Tag Archive | gaming

VIDEO BLOG: Friday Funtime! 3 ‘Boss’ Views On Using Games In Learning

It’s Friday funtime so in the third in our series of video blogs from Learning Technologies, we get the lowdown from some of the leading names who are putting games and gamification at the heart of the learning agenda.

Juliette Denny from Growth Engineering and Amuzo’s Mike Hawkyard and Adrian Smith….ready, set, go!

“Gamification is not a new thing, we’ve been playing games since the dawn of time, but it’s really important you apply gamification in a way that is right for your brand, what you stand for, your cultural goals, visions and values.”

“I’d call games snacking; small bursts of fun, engaging content.”

“Bring them in with the fun, get them engaged, get them excited, and then enhance their ability to play the game by doing learning tasks.”

Want more? You don’t have to wait with further interviews from Learning Technologies at our Unicorn Training TV YouTube channel (click below).

UTTV_feb16_med

BLOG: Top 5 Things We Learned from Learning Technologies 2016

CaXmOcTWIAA5DQW.jpg-large

That’s the behemoth that is Learning Technologies over for the next year, and as always it provided an eye opener or two on many different fronts.

So what did we learn from the 2016 exhibition and conference? Here’s our top 5….

The eLearning industry is thriving – LTs felt properly busy this year, not just in terms of visitors but exhibition stands too. As technologies continue to be intrinsically intertwined with education – regardless of sector – it’s little wonder the big hitters and newcomers alike are seeing the potential in the marketplace. The enduring question for each business remains however, of how do you differentiate yourself and give people something that really stands out? Asides from the biggest players, walking around the exhibition there were few stands really, really clear in what they offered different. There are still some smoke and mirrors out there, things might be looking very shiny, but underneath there are still some weaknesses in usability.

CaXRGrpWIAEFzTw.jpg-largeSilo thinking still exists within the L&D, HR, Talent, Learning Tech space – businesses are still not even talking to other areas of the business, never mind ensuring the UX is seamless when it comes to the technology.  “We only look after the HR side”, “Someone else manages the LMS”, “That’s the talent team’s role”, “Compliance take care of their own content on a different platform”…..etc. The reality is the best integrated solutions can do it all, but this must be recognised from the top.

The talent pool in the market is struggling to keep up with the growth – while it is always lovely to catch up with old buddies in the industry at LTs, where were the new faces? We did meet a few newbies making a big impression in the work they are doing, but more still needs to be done to attract talent, and to improve the skills and knowledge in our sector.

CaStRwfXEAAYPyA.jpg-largeLearning and development is struggling to keep pace with technological change – with technology evolving quicker than even most developers can keep up with what chance, really, have the L&D community got? Embracing new technologies in businesses can often involve major culture change, challenging senior leadership and the long-maintained status quo, a ‘we tell you what we think you need to know’ approach and IT implementation hurdles (perceived or otherwise) so that often computer does say “No”. How the latest technology can best be applied, and scalable / future-proofed, to actually enhance the performance of both staff and ultimately the business is not an overnight thing. It’s our responsibility as an industry to help people better understand where to start, and provide evidence and solutions as to why a certain system or innovation is the right one for them.

CaYHN4MWcAA6S55.jpg-largeGames are still providing the biggest buzz – applying game design and gamification principles to learning is going to revolutionise learner engagement. You couldn’t miss the games vibe as you walked around, whether that was companies offering to gamify your learning or those able to create learning games or both. It was great to meet so many people interested in our own ‘The Future of Game-based Learning’ white paper on our stand too. Not read it yet? Here ya go…..

And just a quick sidenote too….

For all the technological advances and talk of engagement and learner-centred design, the vast majority of conference sessions and exhibition seminars were didactic Powerpoint presentations. What happened to practicing what we preach?

CaXfN9WW4AA59Ba.jpg-largeCOMING SOON:

Keep an eye out for our exclusive interviews with some of the key players and thought leaders from Learning Technologies. 

Available on our UnicornTrainingTV YouTube channel.

News: Game On As Unicorn And Amuzo Partner To Take Learning To Next Level

Cows%20vs%20Sheep%20goalsUnicorn Training and chart topping game studio Amuzo have entered multiplayer mode to unlock the next level in serious games and learning.

Unicorn has invested significantly in Amuzo, with the two award-winning Bournemouth companies combining to bring World Class mobile and cross-platform game experience to educational games for the corporate sector.

