Tag Archive | games

Learning Technologies – Reflecting on Day 1

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!

Unicorn Training Learning Technologies stand

This year, we’re delighted to have used LT as an opportunity to launch our latest concept – the Learning Ecosphere.

The Unicorn 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.

Unicorn Learning Ecosphere at LT

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!

Unicorns at Learning Technologies

Unicorn toy close up

In fact, one of the highlights of the day was definitely awarding the Unicorn prizes to our top scoring players!

Unicorn prize winners wedsnesday

Unicorn winners 2

Unicorn prize winners 3

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

Visiting Learning Technologies? Here’s what you can expect from Unicorn this week…

If you’re remotely connected to L&D, this is shaping up to be a pretty big week! Learning Technologies returns to Kensington Olympia across Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd February – bringing together over 7000 visitors all keen to get their hands on the latest in education tech. From tomorrow, we’ll be joining over 200 of our contemporaries from across the learning industry as we exhibit at this year’s show. If you’re swinging by, here are the top 5 things you can look forward to:

  1. Get your hands on the free ‘Learning Ecosphere’ whitepaper.

Discover the Unicorn Learning Ecosphere

Discover how learning technologies can smooth the dichotomy between traditional and modern learning with the Unicorn Learning Ecosphere – the subject of our whitepaper launching at the show.

The underlying need for an enterprise to define, manage and report on the competence of its staff has not changed. Environmental, safety and other regulatory demands on organisations are here to stay, while data security requirements are greater than ever.

But how does this fit with such concepts as social learning, collaboration and BYOD? How do we dip our toes into this fast flowing stream of opportunity in a way that is effective, relevant and affordable, and consistent with the practical day to day demands on our time, budgets and resources? What tools should we be using? What are the implications for e-learning design?

Pick up your free copy at stand P14.

The Unicorn Learning Ecosphere

  1. If you need a little persuasion, go and see our very own Mark Jones giving you an overview at one of his two free seminars

12:30-13:00 on both Wednesday and Thursday, Theatre 8. Where are you in the Learning Ecosphere?

Mark will seek to explore some of the issues facing businesses wishing to explore new learning methods. We’ve all heard the buzzwords and seen a flurry of new micro learning and learning Apps, but how do we really go about introducing effective ‘learning reinforcement’ – and where do we start? In a world where learning is changing, and we’re increasingly urged to explore new training formats, how do we ensure that we’re doing is going to work?

Join Mark to find out more, as well as discover our brand new mobile reinforcement app, Minds-i.

Mark Jones picture

  1. Come and have a go at QuizCom and you could win a Unicorn!

Yep, you read that right – come and try your hand at our giant swipe game and you could be the proud owner of your very own Unicorn. Our enthusiastic quiz hosts will be tough not to spot, as they’ll be sporting bright orange blazers and encouraging you to try your luck with our latest game. Loaded with questions covering everything from learning trends to star wars trivia, this is the perfect way to trial a brand new product from Unicorn aimed at getting your staff engaged whilst challenging them to prove their knowledge in a topic of your choice.

Win a Unicorn by playing QuizCom

Winners announced at 4pm each day, plus bonus prizes for two players picked at random!

  1. Check out Mike Hawkyard giving you a little insight into learning games and apps in corporate learning.

15:30-16:00 on Thursday, Theatre 8: Learning games and engagement.

We’ve all heard 101 talks lately about ‘gamification’, but this isn’t one of those talks. Mike is the Managing Director of an award winning games studio who have produced apps played more than two billion times in the last three years.

In recent months, Amuzo have been training people how to fly Star Wars™ Drones and encouraging children to build LEGO® models to rescue LEGO® Mini Figures trapped on erupting volcanoes. Join Mike for a session that will look at:

  • How the technology and best practice used in these exciting projects is identical to that being used in work for companies like KPMG and the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)
  • How to explore the possibilities of learning games for your business
  • Experiencing Amuzo’s latest product to engage staff with corporate communications; QuizCom
  • …And you might even win a prize or two!

Mike Hawkyard picture

  1. Finally, if you’re at the conference, go and see Richard Owen from the CII talk about their learning journey.

15:30-16:40 on Thursday, Conference Theatre T5S6: Organisational learning – Creating better learning outcomes for the learner and the business.

