-Time (JIT) blended learning. When it comes to mobile and native Apps and xAPI, SkillsServe was one of the first LMSs to provide on/off sync when we launched our CPD App in 2013.
Over a quarter of the report respondents that use third-party content said it’s because the training need is basic/generic. The learning doesn’t have to be however, and advances in technologies like TinCan and Apps mean third-party can produce increasingly diverse, role relevant, JIT, effective learning.
In-House Gets Sexy!
Those surveyed by Software Advice who created in-house training content most often say it’s to make the content company-specific (53%). Yet, like with third-party content, massive leaps forward are also being made in the production of in-house content too.
Gone are the days that in-house content has to be dull, flat text, poor quality images, ‘click next’ linear snoozefests. Budgets, and especially in the ever-changing regulatory financial services environment, the need to update content effectively and quickly, has increased the demand for in-built rapid authoring tools.
Increasingly, customers are looking for simple authoring tools to be built into their LMS.
Whether quickly converting a PDF into something more creative, turning a PowerPoint slideshow into an interactive module, or putting some life into a Word doc, our eCreator authoring tool, integrated within SkillsServe, enables the creation of short, highly-engaging and mobile compatible courses.
eCreator allows for the inclusion of video, high-quality animation and graphics and quizzes, and courses can even be created and edited on a tablet. eCreator comes with a full set of standard templates and themes, which can be company-branded or bespoke.
This is all really useful for sharing existing knowledge within a business as it allows you to enhance your existing learning with company-related content such as case studies, updates from key personnel or a video from your CEO. As a result, the return on learning will be far greater.
The Right Blend
We’re big believers that the most effective learning comes through action-based, role relevant training, using case studies and scenarios that challenge the learner to apply knowledge not simply regurgitate facts to pass a test.
But while the report states that “content is ultimately what drives improved performance”, content is only as effective as the way it is used, and that is where learning pathways and programmes come into their own.
On a corporate SkillsServe platform you are likely to see third-party content, in-house content, classroom events, videos and corporate information. The drive for professionalism is also frequently reflected by the addition of professional body exam support and compliance titles, such as those we have created with our partner organisations, such as the CII, CIPS, BBA, CML.
Additionally by partnering with bodies such as leading financial services consulting and training specialists FSTP, we are able to add to SkillsServe’s holistic and integrated content approach with face-to-face training and advanced event management.
With all these assets available in one place, you can create tailored learning pathways to fit the development needs of an individual or a cohort.
For example, you could enhance one of Unicorn’s off-the-shelf compliance training titles with a short video about your company’s processes and policies, a couple of company specific case studies and add an in-house multiple choice quiz.
Learning pathways guide the employee through their career development, incorporating all the elements needed to achieve stated goals. The best employee training programmes pull all this together and deliver it through one user-friendly system, where the complexities of the backend technology is masked by the simplicity of its frontend appeal.
Brian Westfall, Market Research Associate, Software Advice, concluded: “We learned a lot on LMS training content. First, companies should use a mix of in-house and third-party content for maximum effectiveness. Second, short-form video is the best format, and a number of cost-effective tools have made it easier than ever for companies to make their own videos.
“Finally, content should be created in-house for specific, internal company knowledge and that third-party content can fill any remaining generic training gaps. Using these best practices, corporate LMS users should be able to put together effective training courses to engage employees.”
Unicorn partners, YUDU, have published a new white paper highlighting trends in corporate training and the impact of mobile devices in 2015. We have been working with YUDU on App development and are delighted to see the results of their research confirm how the economics of corporate training are shifting.
Mobile App developer YUDU Media’s latest white paper outlines technological trends in the training industry and how this impacts strategic planning for HR and Training professionals.
The paper deals with the economics of an industry which, for the past few years, has experienced double-digit growth year-on-year as companies race to fill skills shortages in new and cost-effective ways.
The main focus of the paper is on mobile devices, and how they are changing the sector. A great deal of attention has been paid to tablets in particular, and how some office environments have been reshaped through schemes like ‘Bring Your Own Device’.
Comparatively little industry attention has been given previously to mobile training and how it can impact internal programs, despite mounting evidence that it can stimulate e-learning progress amongst even older employees.
Another topic covered is the effect new software has on training.
Increasingly sophisticated Learning Management Systems, as well as easily accessible Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have catalyzed a change in how training professionals and HR Directors develop strategies for talent management, skills development and on-boarding.
Richard Stephenson, CEO of YUDU comments: “Training Managers who are already working on their mobile strategies know that mobile delivery can really enhance their training courses.
“Our research proves that delivery of mobile training can benefit e-learning throughout an organization and the aim of this white paper is to support this some of the strategies being developed in this area.”
The paper also provides some ideas, based on YUDU’s experience in developing enterprise applications for blue-chip clients, as to how enterprising HR and Training professionals can leverage these devices to provide better returns.
To download the white paper, click on this link and follow the instructions.
Peter Phillips, Unicorn CEO, believes leading global eLearning analyst and consultant Craig Weiss “has a great record for spotting trends” as he reacted to Unicorn’s learning and performance platform, SkillsServe, being ranked fifth overall and number one for financial services in Weiss’ 2015 Top 50 Global LMSs Report.
The annual report is viewed as the best authoritative and independent guide for global LMS vendors.
A review of 645 systems was conducted and whittled down to the top 50 based on various factors and analysis including on features, design, vertical reach, support/service, future thinking approach and processes.
The report, published on Saturday (24 January), saw SkillsServe move up from number eight in the 2014 Mid-Year Rankings Report to number five overall, while holding its position as the top system globally for financial services.
Weiss identified four ‘What’s Hot’ trends for 2015 in the report around Mobile, Gamification, Predicative Analysis and Integrations.
Peter admits he was delighted to see how closely those trends reflect Unicorn’s own views and 2015 development roadmap.
He said: “When it comes to mobile and native Apps, on-off sync and xAPI, SkillsServe was one of the first LMSs to provide on/off sync when we launched the CPD App in 2013. As Craig reports, this has changed from a nice to have to a must have feature, and Unicorn will be launching our exciting new SkillsServe App this spring.
“What Craig refers to as Predicative Analysis and Adaptive Learning is a core feature of Unicorn solutions. From the hugely successful Gap Fill tool that met the RDR needs of over 80% of the UK financial advisors in 2012, to our competence and role-based content mapping and diagnostic tools, SkillsServe excels at providing personalised learning paths to optimise learning effectiveness.”
On the subject of gamification, Peter insisted that while it was a much misused term there is no doubt adapting game principles to learning is the hottest topic of 2015.
He continued: “We believe it’s possible to make even the most unpromising compliance learning engaging, and even fun, which is why we invested recently in chart-topping game studio, Amuzo, and why our friends at Growth Engineering, the gurus of platform gamification, are a worthy number one in Craig’s rankings.
“Meanwhile we are fully in agreement with Craig’s observations around integration. Increasingly the learning management platform is seen as only part of a wider learning and HR ecosystem, and the ability for users to have seamless single sign-on, and for systems to exchange data securely and reliably has never been greater.
“As the TinCan xAPI gathers momentum we will also see more demand for seamless data transfer between LMS and LRS, or of course, like SkillsServe, you can have your TinCan LRS integrated within the platform itself.”
SkillsServe celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, with version five of the platform being officially unveiled, alongside Unicorn’s new in-build authoring tool eCreator, at Learning Technologies over the next two days (28-29 January).
Visitors to Learning Technologies will be able to find Unicorn on Stand 95 and discover why SkillsServe is the preferred choice for compliance plus learn all about Unicorn’s innovative new in-build authoring tool, eCreator.