Games and gamification are the fastest growth areas in learning and development as firms unlock how game qualities such as problem solving, in-play feedback, rewards, leaderboards and, of course, fun, can bring about effective learning and changes in behaviours and culture.

Gather%20MushroomsThe partnership will enable Unicorn to greater inject game principles into even such unpromising areas as mandatory compliance training, while also taking online its sector leading face-to-face business simulations, making these more readily available in the workplace or on the move.

Peter Phillips, Unicorn Training CEO, said: “We have always been committed to action learning. By investing in a leading games company we are demonstrating that we are serious about serious games.

“Amuzo are World Class game developers and publishers with priceless experience of creating and developing some of the most iconic games of the last 15 years within their team.

“Their creativity, skills and knowledge complement our own proven track record in creating learning that gets results. Together we can make learning fun and more effective at the same time.”

LEGO%20Hero%20Factory%20Invasion%20From%20BelowMike Hawkyard, Amuzo MD, added: Amuzo has a proven track record in producing amazing games across many platforms. We focus on engagement, retention and most importantly, fun.

“Games present players a clear set of goals and a ruleset that must be followed in order to achieve them. They offer instructions, rewards, challenges and upgrades to keep the user motivated on their quest. When people fail, they don’t think twice about pressing the replay button to improve their performance and try again.

“This partnership is a tremendous opportunity to combine both companies’ core skills to enhance the learning experience.”

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.

Cows%20vs%20SheepIn 2013 Unicorn was named ‘Outstanding Learning Organisation’ at the eLearning Awards in its 25th anniversary year.

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.

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

Blog: Let The Games Begin!

Next week, Unicorn with Growth Engineering in partnership with e.Learning Age, will welcome delegates from across the worlds of eLearning, HR and learning and development to London for E-Learning 20-20: Stay Ahead of the Game’. But why? Unicorn CEO Peter Phillips looks at the growing popularity of serious games in learning.

peterscreengrabSerious games and gamification are very much the hot topic in L&D at the moment and will be central to our E-Learning 20-20 workshops at the Oval next Wednesday and Thursday (26 & 27 November).

Serious games and gamification are of course related, but aren’t the same.

To quote keynote speaker Craig Weiss: “In the e-learning world, gamification means leaderboard, points, badges and now, in my opinion, you must have a badge maker, built-in badge library, gaming templates and a reward store or something like that.  

“Gaming in the e-learning world means gaming elements, which is non existent at the present time in a LMS, as in creating a game based course with those gaming elements.”

We have been advocates of the use of serious games for over 25 years as part of our commitment to action learning.

As far back as 1993  we produced a course for Boots, which took the form of a Cluedo-style murder mystery with colourful hand-drawn graphics and more professional look. See what you think……

In 1998 ‘The Great Balloon Race’ course we produced for BACS showed another step-change in graphics with sound and video. Both those courses show that gamification is nothing new.

In fact we might dig out one or two more of our more amusing early efforts for the ‘gaming’ workshop on Thursday (27th).

So why has gaming become such a hot topic in learning? I think the answer is obvious.

The iPad and the smart phone have, in a remarkably short space of time, taken video games out of the bedrooms of teenage boys and into the pockets and bags of all of us. Billions of us, in fact, around the globe.

Video games can be irresistible.unnamed

Many of us, from our teens to an age where we really should know better, have succumbed to the temptation to just try one more level, blast one more screen of zombies or pigs, or find that last missing coin.

I cannot claim to have seen many eLearning courses that command such devotion from their users.

Of course, many video games are nowadays developed with budgets that we in eLearning can only dream of. But the underlying principles of engagement, immersion and design excellence could hardly be more relevant, and are remarkably simple to apply.

There are a few very simple things to remember.

  • Let the learner explore, discover, make choices and feel they have control.
  • Encourage learners to dive into a scenario or case study before they have all the facts, then make the facts available in context.
  • Try to find engaging graphical ways of measuring progress; games continually tell you how you are doing.
  • Don’t be afraid to let your learners fail – users don’t mind ‘losing’ so long as they are encouraged, get positive feedback on their progress, and get challenged to try again. How many times have you done the same level on Candy Crush??
  • Many of the best and most successful video games include the elements of humour and surprise. Even the mildest play on words can come as welcome light relief to the poor benighted compliance student.
  • Use high quality graphics and sound. We are all now so used to high quality intuitive UX from our home and mobile technology that even with limited budgets, the quality of the graphic design is increasingly important to attracting and retaining the learner’s attention.
  • Integrate simple social media tools, add league tables in the LMS, show the learner the last five answers to an open question, and so on.

tomb_raider_original_gameAmongst our guest speakers on Thursday are Adrian Smith and Mike Hawkyard from Amuzo Games.

