Tag Archive | eCreator

Top 10 Highs Of Unicorn’s Record Year

Unicorn smashed through the £6m sales mark for the first time ever in the last financial year (2015-16), a new record in any 12-month period and £1m up on our previous financial year best. These are our top 10 highlights of our record-breaking year (in no particular order)…

White text on a pink backdrop 'Unicorn: A year in numbers'

1 SkillsServe ranked the World’s top LMS for financial services (again)

You’ve probably heard of Craig Weiss? He’s widely considered to be the most influential person in eLearning in the world. Every year Craig produces his Global Top 50 LMSs Report and for the second year running, in January 2016, our learning and performance platform, SkillsServe, was recognised as the world’s best in our field.

dean_collage_med2 Unicorns who completed The Big Issue Foundation ‘Big London Night Walk’…

…in addition to the number of other Unicorns who did amazing stuff supported by our Fundraising Team. This included Dean, Tai, Katrina and Simon all completing multiple distance and endurance running challenges raising money for The MS Society, Macmillan Cancer Support, Macmillan Caring Locally and The Samaritans, while Sam and Xiomara pounded the capital’s streets in the wee hours in their quest for The Big Issue Foundation.

3 Million+ course activities were completed on SkillsServe

Off the shelf courses, user-generated content and eCreator courses, CPD recording, Training and Competency (T&C), on-the-go learning and Apps, you name it and SkillsServe has probably helped the financial services industry achieve it.

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4 the position SkillsServe moved up to in the overall LMS global rankings

You know Craig Weiss’ LMS report we just mentioned? As well as maintaining top spot for financial services, SkillsServe also moved up a place overall from fifth in 2015 to fourth this year. In the report Craig said: “New User Interface, expansive features. I love that they have a CPD mobile app. Regulatory is strong which is a must since their target vertical is Financial Services. An overall, top tier performer.”

NSASECTOR_Logo_Col3D_CMYK(9) [Converted] [Converted]5 the number of key areas Unicorn was assessed to receive Service Excellence accreditation from the National Skills Academy for Financial Services

This means Unicorn has demonstrated its dedication to high-quality, professional customer service and commitment to consistent improvement in service and staff training. With Helpdesk now 11 strong, 4,000 more calls were dealt with last year compared to 2014. This is reflected in an SLA of over 95% between March 2015 and March 2016. Already in 2016 Helpdesk have dealt with more calls month-on-month than 2015. What does this mean? Quicker and more effective issue resolution for our clients and happy customers ☺

6 Million – the company’s sales for the first time ever

It was looking good at the end of the calendar year, when we reported sales exceeded £5.6m ($8.5m), but we are delighted to report continuing strong organic growth in our core business streams, culminating in sales crashing through the £6m for the first time.

logo_116ISO 27001 – our information security standards certified at the highest level again

We first received ISO certification in 2011, but 2015 saw Unicorn transition to the new ISO27001:2013 standard from the previous ISO27001:2005 benchmark. The new standard reflects the changing demands of IS security in the face of challenges that didn’t exist in 2005. To maintain ISO27001 certification requires monthly security audits and an annual British Standards Institution (BSI) assessment.

peterp_headshot8 where Unicorn Training CEO and founder, Peter Phillips, is ranked in the Top 10 of the UK’s most influential people in corporate eLearning

Now in its seventh year, the 2016 annual lists of the ‘Top 10’ most influential people in the corporate eLearning sector – in the World, North America, Europe, the UK and Asia-Pacific – saw Peter break into the top 10 for the first time ever as one of four debutants in the UK rankings.

9% higher knowledge retention in those trained via video games…

…according to a University of Colorado Denver Business School study (2010). This is a snippet from our 2016 White Paper ‘The Future of Game-based Learning’ (produced with our games partners, Amuzo). Games are still BIG news in learning and, in its first year, this partnership has helped clients, existing and prospective, really understand games aren’t just fun they’re effective and it’s mobile technology shaping this.