Richard Owen – Product Manager at the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) lifts the lid on how the CII have approached their corporate learning. He looks at the value of online learning for the learner and the business alike, and shares experiences of the challenges that the CII has faced in creating better user experience despite a highly regulated, compliance driven context. From topic-specific pathways, powerful diagnostic tools and a more intuitive interface, discover how the CII has trebled its uptake of its content within just 12 months with a little help from us!

We’ll be live blogging from LT, as well as tweeting from @unicorntraining. Don’t forget to stop by and see us at stand P14 across the event, as well as take some time to relax in the Unicorn café!

Join us at stand P14

Unicorn to launch new ‘Learning Ecosphere’ white paper at Learning Technologies

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.lt-unicorn-1small

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

CLIENT DAY BLOG: 4 Key Questions To Solving The Content Conundrum

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?

christeddHere’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?

christedd_2

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.

riskford-manor

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.

Why Serious Games? 6 Key Benefits

We’ve heard A LOT about game-based learning lately. Here we bring you an extract from our recent whitepaper, including a run-down of 6 benefits of games in learning, and some clarification around the difference between ‘games’, ‘serious games’ and ‘gamification’.

Benefit 1: Engagement

Image showing a flow diagram to illustrate the benefits of games for learning
With active engagement, serious games lead to discovery, observation, trial and error and problem solving, important aspects of learning (Dickey, 2005).

Benefit 2: Flow
Video games promote ‘flow’, when there is a perceived balance between the challenge and skills required – the player knows what to do (has goals) and how successful they are via immediate feedback (Csikszentmihalyi, 1991).

Difference between different gaming termsBenefit 3: Sharing
Games typically allow users to share their score with others and see it displayed on leaderboards, making it competitive, which is a natural driver of human behaviour (Squire and Jenkins, (2003). This can support groups of learners, even when geographically distributed, and develop team-based skills, leadership, coordination and communications skills (de Freitas, 2006).

Benefit 4: Learning by doing
Games provide a learning environment where players discover new rules by interacting and exploring the game, rather than memorising them, leading to knowledge acquisition (Squire, 2011), and self-motivation, thus becoming more active in their own learning (Michael and Chen, 2006).

Benefit 5: Monitoring progress
The effects of corporate training applications must be measurable; the distinction must be made between ‘performance’ and ‘learning outcomes’. Game play often focuses on performance, measuring skills that have already been mastered while discouraging trial and error, but may not measure depth of knowledge gained. Assessment can be quantitative and qualitative and should allow learners to get feedback on the consequences of their actions.

Benefit 6: Risk free
Simulation allows learners to experience something too costly, risky, or ethically unacceptable in real-life (Corti, 2006). But this approach assumes players can see the similarities/context and may need support transferring the knowledge (Crookall, 2010). Many papers have emphasised how games should be used to enhance training, not replace it (Science Daily, 2010).

Another diagram showing how effective game based learning is

Want the full low-down on serious games? Check out our whitepaper here.

News: Unicorn Training Acquires Top Games Company

Unicorn Training has underlined its commitment to developing world class learning games by taking a majority stake in BAFTA-nominated games studio, Amuzo.

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.

Game_image_p10-1024x683

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.

For more information about Unicorn Training visit http://www.unicorntraining.com and to discover the world of Amuzo visit www.amuzo.com

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.

Unicorn_infographic_2016_sml

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.

The_Future_of_Game_based_learning-_front cover_med

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.

ATD 2016 Day 1

This year, we’re checking out the ATD (Association for Talent Development) 2016 International conference. Here we share a few thoughts – all the way from sunny Denver!

An image of a large blue bear statue leaning against a building

It’s Sunday and a beautiful day in Denver. The size and scale of everything here is impressive, from the stunning Rocky Mountains to the huge Denver Convention Hall complete with appropriately giant size blue bear, and from the 9000+ delegates at ATD to the coffee that comes in large, super-size, bucket and dustbin.

The event got off to an unpromising start. First session was the International Delegates welcome. Representatives from over 50 countries including large delegations from Korea, China and Japan, but the session was a waste of time, dreadful acoustics and what we could hear we already knew from the brochure and the App.

Next we were off to a “lunch and learn” panel discussion on enabling the mobile sales force. Some useful insights, particularly from the CEO of SwissVBS who have a couple of mobile Apps for learning reinforcement that I will be looking up at their stand when the expo floor opens tomorrow. The main takeaway though was how inexperienced the L&D profession is in the world of mobile learning and publishing to Apps. This is an industry that has been focused almost exclusively on delivery to the desktop via the company LMS. Faced with demand from their executives for mobile learning, L&D professionals feel a bit like rabbits in the headlights. We do not have the technical expertise (“where do we start?”) to deliver to multiple mobile platforms and are also struggling to apply traditional instructional design paradigms to the world of bite sized, JIT learning.

