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.
The 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 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!”
The biggest event in the L&D calendar is just around the corner, and we’re delighted to say we’ll be back for another year at Learning Technologies! This year’s show will run across the 1st and 2nd February at Kensington Olympia, and is set to welcome more than 7000 visitors from across a huge range of industry sectors.
As well as being joined by our partners from Amuzo for an extra focus on innovation in the games and app space, this year’s show will focus on the launch of our revolutionary new concept – the Learning Ecosphere.
The explosion in digital and social technologies holds great promise for L&D professionals, and our 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, the task of identifying the truly worthwhile from the hot air, and determining how these opportunities fit with the learning strategy for your business has arguably never been more perplexing.
How do you identify what is relevant, affordable and good value, in the context of the practical day to day demands on your time, budgets and resources?
The Unicorn ‘Learning Ecosphere’ reimagines learning in the context of Enterprise-focused ‘Push / I must learn’ and learner-focused ‘Pull / I want to learn’. It offers interpretations of how 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.
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?
Register for free entry to the Learning Technologies and Learning and Skills 2017 exhibitions and seminars at www.learningtechnologies.co.uk
Yes, you heard it here first – we’re delighted to announce that we’ve teamed up with the folks over at Learning Heroes to bring you a brand new suite of content.
Having recently rebranded from their previous incarnation as Accredited Skills, Learning Heroes represent a business very much after our own hearts, who put engagement right at the centre of what they do. Rather than building lengthy eLearning courses, Learning Heroes’ approach focusses on short, characterful learning videos that deliver information in a way that is both fun and easy to digest.
In addition to our core compliance library, Cyber Security and Microsoft suites, this brand new material covers topics such as Health and Safety, HR, Sales, Project Management and Personal Development.
Collectively known as the ‘Workplace Skills’ library, this content is now available to our new and existing clients through our award-winning LMS.
“We loved what Leaning Heroes were doing as soon as we saw it”, says Mark Jones, Unicorn Commercial Director. “Their grasp of creating fun, bitesize learning fits perfectly with our vision to deliver effective learning that is outside the ordinary”.
“Our clients have highlighted a desire for high quality workplace skills courses to be included in our off-the-shelf suite and we believe Learning Heroes will more than deliver on giving them exactly what they want and make it memorable.”
Tom Moore, Head of Strategic Partnership Management at Learning Heroes, continued, “We are really excited to be saving the financial services sector from boring eLearning! It’s great that Unicorn Training share the same vision as us, so partnering with them to create a collection was an easy decision.”
Here at Unicorn HQ we have a favourite quote: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Originally attributed to Benjamin Franklin, it’s not just a tag line, it’s become something of a mantra to live by…
In the rapidly changing world of digital technology, we’ve got smart-device overload. Nowadays, the possibilities for deploying learning are just about endless, as people’s unrestricted access to the latest tech means almost complete ubiquity of smart phones, tablets and portable computers. Whilst this fact presents new and exciting possibilities for changing the ways we deliver and consume learning, the basic principles that underpin the learning experience remain for the most part unchanged. What Mr Franklin aptly hit upon in his quote of which we are so fond is the idea that in order to catalyse real behavioural (or ‘real life’) change, the learning experience must be both memorable and immersive.
Enhancing knowledge retention and designing learning interventions that reinforce and give practical context goes beyond simply making courses compatible with the latest operating systems, devices and browsers. Instead, we need to go deeper into the psychological process that underpins learning and shift our understanding of the learning problem from a simple question of delivery to something more fundamental.
The Psychology Bit
Taking into account the brain’s capacity to absorb, retain and actively recall information, the challenge we consistently face is to find ways to deliver learning that percolates beyond the superficial layers of a person’s memory and taps into the longer term psyche. We know with the move away from traditional, PC-based linear training towards something more dynamic, that learning requirements are changing. Rather than ‘box-ticking’, organisations increasingly recognise the need to deliver learning that goes deeper to yield real behavioural change.
In order to achieve this, learning solutions must tailor educational experiences to navigate the potential pitfalls of the learning process without causing cognitive overload, or allowing learners to simply forget what they have been taught. In order to achieve this, it’s important to deliver learning experiences in digestible chunks, with follow-up and reinforcement that means learners are then encouraged to use and consolidate the learning soon after the original intervention. In the context of compliance training, this approach begins to reposition learning not simply as an annual necessity, but rather as something embedded in the regular activities of learners.
Getting Ahead of the Curve
Here at Unicorn, we believe that one such way to deliver learning that sticks is through the use of mobile Apps.
The average iPhone user unlocks their phone an average of 80 times per day. -Business Insider
Portable technology is increasingly synonymous with modern life – presenting a unique opportunity to deploy learning content straight to a user’s pocket wherever they may be. By understanding these ‘mobile moments’, we have the opportunity to form the framework for including mobile applications into wider learning strategy. Rather than looking to deploy full learning content to mobile, a more effective proposition is to focus Apps on learning reinforcement using microbites of engaging content – short videos, polls, quizzes, check-lists – with simple gamification elements, nudges and prompts to encourage regular revisits.