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10 (+1) the number of our commercial, trade and professional industry partners

These relationships are invaluable in underlining Unicorn’s long-standing position as the solutions provider trusted by the financial services industry. As regulation tightens, having our partners’ expertise in helping inform the direction of the learning and supporting the development of appropriate learning tools, makes Unicorn the only credible choice. A great example is the work we’re doing with FSTP and the BBA to develop ComplianceServe in response to the FCA’s Accountability Regime for banks, building societies, credit unions and designated investment firms.

BLOG: Where do businesses find their LMS content?

softwareadvicereportAre you amongst the three-quarters of firms that use a mix of in-house and third-party training content in your LMS?

For their recent report into ‘In-House vs. Third-Party Content: Which Is Best for Your LMS?’ Software Advicea 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.

most-common-purposes-of-training-content

Most Common Purposes of Training Content

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.

top-reasons-for-using-third-party-training-content

Top Reasons for Using Third Party Training 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!

Top Reasons for Using In-house Training Content

Top Reasons for Using In-house Training Content

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_screenshoteCreator 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.

Most Common Training Content Formats By Content Type

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.

CIPS%20route%20mapLearning 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.”

Read the full report here.

4 Hot Topics at Learning Technologies 2015

Unicorn Training was back with a bang at Learning Technologies this year.

A

Over the course of two days an estimated 7,000 visitors popped into Olympia to feast their eyes on the 150 free L&D seminars and 250 exhibitors. Upstairs at the conference, the likes of Professor Sugata Mitra and Professor Robert Winston had audiences in the palm of their hands as they discussed independent and group learning and the changing nature of the human brain.

But downstairs there was a real buzz at the expo as L&D delegates from across the globe descended to discover what’s new in the world of workplace learning. The exhibition always offers a great opportunity to exchange thoughts and experiences of the eLearning world, and this year was no exception including some rather innovative knowledge sharing ideas on the café walls.

B

Our team of Unicorns was on hand throughout to answer questions, give demos and have a good old natter about anything learning related.  

C

Over the course of an action packed two days, here are the four key buzzwords you’d have overheard as you walked by the Unicorn stand:

Gamification

D

Unicorn recently proved we’re serious about serious games by joining forces with chart-topping game studio Amuzo and there was standing room only at Amuzo MD Mike Hawkyard’s seminar ‘Learning Games – You Cannot Be Serious!’ Mike revealed how businesses are unlocking game qualities such as problem solving, in-play feedback, rewards, leaderboards and, of course, fun, to bring about effective learning and changes in behaviours and culture.

Delegates were keen to hear how our partnership with Amuzo will enable us to inject game principles into even such unpromising areas as mandatory compliance training, while also taking our sector leading face-to-face business simulations online, making them more readily available in the workplace or on the move.

eCreator

E

LT visitors were treated to the official launch of our new eCreator authoring tool. The team were on hand to give demos on how to make simple, effective and great quality learning in less time than your lunch! The eCreator is a graphically rich, user-friendly, flexible tool for the fast, simple creation, delivery and editing of learning content at the desktop and on mobile. Find out more.

Compliance

There’s no denying that compliance is at the core of corporate learning. That’s why LT visitors were keen to find out more about our solution, ComplianceServe.

F

Throughout both days on the Unicorn stand, the team wowed delegates with first hand demos of how ComplianceServe helps ensure regulatory and compliance content is up-to-date and relevant, management information for clients is robust and easy to access and learners’ training is completed, tracked and reported. It’s no wonder ComplianceServe is the preferred choice for compliance.

Global Top 5 LMS

Just days before Learning Technologies, we were enormously proud to learn that our learning and performance platform, SkillsServe, was ranked in the World’s top five LMSs and the number one for financial services in a new report from leading global eLearning analyst and consultant Craig Weiss.

G

The 2015 Top 50 Global LMSs Report offers a review of 645 systems and ranks the top 50 based on various factors and analysis including on features, design, vertical reach, support/service, future thinking approach and processes.