Adrian, now Amuzo Head of Production, was when one of the men behind the Tomb Raider phenomenon as a co-founder of the development studio Core Design and Executive Producer of Tomb Raider 1-6.

He will be comparing the challenges encountered when launching Tomb Raider to the issues currently presented by smart devices and browser delivery.

Mike, Amuzo MD, will also be explaining how game design can be integrated into training, businesses simulations and HR tools to dramatically increase engagement and learning effectiveness.

Right, now back to those pesky pigs.

We’re looking forward to seeing you at the E-Learning 20-20 workshops.

Not booked yet?

There is still time! Click here for full details.

News: Weiss Sees Future In Games As E-Learning 20-20 Looms

craig weisseLearning guru Craig Weiss has described gamification and education as “the perfect fit” as he prepares for next week’s ‘E-Learning 20-20 – Stay Ahead of the Game’ seminars in London.

Gaming, gamification and the next generation of online learning will be the hot topics as US-based Craig returns to the UK for what is the second E-Learning 20-20 event at The Kia Oval in Kennington on Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 November.

Places are still available for E-Learning 20-20, presented by e.learning age in association with Unicorn Training and Growth Engineering, with delegates attending from across eLearning, HR and learning and development.

Craig highlights the difference between gamification and gaming, with gamification meaning leaderboard, points and badges, while gaming in eLearning means creating a game-based course with gaming elements.

He believes everyone attending E-Learning 20-20 will have their eyes truly opened to the direction the online learning world will be heading over the next five years.

how-gamification-on-LMS-works-300x300He said: “I have seen the ‘game’ phenomena more in terms of adoption in corporate than education, which is befuddling to me. Education and gamification seems a perfect fit.

“Putting the rise of gamification and gaming in the context of other industry trends there has definitely been a faster adoption rate of gamification at least from a consumer standpoint, gaming though has been a slow crawl and is way, way behind.

“Vendors are still slow to fully embrace all the features for gamification, but at the minimum of one feature to two, my data finds well over 50% of vendors. Now, in my opinion, you must have a badge maker, built-in badge library, gaming templates and a reward store or something like that.

“But gaming is presently non existent in an LMS.”

On day one Craig will be joined by gamification authority, An Coppens, Chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation, to highlight the role that gamification will play in the future of learning.

The following day Adrian Smith, one of the men behind Tomb Raider and now Head of Production at Amuzo Games, along with Amuzo MD, Mike Hawkyard, will look at how game design can be integrated into training, businesses simulations and HR tools to dramatically increase engagement and learning effectiveness.

Craig’s apweiss_croppearance at last year’s E-Learning 20-20 proved hugely popular, with delegates enjoying the rare chance to hear his insights and get his views one-to-one in the informal event setting.

He admits he is looking forward to seeing people walk away from this year’s event with their horizons dramatically expanded.

Craig added: “There is no doubt in my mind that by 2020, corporate training will be 90% eLearning.

“We want people to gain information they can use immediately back in the workplace. This includes what is happening now, where is eLearning going and what impact will gamification and technology have on learning.

“The excitement and buzz from people in attendance last year made me want to come back again this year. There was definitely a high interest in acquiring new information and how it can be applied. I love it!”

For more details about ‘E-Learning 20-20 – Stay Ahead Of The Game’ and to book your place today click here

News: Tomb Raider Creator Confirmed For E-Learning 20-20

Adrian LaraDiscover how Lara Croft became a gaming icon when one of the men behind the Tomb Raider phenomenon looks at what eLearning can learn from its global success at the second ‘E-Learning 20-20 – Stay Ahead of the Game’ seminar later this month.

Adrian Smith, a co-founder of the development studio Core Design and Executive Producer of Tomb Raider 1-6, will be comparing the challenges encountered when launching Tomb Raider to the issues currently presented by smart devices and browser delivery when he speaks at The Kia Oval event on Thursday 27 November.

Tomb Raider sold more than 60 million units and, in Lara Croft, created the industry’s most iconic female gaming character of all time.

