As our loyal customers and partners will know, the Unicorn Learning Management System – SkillsServe – has been an integral part of our offering for many years. Built on nearly thirty years of experience supporting organisations’ often complex learning needs, SkillsServe has continually evolved to support the changing regulatory requirements that have characterised the Financial Services and related industries in recent years.
When we launched our first LMS (“StudyServe”) back in 2005, little did we know that a decade later, its successor SkillsServe would be ranked number one in the world for the financial sector. Two years on, the platform has continued to evolve and we still hold that #1 position, and are ranked #3 globally among all LMS platforms.
But guess what? Things are changing – from this month, SkillsServe is officially being renamed as Unicorn LMS.
Why are things changing?
With a complete overhaul of the corporate website, brand new mobile products set for launch, and a serious drive to build our custom content services all in the pipeline in 2017, we’re making a concerted effort to bring clarity across the Unicorn portfolio.
Renaming SkillsServe as Unicorn LMS forges a tighter link between our award-winning learning management system and the Unicorn brand – as well as reflecting our commitment to quality and simplicity across all our products and services (doing what it says on the tin, some might say!)
What is changing?
Starting with the rollout of the new website in the next few weeks, all Unicorn sales and marketing materials will refer to ‘Unicorn LMS’ instead of SkillsServe – including support documents, the blog, and the help forum.
We will be upgrading the SkillsServe app to offer more features and functions, as well as a slick new look and feel. From this point on, the SkillsServe App will be renamed as ‘Learning Path’.
Finally, as well as our Helpdesk and Relationship Management teams adopting the name ‘Unicorn LMS’ in communications and general conversation, all new single tenancy client sites from this point forward will be implemented on the unicornlms.com domain name.
What is not changing?
Existing customers using a skillsserve.com domain name will continue to use this. We have made this decision because many clients have integrations that depend on this and we don’t want to cause unnecessary problems for them.
ComplianceServe and ContentServe will remain as they are and there are no plans to rebrand these products.
What should you do?
If you are an existing customer and you’d like more information about the rebranding of SkillsServe to Unicorn LMS, please don’t hesitate to contact the Helpdesk or speak to your Relationship Manager.
Otherwise, simply keep using your LMS as you were, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled as we get closer to the launch of our new public website! Want to always be in the loop? Make sure you’re subscribed to this blog (all subscriptions will be carried across to our new Unicorn blog when the new site arrives.)
Although it still feels like 2017 has only just arrived, we’re very nearly into May, which means it’s time for our next Client Forum!
Thanks to a brand new structure (and a little help from a beautiful City venue) our Autumn Forum in October last year was by far our best to date, and we can’t wait to share what we’ve been up to since then.
As part of our commitment to great customer support, we believe it’s important to keep running these forums in order to give you the chance to hear about new products and services, industry trends and future developments first hand. With this in mind, the next Unicorn Client Forum will be held on Thursday 8th June, at the O2 Intercontinental Hotel, 1 Waterview Drive, London.
The Summer Forum will offer a range of sessions from our Senior Relationship Management Team, Product Managers, Executive Team, Clients and Special Guests (keynote). Following the launch of our Learning Ecosphere whitepaper at Learning Technologies back in February, we will continue to address themes of new technology, engagement and changing behaviours in corporate learning.
Throughout the day we will also be offering sessions on Cyber Awareness, GRC (including T&C, GDPR and MiFID II) and showcasing our brand new reinforcement app, Minds-i, following its official launch at ATD in Atlanta.
A full session breakdown and registration portal will be available this week and can be found by contacting your Unicorn Relationship Manager, or the Marketing Team.
**Please note that we will be starting this event late morning to allow you time to vote in the UK General Election. We will have a live feed throughout the day, and anyone concerned about timings can still register for a postal vote by following this link.**
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.
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!
This year, we’re delighted to have used LT as an opportunity to launch our latest concept – the 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.
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!
In fact, one of the highlights of the day was definitely awarding the Unicorn prizes to our top scoring players!
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
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.
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
Rolling out eLearning within your organisation can bring about many challenges. Listed below are the top 6 obstacles you could face and our quick tips as to what you can do to overcome them.
#1 Limited Tech Experience:
For non-tech savvy individuals, there is sometimes a fear that comes with having to complete online learning. This is often rooted in the preconception that in order to complete digital tasks, a certain level of technical knowledge is required.
What you can do: create online demos and webinars that offer help and guidance when it comes to accessing and utilising the Learning Management System in question.
#2 Past Experience:
We have all been there, dreading eLearning due to bad (or worse, boring) past experiences.
What you can do: Get your learners excited about your eLearning programme. Stress the advantages of the course in advance and explain how it will benefit them in their daily lives. Be clear about what they should expect when they undertake the course.
#3 Lack of Motivation:
Linking in with boring past experiences, a lack of motivation can be one of the biggest push backs when implementing eLearning.
