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!
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!
As another year of the industry’s most prestigious awards rolls round, we are delighted to announce that Unicorn has been shortlisted in two categories: Learning Technologies Supplier of the Year and Best Enterprise Platform Implementation.
“The Learning Technologies Awards celebrate excellence in learning technology and e-learning and have been running for ten years. There are multiple awards categories with gold, silver and bronze awards presented at a gala evening in London.”
Best Enterprise Platform Implementation:
Clydesdale and Yorkshire bank with Unicorn Training
Having shared their experiences at our last Client Forum, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank once again channelled their vision, challenges and achievements into a strong submission that examines their L&D journey with Unicorn. Recognising the hard work and passion of HR-leads Stuart Snowden and Beccy Gilpin, the shortlist for best platform implementation is testament to just how much progress has been made to transform internal learning processes within CYB.
It is also a well-deserved nod to the committed work of our project team, and Clydesdale’s Relationship Manager, Sarah Smith.
The introduction of myLearning has made a considerable impact on all employees, enabling the Bank to offer personal development opportunities to our employees whilst using a robust, innovative platform that is easy to use providing an excellent employee experience.
– Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank
Beccy Gilpin, Learning Channels Manager said: “Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank are delighted to be short-listed for this award. It recognises the hard work and commitment from our internal project team and the partnership and co-operation between the Bank and Unicorn Training to deliver a fantastic new learning platform for the Bank”.
Learning Technologies Supplier of the Year: Unicorn Training
Having enjoyed a busy year that has seen Unicorn acquire casual games studio, Amuzo, we are also thrilled to have made the cut for Learning Technologies Supplier of the Year. Our submission in this category considers our dual role as training and regulatory experts in the Financial Services space, and leaders in innovative learning design that strives to leverage the latest available technologies in the solutions we deliver to our valued clients.
“In these exciting times for eLearning, Unicorn is making an important contribution to transforming standards of behaviour and customer service in the financial sector,” says Peter Phillips, Unicorn Training CEO. “In this submission we sought to illustrate how Unicorn has been able to lead our clients towards more effective, innovative learning solutions including Apps, personalised learning, collaboration and gamification, while at the same time recognising their abiding needs for high quality, secure, consistent, managed compliance solutions”.
We look forward to entering the next round of judging for these categories, and would like to congratulate our peers, partners and all those who made the shortlists in this year’s highly competitive awards!
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
Ahead of the e-learning awards on Thursday 6 November, where the eCreator has been shortlisted for Most Innovative New Learning Product, we caught up with Unicorn’s Head of Content Development Laura Hooper for a chat about the world of content development.
How did you get into eLearning?
By accident! During university I was working at Staples part-time on the copy centre. One day a guy came in just before close and wanted some binding done. It took us until after closing time, so while I was finishing up, we started talking… he ended up offering me a job! It sounded a little uncertain and needing money to get through Uni I didn’t take him up on it… but then I left Staples on a point of principle and thought “Eeek! I need work!”
So, I gave Julian a ring and he offered me a month’s trial in the eLearning team (which consisted of him) at Marton House, a blended learning training company. I got to learn software like Director and Authorware, built my first project for Liverpool Victoria and never looked back! Ten years later, I made the move to Unicorn, which was four years ago. A year ago I was asked to become the Head of Content Development.
Describe a typical day.
A typical day consists of many things! As well as managing my teams – Instructional Design and Development, organising and facilitating meetings and creating documentation for different initiatives we’re currently working on. As product owner for the eCreator, I collate feedback, work with UX and create storyboards and user guides. After settling into my new role, I’ve now got the chance to move forward with new initiatives in content development, such as creating new templates in Yudu, the eCreator, Storyline and for tailored bespoke learning.
What would be your dream content development project?
A serious gamification project, with decision making and leaderboards. We have an idea for a ‘knowledge factory’ where you put in a quantity and make decisions in running the factory – meet characters, read the manual, answer questions etc.. and at the end you see what you’ve managed to produce! This is one of many ideas we’ll be working on as part of Unicorn Labs, our new internal initiative to develop exciting passion projects.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Learning something new all the time – always looking at new technologies and ideas to incorporate into our learning.
What advice would you give someone who wants to work in content development?
If you’re a nerd, it’s great! If you like a challenge of making heavy duty content enjoyable and entertaining and finding new ways for immersing users in the learning, then content development is for you. We live in a fast-changing technological world so keeping up-to-date with the latest software is also essential.
If you weren’t Head of Content Development at Unicorn what would you be doing?
Creating/developing something! Either eLearning or games.
What is the eCreator?
The eCreator is our in-house rapid development tool that is integrated into SkillsServe. It was launched in September with a set of twelve templates. Anyone can select a template type for a new page and add content/imagery to create informational based courses. It will evolve as time progresses.
How did you get involved in the eCreator project?
Rich Armitage (Unicorn’s Head of Creative Design) and I were creating a template-based system for our eLearning. After the Chartered Insurance Institute asked for updates to the eCreator, some of these templates became incorporated into the new template driven system. I built the user display and editor files, alongside Jim who built in the SkillsServe functionality.
What’s next for the eCreator?
Many exciting things including on-going UX enhancements, added functionality, new templates, and bundles of more interactive templates. Basically, watch this space!
What does it take to become an eLearning award winner? Unicorn‘s Senior Relationship Manager Sarah Nutley investigates.
I was invited to find out what it takes to be an award winner at the eLN event “Proven Recipes for Learning Success”. It’s fair to say that it was full of the unexpected! The E-Learning Awards are open to organisations of all sizes and industries worldwide. You can enter one or more of their categories here. They include awards for innovation, content, blended learning, LMS, compliance and outstanding organisations and individuals.