At Unicorn, we’ve short-cut the technical barrier through our partnership with Amuzo – who joined the Unicorn Group as recently as this month. You might like to think about this approach yourself: Is there a small, but high quality, games studio near you, who have all the expertise you lack in delivering to multiple mobile platforms, in multiple territories? The benefits are not just technical – Amuzo’s biggest client is Lego. So they create solutions that are intuitive (ask your nearest 4 year old, engaging, fun and snackable. Wouldn’t you like to be able to say that about your e-learning?

An image of a cow flying out of a car. A snapshot from an elearning game.

The next stop was to a brilliant session by Rick Lozano of Rackspace, titled “From lacking the swagger to moves like Jagger”.

The theme was engagement, and Rick lived up to that by having us singing along to “Brown Eyed Girl”, “Sweet Home Alabama”, and “You can’t always get what you want”, while filling the gaps between the songs with some great ideas, advice and stories. Here are a few key takeaways.

  • Engagement means being emotionally connected and psychologically committed.
  • For the organization, a fundamental requirement is trust (do you really need a dress code?). Do some of your policies and procedures actually stop people getting things done? I bet they do, so why not ask them which ones to drop?
  • For the individual, understand what motivates you – research shows that autonomy, mastery and purpose are more important drivers than money.
  • Creativity – make open space for creativity, e.g. 10% projects.
  • Should CEO be Chief Encouragement Officer? Creating a culture for innovation requires leadership.
  • Help people to grow. Focus on improving what individuals are already good at, help them become a master. Encourage informal peer to peer teaching.
  • What are your passions? How can you bring them to your work? Find your thing – create #PFM Pure freakin magic.

My next stop was to hear Patti Shank. Although I arrived early, the session was full, guards at the door turned me away. Dashed down to the “supercharge your learning with games session” with Barbara Greenstein but …… the guards turned me away from that one too.

Please note ATD, this is not good. Have you got too many delegates and too few speaker sessions? I’ve been to plenty of popular sessions at DevLearn but never been turned away!

Luckily, Jackie got in to Barbara Greenstein and what turned out to be a good session. She defined a game as “A physical or mental competition conducted according to rules with the participants in direct opposition to each other.”

Barbara talked about how we are all kids in adult clothing.

Good game-based learning improves teamwork, accelerates the learning process, provides a learner centred approach and gives the individual control. She then outlined her 8 steps to game design. You can check out Barbara’s recommended reading here.

Moving on, Jackie next dropped in on Josh Cavalier session on Interactive Video for E-Learning. Here are a few links from the session, including some well-known examples of interactive video learning:

Pharrell Williams Happy site

Bob Dylan video

And here’s Kahoot, a cool tool for creating interactive group games, particularly good in a classroom setting.

Meanwhile, in the final sessions of the day, I sat in on Sharon Tipton, who talked about how you don’t need to build social functionality into your LMS in order to encourage social learning. The “21st Century Tools” are already there, in everyday use by our learners. They include curation tools like Feedly, Flipboard, diigo and Pinterest.  Then there are the familiar blogging, video and podcast sites that you can use alone or together to create simple frequent content, from Blogger and WordPress to YouTube, and team sharing tools like Dropbox and Evernote.

Nothing new here, but an important message for LMS providers and administrators. Use the tools that your learners already use, and don’t think everything has to be controlled, monitored and curated. Give your learners the space to learn from each other.

Then it was off for an excellent dinner with our great friend Craig Weiss. If you are at ATD and read this blog, then make sure you look up Craig on the expo floor at Booth #631. There’s no greater expert on the LMS market and he’s open funny, irreverent and very honest too.

More from the land of the blue bear tomorrow.

Top 5 Things We Learned From Our Spring Client Forum

CivIhQSXIAA7bWI.jpg-largeYesterday we welcomed some 60 guests from across L&D, Training T&C and Compliance to the Oval for our 2016 Unicorn Spring Client Day.

But what particularly tasty morsels did we all leave to chew on? Here’s a quick look at 5 things we learned…

1) You don’t need to be Walt Disney to include animation in your learning

With an A3 pad, a few Sharpie markers, an iPhone recording on a two-second time lapse, a tripod and a fairly simple bit of editing software it was demonstrated how it was possible to bring a learning storyboard to life through simple hand drawn animation.