Adrian is now Head of Production at Amuzo Games, a multi-award winning casual game studio based in Bournemouth. Amuzo MD, Mike Hawkyard, will also be explaining how game design can be integrated into training, businesses simulations and HR tools to dramatically increase engagement and learning effectiveness.

Presented by e.learning age in association with Unicorn Training and Growth Engineering, E-Learning 20-20 takes place over two days with gamification, games and the next generation of online learning the hot topics to be deconstructed and debated by delegates from across eLearning, HR and learning and development.

tr1_ps_cover_front“Getting Lara Croft along is a bit of a coup!” joked Peter Phillips, Unicorn CEO. “But in all seriousness, this really is an exceptional opportunity for people in our industry.

“Adrian and Mike are absolute global experts in the mechanics of successful gaming and we are delighted they are coming to share their unique insight into how game principles can be built into and applied to eLearning on a budget.

“Not only will Adrian and Mike be speaking at the event, but they will also take part in a Q&A, before delegates then get the chance to create their own eLearning game.”

Amongst the other guest speakers taking part in E-Learning 20-20 on Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 November are renowned eLearning guru, Craig Weiss, and gamification expert, An Coppens, award-winning Chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation Ltd, who is speaking on day one.

Amuzo Apps have been played half a billion times on smart devices in the last two years alone. This accounts for well over 6,500 combined years of digital interaction.

For the full event itinerary and to book your place at E-Learning 20-20 – Stay Ahead Of The Game visit https://www.elearningage.co.uk/elearning2020.aspx 

Watch Adrian and his brother Jeremy discuss the creation and evolution of Tomb Raider and Lara Croft

News: Learning Now tv Gets On Board With E-Learning 20-20

Learning Now TVmain-logo, the live-streamed internet TV channel focusing on the world of learning and development, has been announced as the latest associate to get involved in this month’s unique E-Learning 20-20 – Stay Ahead of the Game event.

Places are still available for the event at the Kia Oval in London on 26 and 27 November where gamification, games and the next generation of online learning will be the hot topics as industry experts gather to share views and ideas at this second annual E-Learning 20-20 seminar.

And Learning Now TV will be there to capture all the opinions and discussion points as, amongst other high profile speakers, US eLearning expert Craig Weiss returns to the UK return to discuss the state of the industry, current challenges and what we can expect from the next generation of LMSs.

Founded by industry leader, Colin SteedLearning Now tv is run and produced by some of the L&D world’s leading experts.

Marco Faccini of Learning Now TV said:Learning Now TV is really proud to be associated with this great project in bringing insightful, engaging, up to the minute thinking and current practice to our TV audience. We are really excited about capturing insights and interviews at the workshops and then releasing via the monthly programmes. This can only benefit all in the Learning and Development industry.”

craig weissE-Learning 20-20 –  Stay Ahead of the Game is presented by e.learning age in association with Growth Engineering and Unicorn Training.

On day one Craig will be joined by gamification guru An Coppens, Chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation, to highlight the role that gamification will play in the future of learning.

Day two will see Mike Hawkyard, Managing Director of Amuzo Games, join Craig to explore how the growth of smart devices has transformed the way we find information, learn and share.

Both days will feature break-out discussions and workshops, with day one featuring case studies from Game Retail and Bensons for Beds.

Juliette Denny, Managing Director of Growth Engineering, said: “We’re really excited to get involved with this seminar. From experiencing last year’s event as an attendee, it’s clear that the standard is high and I’m confident delegates will find the days incredibly valuable.”

Peter Phillips, CEO of Unicorn Training, added: “I hope that the event will encourage attendees that it is possible to incorporate gaming and gamification elements in the learning mix at modest costs and with potentially substantial benefits.”

For more details on E-Learning 20-20 – Stay Ahead of the Game, including how to book click here

News: Stay Ahead of Game as Weiss Returns For E-Learning 20-20

craig weissGaming, gamification and the future of learning content will be the hot topics as leading industry voice, Craig Weiss, returns to the UK for the second E-Learning 20-20 event – Stay Ahead of the Game – at the Kia Oval in London on 26-27 November.

Presented by e.learning age in association with Unicorn Training and Growth Engineering, Weiss will be joined by An Coppens, award-winning Chief Game Changer at Gamification Nation Ltd, and Mike Hawkyard, managing director of Amuzo Games, one of the UK’s most successful games development companies, to deconstruct how gaming and gamification are becoming more powerful in learning.