Unicorn Training has been creating learning and development and compliance solutions for over 25 years. Unicorn’s experience, industry expertise and award-winning creativity have helped the company grow to be a market leader. In 2013 Unicorn was named ‘Outstanding Learning Organisation’ at the eLearning Awards in our 25th anniversary year while Unicorn’s Samantha Yates was the 2014 eLearning Designer of the Year.

H

Award-winning, BAFTA nominated Amuzo specialise in the creation of online and mobile games for some of the most exciting global brands. Amuzo games have been played well over half a billion times in the last two years alone and have reached No.1 on the App Store in 147 countries.

Be sure to visit our stand at Learning Technologies 2016 to play some of the exciting serious games we’re currently creating.

For more information about anything we’ve discussed above – and much more – drop us a line today on 0845 130 5138 or email enquiries@unicorntraining.com

And if you fancy becoming a Unicorn we’re recruiting so check out our current vacancies. Apply today and, who knows, you could be on our stand at Learning Technologies 2016!

News: Unicorn CEO Reacts To 2015 Top 50 Global LMSs Report

DSPeter 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.

weissreportscreenshot_jan15The 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.

cpdapp1“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.

ecreator_screenshot“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.

For more information about Unicorn Training visit www.unicorntraining.com or to find out more about Learning Technologies visit www.learningtechnologies.co.uk

EVENT BLOG: Client Day – Refresh, Revitalise, Rejuvenate!

clientday_jan15Welcome to our 2015 Client Day – Refresh, Revitalise, Rejuvenate!

Couldn’t make it along or the weather thwart your efforts? Don’t sweat it, all the updates and news from the event can be found right here!

Guest speakers include Amuzo’s Mike Hawkyard, who will explain the principles of gaming and how they can be incorporated into training while some client SkillsServe case studies will be showcased.

Instructional design to being about effective and engaging learning will be broken down by Unicorn’s own Sam Yates, the 2014 eLearning Designer of the Year before Stuart Jones, Director of IT, will unveil what new features and developments are in store for SkillsServe.

There are loads of break out sessions too, here’s what we’ve got going on!

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Right here we go, CEO Peter Phillips has just kicked us off and is now introducing Mike Hawkyard….

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AMUZO/MIKE HAWKYARD

This is why Mike’s here – https://blog.unicorntraining.com/2014/12/16/news-game-on-as-unicorn-and-amuzo-partner-to-take-learning-to-next-level/

Trusted to guess short term aims, Lego is biggest client – what’s going to be happening in a year’s time in digital. If we had some eLearning games awards in a years time, what would be winning?

Few key rules to making games:

  • Fun first – don’t promote to play, get them playing to promote
  • Target audience
  • Current events  – big numbers and getting PR and people talk about current events (i.e. RWC15). Build it and launch around these dead easy to get into conversations.
  • Pick up and play – not too many instructions.
  • Utilise existing rivalries – MUFC v MCFC fans, etc. Trigger rivalry as motivator.
  • Multiplayer/social –
  • Personalisation
  • Reward – best part of game is when win.

He’s now setting challenge to create game with a piece of paper – audience have picked ‘rules’ according to all above. Let the paper aeroplane fight begin!

What are rewards?

People don’t have time to play half hour games anymore, everyone plays in short little bursts. Gave e.g. of Boss Alien’s CSR Racing – race car for 10 secs again, again and again etc.

Rule – if can’t have meaningful game experience while stood in airport queue we won’t publish your game. ‘Most snackable’ – 5mins of quick entertainment, doing your eLearning all over the place even on the toilet!

If want people to play your game put it on smart device not solely computer.

Got to be addictive.

Most accessible – Candy Crush links into social network and showing you where friends are. Idea is you want to beat them. Compliance testing can’t put scores of people but string a few fun things together you can make a ‘fun score’ and leaderboard scenario to challenge them to beat each other.