Animation can bring a different, often less polished and more ‘authentic’ feel, to a scene you’re trying to set, perhaps as an intro at the start of a learning programme or induction.

Using hand drawn imagery and limiting text to the use of a few key words, the pictures creates an instant, meaningful connection with the viewer and will linger much longer in the mind than being forced to read a 1,000 word flat text document explaining the same thing. Why PDF it when you can animate it instead? Your learners will thank you we’re sure 🙂

2) How many ‘mobile moments’ do you have in a day?

Apps were a big discussion point. There was a very apparent appetite to give learners ever increasing flexibility in taking ownership of their own learning and mobile technology was seen as the answer.

Fortunately we agree! This is why we’ve introduced our SkillsServe app in addition to the CPD app and the forthcoming Learning Lounge app.

Mike Hawkyard, Amuzo Games MD, explained how our day is now made up of mobile moments and that society’s behaviour in this country is now to pull your phone out of pocket for 2-3 mins at a time, all the time.

Mike Hawkyard shows us our daily mobile moments

Mike Hawkyard shows us our daily mobile moments

People tend not to sit there for 30 minutes using their phone so when your learner is sat on a train or bus faced with so much choice as to which app they are going to open how do you make sure it’s yours? Mobile learning app games, embedded with one core message, can be a very powerful solution.

3) The best learning games are when games are the learning

Everyone knows games and gamification are probably the the hottest issue in learning right now but understandably the fear of the unknown still remains, especially in the financial sector. You don’t want your learners playing car racing games all day when they should be working, do you?

Peter Phillips, Unicorn CEO, showed examples of how game principles can really enhance engagement in learning but, critically, how you stop them tipping into the distraction zone.

amuzoengagaemtn

Peter said one of the really important things about getting best out of games for learning is that the learning IS the game. The very best learning games have the game and learning the same thing. Using a matrix with ‘learning’ on the vertical axis and ‘engagement’ along the bottom he showed that where you get great learning and great engagement you get great learning games.

Have you read our ‘The Future of Game-based Learning’ white paper? Download it here now.

4) Client feedback helps drive platform development 

Ok it sounds all a bit fluffy but we genuinely couldn’t keep evolving SkillsServe in the way that keeps it at the forefront of learning and development delivery if you didn’t tell us what you think, good and bad.

As Mark Jones, Unicorn Commercial Director, highlighted as he ran through the ‘what’s new’ and ‘what’s coming’ bits, many of the features that have been developed or are in development have come about because as a sector you’ve told us you want them.

You can read the full list at our live Client Day blog here – Unicorn Spring Client Day – but if we tell you graphical reporting and an MI dashboard, multi-language reports, diagnostic tools and a SkillsServe app are all recent additions, you can get the sense of the kind of stuff we’re talking about. Stuff that really makes a difference to your everyday working practices.

Don’t forget the SkillsServe blog where all the latest updates and roadmaps are posted – SkillsServe blog

Commercial Director, Mark Jones

Commercial Director, Mark Jones

5) The 21st Century still hasn’t arrived in some firms

We get super excited about all the cool ways new technologies can help us to deliver more effective, engaging learning experiences, but client day served as a timely reminder there is still a huge discrepancy in what some firms are able to deliver that others aren’t.

Whether it’s down mindsets, IT or a combination of both, while some firms can’t wait to bring the latest in learning technologies to their employees others have a reticence to step outside of the traditional. Despite the compelling evidence for the use of video in learning, for example, even getting that allowed is a battle some are still yet to win.

We know there are dedicated people in L&D, T&C and compliance working to educate and inform key individuals further up their company food chain as to what’s possible and how it can impact, but for many this remains a delicate, softly softly approach sometimes involving whole cultural change.

In the meantime we have to keep delivering what they need in the way they need it too.

BLOG: Unicorn Spring Client Day – Follow It Here…

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…

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And we’re underway…

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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….

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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!

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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.

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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.

  1. What should the learning cover?
  2. What are key learning objectives?
  3. 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…

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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.

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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.

Levelling up

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.

Has self-service.

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.

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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.

Crowds pack into the Kia Oval for the Unicorn Spring Client Day (probably)

Crowds pack into the Kia Oval for the Unicorn Spring Client Day (probably)

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 😉