What you can do: Get your learners actively involved and engaged in the learning process via gamification. At the most basic level, examples of this might be the inclusion of badges, certificates, points and leadership boards to give the learners motivation to achieve the desired outcomes.
#4 Challenging eLearning Materials:
Easy learning means learners become bored. Difficult learning means learners become frustrated and may just give up! So how do you find the balance?
What you can do: Research your audience and carry out pre-assessments (diagnostics) to find the ideal level of challenge.
#5 Lack of Community Involvement:
elearning can be perceived as a lonely task…sitting behind your desk clicking through the content…
What you can do: Build an online community group where learners can create forums, open up discussions on topics and share knowledge and tips.
#6 Learner Boredom:
There is no magical solution to take away the boredom factor altogether. However, you can take necessary steps to make eLearning more inspiring and engaging:
What you can do: identify the learners’ expectations, needs and goals. Include real life challenges, scenarios and problem-solving cases. Develop personal learning paths that allow online learners to choose their own learning activities (self-directed learning).
Obstacles organisations face often go beyond the 6 points listed above. As an organisation invested in the continued development of your employees – both professionally and personally – it is important to help them overcome the misconceptions and barriers of eLearning.
Unicorn have renewed our headline sponsorship of the Learning Technologies Awards in 2016 and we are delighted to be back!
“The Learning Technologies Awards are without doubt the most prestigious and respected in our sector and their continued growth mirrors that of the learning technology industry itself,” said CEO, Peter Phillips.
“Unicorn has seen many ups and downs in our 29 years, but I can’t recall a time when the potential for technology to enhance and transform workplace learning was greater.
“The infrastructure is now here to integrate formal and informal learning, with personalised learning support, learning games, collaborative learning and just in time reinforcement, combined with high quality analytics. Unicorn will be at the forefront of this revolution as will many of our fellow sponsors and the Learning Technologies Award winners.”
Unicorn’s learning solutions are marked by outstanding creativity, reliability and security. Our enterprise LMS, SkillsServe, continues to be ranked global #1 for the financial sector, and sits at the heart of a unique compliance and CPD solution that delivers the highest quality learning to organisations across a range of industries.
Our partnership with multi award-winning games studio Amuzo has also changed the way custom content can be delivered, and has facilitated some of the most original and innovative learning games, Apps and business simulations on the market.
Unicorn has a proud track record at the Learning Technologies Awards – formerly the elearning Awards – winning, amongst other awards, eLearning Designer of the Year (Sam Yates), Outstanding Learning Company, Outstanding Achievement (Henry Phillips) and eLearning Development Company of the Year in the past five years.
With over 25 years’ experience in the L&D space, Unicorn continues to challenge learners and training managers alike to reimagine the corporate learning experience. Find out more about the awards at www.learningtechnologiesawards.co.uk
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)…
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.
…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.
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.”
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 ☺
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.
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.
8 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.
…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.
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.
Just when we had calmed down from discovering our SkillsServe learning and performance platform has been ranked as the World’s top LMS for financial services for the second year running, it was confirmed SkillsServe has also gone up a place in the 2016 rankings to FOURTH overall!
As he unveiled his prestigious, annual Top 50 LMSs Report 2016 last week, leading global eLearning analyst and consultant, Craig Weiss, said of SkillsServe: “Congrats to Unicorn Training #4 LMS 4 2016 – who knew a LMS geared towards Financial Services could be so modern & robust? Wait, you just did!”
Last year SkillsServe made the top five for the first time ever, but the same dedication to evolving the platform over the past 18 months, which saw it consolidate its position as the top platform for financial services, has also kept it ahead of the pack in the overall field too.
Over the past year Unicorn has launched its SkillsServe App, introduced powerful diagnostic tools, made major improvements to the platform design, including visual reporting, brand new catalogue and content management, activity ratings and feedback, and is rolling out multiple languages.
Peter Phillips, Unicorn CEO, said: “We had hoped to see the work that has gone into maintaining SkillsServe’s position as the top LMS for financial services would be reflected in the overall findings too so we are obviously absolutely delighted to have seen SkillsServe move up another position to fourth overall.
“Learning Technologies 2016 last week reminded us just how much competition is out there, with more and more companies looking to capitalise on the rapid hand-in-hand growth of technology in education.
“But longevity, experience and trust are things that can’t be built overnight and we will not be resting on our laurels as we look to maintain our position at the forefront of LMS innovation and development over the next 12 months and beyond.”
At over 500 pgs, with 40+ carefully considered LMS profiles, featuring exclusive details and data, annual sales and Y2Y growth, plus lots, lots more, Weiss’ Top 50 LMS Report is considered the best authoritative and independent guide for global LMS vendors. Weiss himself was again recently voted the most influential person in the corporate eLearning sector.