Best bribe – If ever want to know what future of digital is, go to South Korea! DragonFlight is HUGE over there – die within 30 secs! You earn peanuts and spend peanuts, follow them on Twitter, given loads more peanuts, like us, then given loads more, learn more, given even more!

What can you do to make people do your eLearning even faster – the cooler and funnier the better.

Don’t need to know facts, need to know where you need to look to find the info as quickly as possible – JIT learning.

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Mike & Sarah from Unicorn on importance of Branding and Design in eLearning – case studies coming up!

1) Why is design so important?

Always been poss to make SkillsServe look like its part of your organisation. But now applying different design principles to way platform is laid out to enhance user experience.

Case study 1 – worked with customer to look at what user needed to see, and what didn’t. 3 key areas of info – 1) training plan, 2) more learning and 3) integration (into wider organisation).

Case study 2 – they came to us and said we have a lot of v positive feedback and engagement with our intranet so we want something like that. Incorp strongest brand identifiers in site re-brand.

Case study 3 – picked out key things client did as some visitors will know about clients, others don’t. Once get into site training plan brought to fore.

Case study 4 – in the site users want to go straight into their training. V Windows 8 style – TP in their eye line and all stands out within easy reach for them.

Case study 5 – different banners are refreshed frequently and point people into different parts of site.

Case study 6 – no branding whatsoever applied, it’s cartoon style imaging drawn by Unicorn graphic designers and about the user.

Breakout from ‘it’s just a compliance’ site as whether it’s something as simple as just a new layout or splash of colour finding that are getting feedback that news sites are communicating with and engaging users, they can be as simple or creative as you like, and there is support and guidance from Unicorn relationship managers to see where we can take the idea, even if you don’t quite know what the idea is!

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First Break Out sessions are about to get underway now…..

IMG_00000640Session 1 – SkillsServe Tips and Hints with Stuart and Wayne from Unicorn are introducing parts of SkillsServe that people sometimes don’t discover!

If you couldn’t make it today we will be celebrating SkillsServe’s 5th birthday at Learning Technologies on 28-29 January at Olympia, London so why not come along to see us at Stand 95 and find out what you might have missed out on today.

IMG_00000643Session 2 – Laura talks clients through how they can use our new eCreator authoring tool to make simple, effective and great quality learning in less time than your lunch!

eCreator gets its official launch at Learning Technologies too and we can’t wait to bring it to the masses after some awesome client trial projects.

Laura’s table have been discussing about enhancements since eCreator’s soft launch and roadmap for the future, plus providing tips and hints to get the most out of the design tool and giving clients the chance to make their own suggestions and ask questions.

Enhancements:

Since launch including –

  • New video template
  • UX enhancements – including changing positioning and functionality within editor,  naming of buttons, labelling.
  • Theme security – different organisations cab see the eCreator themes relevant to them.
  • Click and Show template
  • Editor saving
  • Adding pop-ups to content within template

IMG_00000648Planned enhancements in Q1-4 including –

  • Editor navigation
  • Self certification template – tick box to say ‘I’ve read’
  • Spell checker
  • Increase font size to 14
  • Menu ticks of pages viewed previously
  • SkillsServe Learning App – view training plan, download eCreator course, run it when no connection to sync when online
  • Add audio narration
  • In course links
  • Image cropping
  • Exporting to Word

Hints and tips covered included on pasting in from Word, resizing text areas, image size and type, using YouTube template, editing title.

NOW LUNCH 🙂

And IMG_00000649we’re back…..

Different group has joined Stuart and Wayne for the SkillsServe session.

SkillsServe Helpdesk is getting a lot of kudos here! Client gathered for this session include AXA Insurance and CII with everyone sharing their own experiences of how they use the system.

This session has included detailed overview of making more of reports (creating, tagging, filtering, customising, scheduling) – 24 different reporting options including qualifications, user data, activity attempts, activity registrations, etc.