Each of the two days will have a different focus with enduring themes of gaming, gamification and the future of learning content at the core.

Day one will highlight challenges and possibilities faced by L&D professionals in this period of rapid change and reveal what trends to take seriously and what are fads.

Day two will explore how corporate eLearning can stay up-to-date with the huge growth in personal mobile device use, and how serious games can make a real difference to learning effectiveness as they way content is consumed evolves.

Both days feature keynote speakers alongside creative workshops with plenty of time for networking, and provides a unique chance for the eLearning community to come together to network, share knowledge and explore future trends in the industry with the people who are blazing the trail.

For the full itinerary, keynote speaker information and booking details download the event brochure here – E-Learning 20-20 Stay Ahead of the Game

RECAPeLearning Will Be The Industry For Learning By 2020 Says Weiss

VIDEO – Craig Weiss reflects on the future of eLearning at last year’s event.

A Look at MOOCs, VOOCs and Other Worlds with Donald Clark at Learning Live 2014

By Unicorn Senior Relationship Manager Sarah Smith

Donald Clark has over 30 years’ experience in online learning business. One of the original founders of Epic, a Director of the University for Industry, City&Guilds, Cogbooks, Learningpool, Brighton Festival & Dome. He’s also a blogger and speaker as an evangelist for the use of technology in learning and has won many design awards, including the first ‘Outstanding Achievement in E-learning Award‘.

As Donald started I can honestly say I wasn’t sure what to expect from a session title that seemed nebulous and specific all at the same time I thought I would attend as it featured in the ‘Future Stream’ of the event. In actual fact the session touched briefly on MOOCs and VOOCs and was focused on the wider subject of Technology as a Trainer.

I had seen previous articles and talks by Donald including one on the fact that there has been ‘More pedagogic change in 10 years than the last 1000 years’ (check out his TED Talk here) it is about how we learn and how we need to make sure as teachers that we work with those learning not rely on methods of the past.

Old book

Don divided his subject into a number of sections:

From the most basic we can look at Google as a resource. It organises the world’s information in a way to make it universally accessible. It is a data filter used by billions so it has to be acknowledged in the learning process not ignored.

Once you get into Google access to what you need can then be found in hyperlinks to take you directly to relevant information, it appeals to the way the mind works by offering a network of information. Videos will then share evidence to add to the learning process, social media will provide social interaction on the subject and open source learning can then be used to find more information. Essentially the online world can now be our teacher or at least start the learning process.

That is not to say that this makes teachers redundant. In fact it is encouraging teachers or trainers to ‘flip the classroom’. Rather than resorting to old style lecturing where learners are expected to retain high volumes of spoken information, the idea of flipping the classroom is that learners research the subject before arriving, so that the classroom is the place to apply the theory. The classroom is then the safe environment to test understanding and discuss with peers the solution using knowledge already obtained with the teacher providing feedback.

Library

By changing the way technology is used by the trainer, it is meeting the needs of learners of the now and of the future. Whether users realise it or not their attention span is shorter than before but that does not mean they are less interested, it just means they need other ways of being engaged. Examples include how people are now far more used to multi-tasking. It is not uncommon to be on a laptop and mobile phone or talking to someone while you find your way to a location using your phone. It is modern life and a skill that we have developed without thinking about it. Therefore learners can be challenged in the same way.

The final part of the session covered how we could use data to personalise or predict a learner’s journey. This way rather than learners getting an overload of information the information they get will be specific and tailored. At Unicorn we have been doing this for some time with suggested Learning Pathways designed with customers, but typically based more on job role than evidenced experience and knowledge of the individual.

The other option our customers’ frequently use is diagnostic testing – starting a course with a knowledge assessment and where you meet the pass criteria you do not have to complete those elements of the learning. Where you don’t pass then you are automatically enrolled on the learning, i.e. the platform provides you with a personalised learning path. This goes someway to personalise learning but truly adaptive learning that responds to your progress as you learn (common in video games) is still in its infancy in eLearning. It will be interesting to see how far this can be taken in the future.

CIPS%20route%20map

Donald also brought up Virtual Reality as a way of tailoring the learning, or in fact using it for teaching, assessment and certification. In the example of the Oculus Rift the learner places a headset on and is entered into a virtual reality where they must face and pass tasks. A good example used in the USA is for Army training or gas inspectors. By putting learners in the environment they can train safely and learn in realistic situations. It added real training value according to those who have used it and at $300 it is affordable should training warrant it.

