Senior Relationship Manager Sarah Smith explores how one of our major clients is driving learning engagement within their organisation…
For the past three months Unicorn and Paragon Group have been working on a project to re-launch their E-hub (Unicorn LMS) with an update to the homepage and addition of a Career Area.
The move to Theme Builder allows Paragon access to the sliding banner within their portal, which is used to highlight what’s new on the platform:
New additions to the platform, available after the relaunch, include a new ‘My Career’ informational page with links to key resources and video clips of staff that have progressed internally. The Learning and Development team have also created eCreator courses with tips and advice as support tools for staff looking to progress.
New portlets have been added to the homepage to highlight what is on offer to staff, these include: ‘My Career’ – to access the page noted above.
An Appraisal Portlet making the appraisal forms easier to access.
CPD is now configured and a portlet added to highlight staff progress and allow them to add relevant activities to the log should they wish.
The final new addition is the Learning Heroes content. This library is available so that staff have easy access to a range of subjects as and when they want (including topics covering health and safety, personal development, project management and more.) This is Paragon Group’s first step into offering ‘pull’ style learning to staff, and signals a real move into offering a ‘one stop’ shop for staff looking to develop.
To ensure staff engaged with the new look E-hub the L&D team has organised road show events at each of the company’s key locations. As the Paragon’s Senior Relationship Manager, I joined them at their Solihull Branch for the first event.
The event was a great opportunity to hear first-hand what staff thought of the new additions to the platform and the response was overwhelming positive. A few people admitted they only ever used the platform to complete mandatory training but the extra learning available gives them a new reason to check it out.
The L&D team have also set up an initiative that anyone who completes a Learning Heroes course within the first month will be entered into a prize draw. This was deemed a real incentive to try out the courses for the staff that dropped by. The prize draw is a great example of a simple yet effective way to increase engagement with the content and the platform.
The drop-in event lasted 4 hours with laptops set up in the foyer and an email sent around to let staff know that we were there to answer questions. With the added bonus of chocolate for anyone we spoke to the four hours passed quickly with a constant stream of people interested in what we were showing.
If anything, from a Senior Relationships Manger’s point of view, I really saw how a simple explanation from the L&D team about what E-hub offers really changed people’s perceptions of the platform.
Talking to the L&D team they mentioned that staff surveys and feedback had driven the need to add additional resources. Staff had mentioned that additional learning would be useful and a central career area would be of interest. Seeing that action had been taken on the feedback was well received and positive comments included:
‘Looks great and a lot more user friendly’
‘Really like the look of the new areas’
‘There’s so much more on e-hub now’
‘These changes have really created a one-stop shop’
‘I can’t wait to try some of the Learning Hero courses – I have been looking for something like this since I started here’
It has been great working with the Paragon L&D team and Steph Rufino (Unicorn Project Manager) to launch the Career Area and additional functionality, and I wish Paragon every success in engaging the rest of the business with the initiatives.
As an SRM at Unicorn I always look for opportunities to work with my customers to make enhancements to their platform like this a reality. I truly believe that to drive value through the Unicorn LMS you have to look at how your staff engage with what is on offer and not be afraid to highlight tools and support that’s available within your business.
Engaging staff in their own development and offering tools to support this always gets positive feedback and there are really easy ways to achieve this with the LMS.
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:
- Get your hands on the free ‘Learning Ecosphere’ whitepaper.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
Winners announced at 4pm each day, plus bonus prizes for two players picked at random!
- 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!
- 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!
We can’t quite believe it’s been nearly four months since our last Client Forum, but we’re delighted to announce that we’ll be back this October for another one!
Having run these events bi-annually for the past four years, we’ve learnt a fair bit about what makes a successful forum, and we’re very much looking forward to welcoming both old and new faces to this next exclusive date.
The Autumn Forum is a unique opportunity to explore our solutions in more depth, and learn how other HR, L&D and Risk Management professionals across a number of sectors are leveraging digital technology to solve their learning challenges.
With a rage of sessions covering platform functionality, content and industry discussion, the day aims to showcase real client case studies – giving attendees an insight into practical ways to approach their company learning. Instead of offering the kind of lofty general discussion that we often see from learning and development events, the Autumn Forum aims to demystify some of the industry’s latest ‘buzzwords’, and offer delegates practical insight into how to start incorporating new trends into their own L&D journeys.
This Autumn, the Unicorn Client Forum will take place on Tuesday 4th October in the heart of Canary Wharf, and will be brought to you in partnership with our apps studio, Amuzo. The day will be split into main room welcome and keynote sessions, and registration-only breakouts that will give attendees access to specialist slots run by our experts.
More information coming soon. If you have a specific query relating to the Unicorn Forum, please contact your Relationship Manager, or the Unicorn Marketing Department. This is an invite-only event.
Yesterday 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.
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.
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
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.
In the second in our series of video blogs from Learning Technologies, Laura Overton, founder and Managing Director of Towards Maturity, lifts the lid on what top performing business get right with their L&D approach where so many others miss the target.
As Towards Maturity unveils its latest ‘Embracing Change: Improving Performance of Business, Individuals and the L&D Team‘ report, Laura provides her top tips on how 2016 is the year to “do something to make it happen” by following the lead of the best.
“A lot of these top performing organisations don’t get captivated by the latest fad, they go back to business basics. It isn’t the technology that is making the difference, it is how people are thinking about the business needs and then using the right technology in the right place.”
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.
Silo 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.
Learning 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.
Games 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?
Keep an eye out for our exclusive interviews with some of the key players and thought leaders from Learning Technologies.
Unicorn Training was back with a bang at Learning Technologies this year.
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.
Our team of Unicorns was on hand throughout to answer questions, give demos and have a good old natter about anything learning related.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!