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Writing for eLearning – Getting the best out of your content

samy_elaIDofyraward_nov14_medSuper award-winning eLearning Designer of the Year 2014 Sam Yates is up now.

If you were designing a brand new Face to face course you wouldn’t just give them a text box and tell them to read it.

Getting views on best and worst eLearning ever seen – learners view is even more important than stakeholders as if they don’t buy in, worthless.

Instructional Design is teamwork working with SMEs, clients and learners to ensure learning objectives are met.

But how often do you talk to your learners? What do they want to see from their training and where do they face the challenges? How do you keep stakeholders and learners both happy?

1) What do you want course to achieve?
2) What do you want it to say?
3) How do you want it to look?

Three key guide points to decide what makes it to screen – “screen real estate is at a premium”.

Creating your script: Web doc providing structure (reminders/notes/ comments etc) to dictate what.

You have just 20 minutes to get your point across so….

  • Use existing templates.
  • Write then cut then cut again – be brutal to get point across.
  • Signpost to extra materials for stuff
  • Organise content
  • Mix it up – use scenarios, egs and tell stories
  • Don’t baby your learner – if it needs instructions it hasn’t been designed properly

IMG_00000652Don’t want eLearning to demonstrate people have got good memory, it’s a v safe environment to make mistakes so give them something to do before passing information.

Writing style – use active voice, remove all jargon, say more with less (if a picture says 1000 words then use it!), use words learners can picture, use concise, descriptive captions and titles.

Writing with graphics – use text to only enhance or reinforce point whether alongside pic/vid etc.

Writing assessments – draft the assessment first, randomise the assessment, quality not quantity (4 options for MCQs), use questions to drive the learning (the test then tell approach), focus on behaviours (Qs that relate to choice or decision user going to have to face), make it challenging but fair, avoid yes/no Qs, help people learn from mistakes, keep learner’s experience in mind.

No hard and fast rules but this is an awesome starting point/guide (there’s a back too ;)) …..

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If break content into natural, relatable chunks helps learner relate it to their day to day role.

Resources to help:

  • Articulate community – blogs, free templates, photos, challenges to help you get hang of things
  • eLearning coach
  • Lynda
  • iStock/iPhoto
  • and Sam!

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The SkillsServe Roadmap

IMG_00000658KLAXON! Last talk of the day and it’s Stuart Jones, our SkillsServe guru telling us what’s new and coming soon with the platform.

What’s come about over past year?

1) SkillsServe blog – all new release notes uploaded there. 10 released since June 2014 – every release is a piece of new functionality. V worthwhile following.

2) eCreator – built in authoring tool. Launched in Sept to existing customers, Jan major launch at Learning Technologies.

3) Copying programmes – take an OTS programme and tailor it to what you need to do if parts any relevant to you or you want to, can add/remove things just as you would if it were your programme.

Form workflows – forms are a really powerful part of the system and differentiates SkillsServe from other LMSs. Started life as supporting annual appraisal process then been involved in it for T&C requirements (managing and capturing workflows which can be reported on with email alerts etc).

Taken another step further last few months for assessments – case studies, scenarios and using for free form text assessments (essay style answers) and can combine with MCQs etc. Also form change history, training requests.

4) CPD

One client had 17 multiple CPD schemes – you can now assign a different CPD scheme to each person.

CII rule changes

Syncing – link your SkillsServe site back to the CII member tool.

5) Reporting

14 new reports added – suite of new default reports available. Differ as they look good on paper when printed in, based on feedback.

New Excel export – includes all records and rows.

Report API – it is teccy but enables any report we create to be exported from system and manipulated/used in a 3rd party system so your intranet pulling in upcoming events for eg.

  • 1 client didn’t like our events calendar – wanted to promo more clearly on homepage what events were available. Report API enabled us to turn around a new feature really quickly
  • Turning columns/rows into dashboards of one page of graphs/charts – now looking at info graphics
  • Can pull live data into wikipages

6) Content management – continued evolving and developing to make easy to use

Publishing to catalogue – publish to an audience, now made easier to publish to what catalogue so don’t need to filter content

7) HTML emails – branding, apply to all emails, can still choose text.