Elders

Check out the older generation’s reaction.

At the end of session this video was played and really struck a chord with me about our future and the future of how we learn. This video was prepared by the UK branch of Dorling Kindersley Books and produced by Khaki Films. Originally meant solely for a DK sales conference, the video was such a hit internally that it is now being shared externally. We hope you enjoy it – and make sure you watch it up to at least the halfway point as there’s a surprise!

 

 

How Can An LMS Be a Challenger Brand?

 

With over 600 LMSs globally, how can any of them stand out? Have they not all got similar levels of features and benefits and enjoy similar level of functionality? Mark Jones, Unicorn director, investigates.

markJones-300x135

Challenger brands are commonly talked about in many different business sectors. Virgin Atlantic and Red Bull are great examples, while in UK banking, Tesco Bank, Handelsbanken, MetroBank to name a few are ‘challenger banks’ to the banking sector, attracting customers away from the likes of LBG, HSBC and Barclays. But how can an LMS be a challenger brand?

Great marketing is of course an important ingredient. We love our new Unicornucopia app on iOS and Android. This is where you can find our interactive SkillsServe LMS brochure and factsheets on features such as eCreator, ExamServe and Performance Management/T&C.

APP

Of course not everyone can download an app, so the regular links to our factsheets can also come in handy:

SkillsServe brochure |eCreator  |ExamServe |T&C Solutions |Content Services |Library of Courseware |ComplianceServe

But of course glossy marketing doesn’t actually demonstrate how we are any different, and is unlikely alone to differentiate you from the established names with their own larger marketing budgets.

It is far more important for a challenger to be able to demonstrate a real added value to the customer, and then be able to sustain that differentiation. This is much easier for a challenger if you focus on a particular market sector or vertical. In Unicorn’s case, that is financial services – banking and insurance.

The latest eLearning 24/7 – State of the LMS Industry Global Report reviewed over 600 platforms and ranks the top 50 according to capabilities, features, design, user interface, support and service, and future thinking. We were delighted to be ranked no.1 LMS for financial services worldwide and no.8 for the wider market beyond financial services.

Here is how our global ranking compared to the established market leaders.

MJ-ARTICLE-v2

The challengers are on the march
Note how the other ‘challenger’ on this list – Kallidus – has also improved its ranking substantially, while Growth Engineering’s unique gamification platform ranked second overall. Some would say it’s the David and Goliath scenario! In reality, the majority of corporate LMSs have similar levels of features and benefits and enjoy similar level of functionality in 90% of what they do, so differentiating yourselves can be difficult, but here are some suggestions based on feedback from our customers…

Focus on service not just software
Offering a personal service, using a consultative approach to understand requirements, and a flexible, agile approach to implementation and delivery.

The personal touch
The ‘bespoke service’ approach continues beyond implementation, with a Help Desk in its true sense, not just a technical support number/website. Flexibility, responsiveness and deep understanding of the client’s requirements can help you build strong barriers to entry and mutually beneficial long term relationships.

User experience (UX)
Our in-house Creative Design, UX and developers work closely together (the teams sit together) to ensure the user is at the forefront of any SkillsServe feature, both from a usability perspective and making it visually appealing, mirroring the customer’s brand guidelines and culture.

Competitive pricing
An obvious one. We have no hidden charges. Our SaaS pricing model includes; hosting, support, maintenance, unlimited administrator accesses, unlimited content authors for the built in authoring tools, and all features of the LMS. We don’t charge per feature, per course upload, or by file size amounts, or extra for admin users and customer support. You may have a different pricing model but, just as with UX, the golden rule is KISS.

Updates/new releases
Listen to your customers and prioritise your development programme accordingly.

Many firms tell us they have invested in an LMS previously and are often still on the version they first implemented. In some cases this is a version which is no longer supported by the provider. This quite often means lack of functionality, poor user experience, and in the worst case a break in service. To add to the pain, many of the firms charge to upgrade to the latest version, or in some cases the upgrade means they lose their customisation, or have to pay to have it re-developed.

We recommend that you give all customers access to the latest version at no additional cost.

A final word
So yes, today’s LMS market has plenty of room for ‘challenger brands’ but personally I feel too many of those 600+ offer just more of the same. While you may not be able to match the marketing or development budgets of the ‘big boys’ you can be more nimble, more customer focused, and more creative. So, come on, let’s have more genuine challengers.