Tag Archive | Peter Phillips

Unicorn LMS is #1 for Financial Services, and #3 globally!

After what can only be described as a fantastic Learning Technologies show this month, we’re also delighted to announce that Unicorn LMS has been ranked third in the world – and top overall for financial services for the third successive year. The news comes as Craig Weiss releases his latest Top 50 LMS Report for 2017.

Bronze LMS 2017 from Craig Weiss for Unicorn LMSThe much-anticipated annual report analyses more than 1,000 LMSs from across world and looks at each system’s niche assets to rank the best of the best.

It’s been a big 12 months for Unicorn LMS, which has not only undergone a name change from SkillsServe but has also again upped the ante, particularly in terms of usability and mobile integration, as acknowledged by Weiss in unveiling his report.

“The name is changing from SkillsServe and the product stayed the same. Wait, scratch that, it has gotten way better,” he said.

“A new UI/UX makes a huge difference for this very strong system for compliance / regulatory (regardless of your vertical). If you are in financial services mind you, this is a system you should be looking at.”

The report also singles out the newest addition to Unicorn LMS’ compatible app suite, Minds-I, for special attention, with Weiss describing it as “by far the coolest thing I’ve seen this year”.

Minds-i learning reinforcement app from Unicorn

Minds-i harnesses the power of informal learning by enabling firms to take the best of the web and expertly curate content on topics of their choice to encourage the learner to explore. Learning becomes self-directed, user driven and personal while its just-in-time micro-bite content makes learning relevant in a real world context.

Unicorn LMS, which is set to get its official re-launch this April, first featured in the Top 50 LMSs Report top five in 2015 and has moved up a place each year since while holding on to the best financial services LMS throughout that time too.

Peter Phillips, Unicorn CEO, said: We are honoured to have been ranked number one in the world for our sector for the third year in succession.

The improvement in our overall global ranking to a new high of #3 in 2017 reflects Unicorn’s commitment to continued investment in improving our LMS, to anticipate and meet the developing needs of our customers.

I would also like to congratulate the other LMS products in Craig’s top 3, Growth Engineering and eLogic, both of which are outstanding solutions in their chosen markets. It is particularly pleasing to see two UK companies in the top three!”

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?

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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.

Unicorn Training Shortlisted for Two Learning Technologies Awards

As another year of the industry’s most prestigious awards rolls round, we are delighted to announce that Unicorn has been shortlisted in two categories: Learning Technologies Supplier of the Year and Best Enterprise Platform Implementation.

“The Learning Technologies Awards celebrate excellence in learning technology and e-learning and have been running for ten years. There are multiple awards categories with gold, silver and bronze awards presented at a gala evening in London.” 

Best Enterprise Platform Implementation:
Clydesdale and Yorkshire bank with Unicorn Training
Having shared their experiences at our last Client Forum, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank once again channelled their vision, challenges and achievements into a strong submission that examines their L&D journey with Unicorn. Recognising the hard work and passion of HR-leads Stuart Snowden and Beccy Gilpin, the shortlist for best platform implementation is testament to just how much progress has been made to transform internal learning processes within CYB.

Tweet from LT announcing Unicorn and CYB as having made the shortlist

 

It is also a well-deserved nod to the committed work of our project team, and Clydesdale’s Relationship Manager, Sarah Smith.

The introduction of myLearning has made a considerable impact on all employees, enabling the Bank to offer personal development opportunities to our employees whilst using a robust, innovative platform that is easy to use providing an excellent employee experience.
 – Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank

Beccy Gilpin, Learning Channels Manager said: “Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank are delighted to be short-listed for this award. It recognises the hard work and commitment from our internal project team and the partnership and co-operation between the Bank and Unicorn Training to deliver a fantastic new learning platform for the Bank”.

Learning Technologies Supplier of the Year: Unicorn Training
Having enjoyed a busy year that has seen Unicorn acquire casual games studio, Amuzo, we are also thrilled to have made the cut for Learning Technologies Supplier of the Year. Our submission in this category considers our dual role as training and regulatory experts in the Financial Services space, and leaders in innovative learning design that strives to leverage the latest available technologies in the solutions we deliver to our valued clients.

“In these exciting times for eLearning, Unicorn is making an important contribution to transforming standards of behaviour and customer service in the financial sector,” says Peter Phillips, Unicorn Training CEO. “In this submission we sought to illustrate how Unicorn has been able to lead our clients towards more effective, innovative learning solutions including Apps, personalised learning, collaboration and gamification, while at the same time recognising their abiding needs for high quality, secure, consistent, managed compliance solutions”.

We look forward to entering the next round of judging for these categories, and would like to congratulate our peers, partners and all those who made the shortlists in this year’s highly competitive awards!

Tweet from LT congratulating all who made the shortlist for the awards

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.

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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

NEWS: Unicorn Signs Up For Awards Headline Sponsorship

lt_awards_logo1_resizedUnicorn 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.

peterp_headshot“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.

awards-winning

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

5 Top Takeaways From Learning Technologies Summer Forum 16

Despite the weather feeling a little more like October than June, today was the annual Learning Technologies Summer Forum event at Kensington Olympia. Known throughout the industry as the smaller Summer cousin of the main February LT show, June’s date certainly still packs a punch – and today was no exception!