Coming soon….

1) tab navigation introduced, and making it easier to navigate around the content with a tree structure so know where you are all the time.

2) Can now add whole area of content as well as individual activity to planner to build programmes.

3) Also add filters – tick boxes of what content what to include in programme.

4) New diagnostic evaluation tool added – can say for e.g. if they get 80% on a pre-test/assessment before they do learning can make them exempt from it. Quickens up process. To be launched early this year.

5) ContentServe – new SkilssServe versions. Enables us to take bits of SkillsServe and make them available on 3rd party LMS. Can build a prog and link directly to that prog through a 3rd party LMS. Also good for keeping content up-to-date – links have to be uploaded once but from thereon in updated as if it was on SkillsServe.

6) SkillsServe App – offline access is all.

  • eCreator
  • on/off sync
  • Android / Apple iOS

7) Going global – internationalisation, multiple languages, editing and translation tools.

8) Gamification and more – how have an influence on how we do learning and leverage that into platform. Working with Amuzo to how you create a game on mobile/app and how you tie that back into platform.

That’s all folks! Mark’s just doing the formalities and recapping on main themes of day 1) simplicity, 2) eCreator and 3) games (yep even for compliance!)

Now to the bar!

THANKS FOR JOINING US!

News: New Sator Partnership Brings Compliance Boost To Jersey

SatorSkillsServe-ipad-3Unicorn has joined forces with respected Jersey-based Sator Regulatory Consulting to enhance Sator’s commitment to providing first class financial industry compliance and regulatory services at global to local level.

The new partnership between financial services online learning specialists Unicorn and Sator now offers a managed service for compliance training through Unicorn’s award-winning ComplianceServe learning and performance platform.

The custom version of ComplianceServe will enable Sator to underline its global market support by ensuring local regulatory and compliance content is up-to-date and relevant, management information for clients is robust and easy to access and learners’ training is completed, tracked and reported.

Sator ComplianceServe was launched in Jersey – a potential market of around 1,000 regulated entities and 15,000 specialist financial services employees – in mid-December. The platform will then be introduced in Guernsey, followed by Gibraltar and the United Arab Emirates.

SetWidth300-hhsmallHelen Hatton, Sator Regulatory Consulting MD, is widely recognised as the prime architect of the modern Jersey regulatory regime. During a successful 10-year tenure as Deputy Director General of the Jersey Financial Services Commission, the island went from blacklisted to achieving one of the world’s best IMF evaluation results.

She said: “The statutory training requirement is actually not met by a one-off conference. First employers are required to test understanding, next the training must include the law, in-house policies and procedures and building awareness through typologies relevant to each employee’s role.

“We researched global platform providers, seeking resilience, experience, quality and a product that was interesting and user friendly. ComplianceServe met these criteria comprehensively and added very attractive additional features. It is outstanding.

“Our target global markets are substantial international financial centres yet relatively small in their own right compared to say the USA or UK. The capital investment necessary to build a first class, feature rich compliance solution is not economic.

“By making Sator ComplianceServe jurisdiction specific, we have been able to get the best of both worlds – local relevance and international quality.”

Sator_eLearningComplianceServe was developed to help firms manage their compliance training needs through one easy-to-use, secure portal, combining a library of high quality learning assets with advanced diagnostic, content creation, and management tools.

A unique feature of ComplianceServe is Unicorn’s new integrated authoring tool, eCreator, a graphically rich, user-friendly, flexible tool for the fast, simple creation, delivery and editing of learning content at the desktop and on mobile.

women%20in%20complianceSator have recently been shortlisted as a finalist in the category of Consulting Team of the Year for the 2015 Women in Compliance Awards.