At the event we heard from the people behind the winning entries, both clients and developers. Within the session was insight into the world of health care, booksellers, the policing effort at London Olympics and Emergency Capacity Building Projects in the developing world. The scope for using eLearning will never cease to impress or astound!
Towards Maturity provided the criteria the winners were judged on:
- 2 way business alignment: Learning supports business needs
- Respond faster: Learning is delivered in time to support business needs
- Transform training: Blend a wide range of learning technologies to redefine the course
- Develop learning culture: Staff know-how to productively connect and share
- Integrate learning & talent: Learning technologies actively support the on boarding process
- Flexible learning: Users encouraged to use own devices for learning
- Customer Activated Learning: Users involved in learning design
- Simplify: L&D are using 57% more learning technologies than 5 years ago but 35% of users can’t find what they need!
- Equip L&D as agents of change: Provide continuing professional development to learning professionals
The higher an organisation is rated across the categories the more likely they are to win. If anything the one overriding factor that was evident with all the winners was that they had the buy-in of the board or a senior stakeholder allowing them to fulfil the criteria. Their engagement was key from the start of any project. Most of the training interventions that won were part of companywide initiatives that included communication strategies to engage the audience before implementation and then gain support from managers at all levels. In most cases the projects were used to change the hearts and minds of users, and all the winners found a way to demonstrate that when eLearning is utilised it can add value to people’s day jobs.
Learning innovation, done well, delivers bottom line results!
One of the winning entries (taking 4 awards in total) was an engaging piece showing users how to implement CPR. If you haven’t tried this, do – lifesaver.org.uk (it’s downloadable for iPads.)
Lifesaver goes beyond eLearning, crossing into gamification and simulation and the learning has a memorable impact. This piece raised a significant point about supply and demand however.
While this type of learning – submersing the user straight into a situation – is impressive as it’s scenario training at its very best through crisis simulation and time pressure, is there a demand for it? The Unicorn Instructional Designers were very interested in how we can incorporate this into our work should the need arise.
Other winners focused on ways to engage users including;
- Developing blended programmes
- Converting the learning to Bite sized chucks
- Encouraging sharing of knowledge, experience and learning
65% (of users) are motivated by technology that allows them to share
- Using different devices to deliver eLearning while users were ‘on the job’
- Creating a self-paced learning programme
88% (of users) want to learn at their own pace
- Providing achievement status / rewards
2/3 of learners want their learning to be recognised
What created the ‘winners’ was the fact that they implemented programmes that did the job of engaging users. The most successful ways of doing this were:
- Through a powerful communication strategy – creating buy-in
- Matching user preferences to delivery methods
- Aligning the project to the business mission; showing the business and the users exactly how the intervention will deliver business results
- Thinking about all the users, engaging the tech savvy and the technophobes, those who work online and those who work offline
- If you can, set up a working party that includes users from all parts of the business – they can make the solution relevant companywide
- Think of embedding learning rather than providing training, the learning technology should be the vehicle that helps deliver learning into everyday life
How many organisations take these factors into consideration at the start of a training intervention?
The stats speak for themselves:
It’s clear that eLearning can change the world – from compliance in care homes to emergency building projects to safety at global events and to training people to save lives. The medium of eLearning can be utilised to share information anywhere and at any time making it accessible and beneficial, whatever your job role. It’s also clear that there are huge benefits to companies when they successfully implement a learning intervention utilising eLearning.
How many lessons can be applied to any eLearning intervention currently being discussed at your organisation? How many senior stakeholders do you have engaged in the project? Let us know in the comments.
Unicorn Training has been named Outstanding Learning Organisation at the 2013 e-Learning Awards in its 25th anniversary year.
Making it a year for a double celebration, Unicorn was unveiled as the award winner at the annual e.learning Age gala dinner, hosted by Angela Lamont and Alan Dedicoat, at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square on 7 November.
The Outstanding Learning Organisation Award recognises organisations that have achieved considerable success, including strong, continuous results over a sustained period in the learning, development and technology industry.
This year Unicorn celebrates 25 years of continuous and profitable growth. Having started life in 1988 as a partnership comprising the company’s three founders with one computer between them, Unicorn now has over 75 full-time employees with offices in Bournemouth and London and satellite operations in the USA and India.
Yet while Unicorn is now a bigger and more complex company than when it started, it chooses to remain a small business in terms of its culture and it is proud of its history and contribution to the development of technology-assisted learning.
Peter Phillips, co-founder and CEO, said: “I’m delighted Unicorn has been honoured by our peers with this award. We have a great team, who make it a pleasure to go to work each day, and this award is recognition of their hard work, professionalism and commitment to maintaining Unicorn’s unique culture in a fast changing world.”
Meanwhile, for the second year running, Unicorn sent the awards ceremony quackers with the ‘The Great Duck Race’ – devised and designed by Unicorn as the awards’ official Game Sponsor.
Following the success of the inaugural race in 2012, The Great Duck Race returned, this year set in the in little known desert state of Qakar, with the ducks having to contend with stygian caves and vertiginous waterfalls, making for the most, exciting, challenging, bill dropping race yet.
This year’s winning duck was Brian designed by Anthony Watkins from Jaguar Land Rover, attending as a guest of Redware. Anthony’s duck had a particularly effective design combining speed, stability and bags of luck. Anthony is donating his £500 charity prize money to Macmillan Cancer Support.
Unicorn’s guests at the ceremony included senior learning and development specialists from AIG, the Chartered Insurance Institute and Fitch Learning.
Unicorn Senior Instructional Designer, David Gristwood, was also shortlisted in the final six for the E-learning Designer of the Year Award.