Themes within this year’s main LT conference included Leadership, Organisational Hierarchy and the place of Social and Collaborative Tech in L&D. There are some really excellent resources available if any of these themes catch your eye – and be sure to give Jon Husband, Nigel Paine and Julian Stodd a lookup for more on this.

LTSF conference programme
Outside the conference theatre, the exhibition floor really came to life when the four open auditorium areas opened to welcome a plethora of speakers from right across the industry. Here, a broad range of topics were on offer– everything from traditional hacks for workforce training, through to companies debuting the latest in VR solutions for corporate learning. With any event of this kind, you’re inevitably going to find yourself sitting through a few thinly veiled sales pitches – but aside from the usual hustle and bustle of the expo environment, we unearthed some really interesting takeaways. Here, in no particular order, are our Top 5:

1 Learning teams want to take lessons from marketers

As a marketer myself, my opinion (and indeed expertise) sits in a realm that is widely considered to be a little separate to many of the seasoned L&D professionals that make up the yearly LT delegate list. But one comment I heard today did stand out; and it was a comment about the quality of eLearning: many of us expect – and indeed are shown – great things when it comes to content from our digital agencies and marketers alike; so why should we regard our eLearning content any differently? The idea that the benchmark for quality lives solely within our own immediate industry is a grave misconception; for learning to be truly embedded in social and collaborative workflows, its integration needs to be seamless. I suppose it’s true; eLearning sometimes gets a bad rap, and more often than not it’s a kneejerk reaction from the end users – not necessarily the L&D professionals. When we build learning materials, we need to consider the quality that we are used to as consumers in our own day-to-day lives, and not be tempted to ring-fence the learning experience as a separate entity. If we are shown quality in one sphere, we come to expect it in others – and if we ignore the forward leaps in terms of quality across the board, we only serve to fall further behind.
Takeaway: Get inspired. Quality of content ought to be led by a sphere beyond what we might traditionally consider the business of ‘elearning’.

2 Disruption is talked about more than it is done

Ask any learning company to talk about their business in strategic or forward-thinking terms and they’ll mention disruption. ‘Disruption’ is everywhere; but what does this mean? And crucially, who’s actually doing it? We see a lot of our peers talking about their own revolutionary ideas for learning content; or evangelising about the need for organisational shakeup in L&D, but does anybody else start feeling that it gets a little hollow? I’ll come back to the marketing thing: I’m a marketer; I like results. You can have a great idea, but in my world it’s not golden until it’s working. There is undeniably enthusiasm exuding from the guys who are up there talking the talk; but I believe it would be more exciting, engaging and relevant to see this theory turn into practice, and understand how disruptive notions in L&D actually work for organisations.
Takeaway: Stop talking, start doing. Let’s see some action!    

image showing a conference hall from the back
3 Beware the buzzwords

There is an irony in the uptake and use of ‘industry buzzwords’ (gamification being the most obvious offender) vs the desire to be perceived as ‘straight talking’ and ‘no bullsh*t’.

Stick around the L&D community long enough and you’ll inevitably start hearing the latest buzzwords everywhere you go. To be clear: there’s nothing wrong with this, but the number of learning companies jumping on the band wagon, and then confusingly (simultaneously) rejecting the relevance of these terms feels a little odd. We heard a lot of these on again/off again pitches amongst the content today, and with any shifting industry it’s key to unravel what’s jargon for the sake of jargon, and what’s actually relevant to the customer.
Takeaway: Interrogate what businesses actually mean when they pitch. What do these things really mean for your organisation and your L&D? And do the businesses you speak to know?

 4 Learning teams might be designing for ‘Gen Y’, but they are not represented by them

It might be my age, but as an attendee in my mid-20s I couldn’t help realising that in spite of all the earnest talk around designing for the future, not a single presentation we saw featured a person from the 16-30 group. Anecdotes from experienced (and yes, older) L&D professionals about their experiences learning the ins and outs of new social technologies from their kids might be endearing to their immediate peers, but the charm doesn’t translate to us young professionals. We’ve grown up with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, so these ‘new ways’ to collaborate and communicate are as embedded as they get from the word go. Whilst there’s some golden stuff out there from learning developers of all ages and backgrounds, it would be refreshing to see the troublesome group that the industry is trying to keep up with and design for actually represented within the L&D community.
Takeaway: Let’s get some of these GenY-ers on the programme!

5 The real conversations happen in the twittersphere

Even if you couldn’t make it today, I urge you to type the #LTSF16 hashtag into your Twitter search bar and have a little scroll. Whilst we’ve seen a few collaborative apps that have invited audience participation in just this kind of environment, too often the one-way format of exhibitor presentations means that unless you want to loiter with intent at the end, you’re likely to completely miss the actual discussion. Today alone, we’ve discovered some great pockets of discussion and commentary using the LT hashtag, and platforms like this continue to be excellent for conversation, debate and exchange.

Want to get involved? Follow us and join the discussion: @Unicorntraining @AbiPears @ChrisTedd @jkennedy2000 @PIPUNICORN

image of a screen with 4 on the wall next to it

Top 10 Highs Of Unicorn’s Record Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Million+ course activities were completed on SkillsServe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 😉