Mark Jones, Unicorn Training Commercial Director, added: “I am extremely proud to welcome the Sator team to our Partner Programme.

“Sator brings a level of expertise and professionalism that I see takes compliance training to a new level across the Channel Islands. “With their breadth of local connections, and a reputation to surpass, Sator is the ideal partner to offer a managed service for compliance training.”

Unicorn Training has been creating learning and development and compliance solutions for the UK’s ever-changing financial services for over 25 years.

Unicorn’s experience, industry expertise and award-winning creativity have helped the company grow to be a market leader. In 2013 Unicorn was named ‘Outstanding Learning Organisation’ at the eLearning Awards in its 25th anniversary year.

For more information about Sator Regulatory Consulting www.sator.je and to learn more about ComplianceServe visit http://www.unicorntraining.com/complianceserve

News: Unicorn To Launch New Authoring Tool at Learning Technologies 2015

SaveTheDate_Email-page-001Come and see what all the eCreator fuss is about when Unicorn Training returns to Learning Technologies at Olympia Central on 28-29 January.

With a number of clients having already successfully adopted Unicorn’s new user-friendly, flexible integrated authoring tool over the past few months, Learning Technologies marks eCreator’s official launch to market at stand 95.

Unicorn will also be celebrating the fifth birthday of its award-winning learning and performance platform SkillsServe with the release of SkillsServe 5.0.

SkillsServe was ranked in the World’s top 10 Learning Management Systems in the LMS Mid-Year 2014 Report, compiled by industry guru Craig Weiss.

eCreator is built into SkillsServe and breaks the mould in users being able to produce graphically-rich, interactive content simply and at minimal cost.eCreator-logo

Fully tablet compatible, with the ability to create, edit, deliver and study content on Apple and Android tablets as well as PCs, eCreator meets the increasing demand for firms to be able to create and publish quality learning content more easily, and for in-company subject matter experts to be able to edit and update content directly.

ecreator_screenshot

Amongst the companies already using eCreator to create and deliver mobile-ready courses are the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), Tesco Bank, Insurance Institute of Ireland (III).

Here are some of the things being said about eCreator already……..

  • “The eCreator has already brought huge improvements in our productivity as well as professional quality results that add value to our student support. We’re very impressed with the new tool.”
  • “The graphics and whole look is brilliant. Very engaging to the eye.”
  • “It looks really good, impressive.”

skillsServeMeanwhile SkillsServe 5.0 includes two major changes.

There is a new catalogue and content manager, combined to make it easier to build programmes, and diagnostic assessments, enabling administrators to generate assessments from programmes automatically, with users only having to complete learning for areas not passed.

Anyone visiting the Unicorn stand over the two days will have the chance to win a champagne balloon ride. To find Unicorn on stand 95, just look for the pink balloons!

For more information visit www.unicorntraining.com

Q&A: Unicorn Head of Content Development Laura Hooper

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.

Laura

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.

LABS

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.

eCreator

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!

News: eCreator Changing Face Of Rapid Content

eCreator-logoeCreator is Unicorn’s new integrated rapid authoring tool, opening up countless doors to create and deliver professional quality content easily at your desk or on the move.

eLearning industry expert, Craig Weiss, has predicted built-in authoring tools will be the industry’s ‘next big thing’, and eCreator breaks the mould in enabling users to produce graphically-rich, interactive content simply and at minimal cost.

eCreator is built into Unicorn Training’s award-winning learning and development platform, SkillsServe, which enables the design of customised learning pathways, incorporating eCreator content alongside third-party content and assessments, resulting in varied, dynamic learning that inspires personal and business growth.

UnicornWebsite_eCreator_iPadeCreator is fully tablet compatible with the ability to create, edit, deliver and study content on Apple and Android tablets as well as PCs, and because the tool is a built in feature of SkillsServe, there is no licence fee limiting the number of editors, multiple users can keep content up-to-date.

Peter Phillips, Unicorn Training CEO, said: “There was increasing demand from Unicorn clients to be able to create and publish quality learning content more easily, and for their in-company subject matter experts to be able to edit and update content directly.

“There has also been the burgeoning demand to bring large quantities of learning content online simply and within tight budgets and time constraints, without reverting to ‘Death by PowerPoint’ or reams of flat text.

“eCreator has a strong focus on usability, and is a tool that can be learned in minutes and can create new interactive eLearning modules in just a few hours. It has not been designed to replace the use of the best in commercial rapid authoring tools, rather add another option with its own unique benefits to users.”

Amongst our early-adopter organisations already using eCreator to create and deliver mobile-ready courses are the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), Tesco Bank, and Insurance Institute of Ireland (III).

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James Lonergan, Education Manager, III, said: “The eCreator has already brought huge improvements in our productivity as well as professional quality results that add value to our student support. We’re very impressed with the new tool.”

Peter added: “Unicorn has more than 25 years industry experience and expertise in the financial sector with a platform currently considered the best in its sector*. This wealth of knowledge and know-how enables rapid response to changes in the regulation, with eCreator playing a key role in this rapid, effective capability.”

Want to know how you could make the most of eCreator? Click here.

*SkillsServe was recently ranked the world’s top Learning Management System for the financial sector in the LMS Mid-Year 2014 Rankings Report, compiled by the influential Craig Weiss.

Pssssssst Heard What’s Coming Soon?

Every quarter we release a roadmap plan of what is coming soon to our SkillsServe learning and development platform.

Why? Because we want to make SkillsServe work even better for you, with many of the updates and/or new functions coming as a direct result of client feedback.

Although we love surprising our clients, “We didn’t know you did that too!” isn’t an expression we want to hear from you too often……

We want you to know exactly what we’re up to and to be as enthusiastic as we are about the potential the ‘coming soons’ bring to making your work challenges even easier, and yep, enjoyable.

So here’s some of the scheduled SkillsServe highlights for this coming quarter……

eCreatorecreator

We are very excited about eCreator!

The new eCreator is a user-friendly, flexible authoring tool integrated into SkillsServe, which allows managers/admins to create quality learning content quickly, easily and with minimal effort.

All courses created in the eCreator are mobile compatible and can even be created and edited on an iPad.

The early ‘test’ content we’ve delivered for some key clients has been extremely well received and we can’t wait for everyone else to start using it.

Multiple CPD Schemes

SkillsServe’s CPD system is going to support multiple CPD schemes on a single SkillsServe site. Useful hey? This means a range of professional body CPD schemes can be added as well as a company’s own corporate schemes. Users will be able to select their relevant CPD scheme. Changing the selected scheme will recalculate the outstanding time or credits based on the target and scheme rules.

Report API

The finishing touches are currently being made to the SkillsServe report API. This function will enable access to SkillsServe report data in real time from external resources. It will also help us build custom graphical dashboards based on a client’s extended reporting requirements.

Programme Builder and Catalogue Enhancements

The catalogue and content management areas of SkillsServe are being redesigned to make it even simpler to build programmes and register yourself or staff into appropriate learning and assessments. It will also make organising content easier.

Catalogue Library Management

Category_groups[5]We are significantly improving the management and publishing of content to catalogues. This will make administering catalogue structure and allowing different departments to manage their own libraries of content in isolation more streamlined.

Enhanced User Security

Restricting access to users below a particular branch of the organisation tree is being added. This enables specific users to manage their organisation or division but limit their access to confidential information for their peers.

Form Snapshots

Form workflow functionality is being enhanced so each individual within the workflow can easily see the changes made within a form since the last time they received it. We are also adding the ability to see the change history, a really useful function for long-running appraisal periods for example.

We hope that’s whetted your appetite a little bit?

Want to know more? Download the Unicornucopia App on iOS or Android and find copies of our all our brochures and factsheets, which continually get updated.

Not a SkillsServe user yet? Click here for the lowdown.