Apps then become a key element in a blended solution. Whilst a person might still be expected to complete a mandatory 30-minute course on a particular subject, the added functionality of an App means that we’re now able to add in extra layers to the learning experience.
When we start to reimagine learning as non-linear, we open up opportunities to draw in other psychological principles: whether the challenge and reward balance; social collaboration and knowledge sharing, or ‘just in time’ content that gives users the ability to reference bitesized supplementary learning content for reference in everyday situations. As products of modern society, we are already part-programmed to rely on Apps and other forms of mobile interactions in our day-to-day lives –social networking, news, or even the simple use of a fitness or alarm App. If learning and development professionals can leverage mobile technology as a powerful additional channel through which to deliver timely, relevant learning content, then we are already going some way towards combatting the forgetting curve and making sure that learning sticks.
Our partnership with world class games studio, Amuzo, means that we are already seeing the benefits of extrapolating the ‘sticky’ elements of game and app design into wider learning programmes. Once the underpinning psychological principles involved in gaming are understood, the potential for the scope and context of their application is limitless. Read more about apps in learning here.
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.
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!
Unicorn’s Sam Yates – who won eLearning Designer of the Year at the 2014 eLearning Awards – is just one of the presenters at the upcoming event.
The eLearning Network is involved with judging the prestigious eLearning Awards and many of the judges will be on hand to answer your questions and make recommendations on how you could improve the chances of your projects taking home the big prizes.
The session will also showcase a selection of previous award winners and you’ll get to hear from the people who created them. The agenda for the day includes:
- An overview of the judging process and what it takes to win (Tony Frascina, Objective Training Design)
- How engaging video can be produced in a quick and engaging way (Martyn Stevenson-Read, BT)
- An overview of a 2 x gold winning eLearning project for the Royal Yachting Association (Richard Hyde, Mind Click and Jane Hall, RYA)
- Hands on round table session to design an award winning eLearning Award submission
- Pushing the boundaries of compliance training at Channel 4 (Owen Rose, Acteon)
- Ensuring compliance with tough internal policies at Honda (Steve Finch, CDSM and Neil Clapham, Honda)
How award winning eLearning gets made
Wednesday 29 April 2015 from 10am to 4pm (BST)
BT Tower, London
Ahead of the e-learning awards on Thursday 6 November, where the eCreator has been shortlisted for Most Innovative New Learning Product, we caught up with Unicorn’s Head of Content Development Laura Hooper for a chat about the world of content development.
How did you get into eLearning?
By accident! During university I was working at Staples part-time on the copy centre. One day a guy came in just before close and wanted some binding done. It took us until after closing time, so while I was finishing up, we started talking… he ended up offering me a job! It sounded a little uncertain and needing money to get through Uni I didn’t take him up on it… but then I left Staples on a point of principle and thought “Eeek! I need work!”
So, I gave Julian a ring and he offered me a month’s trial in the eLearning team (which consisted of him) at Marton House, a blended learning training company. I got to learn software like Director and Authorware, built my first project for Liverpool Victoria and never looked back! Ten years later, I made the move to Unicorn, which was four years ago. A year ago I was asked to become the Head of Content Development.
Describe a typical day.
A typical day consists of many things! As well as managing my teams – Instructional Design and Development, organising and facilitating meetings and creating documentation for different initiatives we’re currently working on. As product owner for the eCreator, I collate feedback, work with UX and create storyboards and user guides. After settling into my new role, I’ve now got the chance to move forward with new initiatives in content development, such as creating new templates in Yudu, the eCreator, Storyline and for tailored bespoke learning.
What would be your dream content development project?
A serious gamification project, with decision making and leaderboards. We have an idea for a ‘knowledge factory’ where you put in a quantity and make decisions in running the factory – meet characters, read the manual, answer questions etc.. and at the end you see what you’ve managed to produce! This is one of many ideas we’ll be working on as part of Unicorn Labs, our new internal initiative to develop exciting passion projects.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Learning something new all the time – always looking at new technologies and ideas to incorporate into our learning.
What advice would you give someone who wants to work in content development?
If you’re a nerd, it’s great! If you like a challenge of making heavy duty content enjoyable and entertaining and finding new ways for immersing users in the learning, then content development is for you. We live in a fast-changing technological world so keeping up-to-date with the latest software is also essential.
If you weren’t Head of Content Development at Unicorn what would you be doing?
Creating/developing something! Either eLearning or games.
What is the eCreator?
The eCreator is our in-house rapid development tool that is integrated into SkillsServe. It was launched in September with a set of twelve templates. Anyone can select a template type for a new page and add content/imagery to create informational based courses. It will evolve as time progresses.
How did you get involved in the eCreator project?
Rich Armitage (Unicorn’s Head of Creative Design) and I were creating a template-based system for our eLearning. After the Chartered Insurance Institute asked for updates to the eCreator, some of these templates became incorporated into the new template driven system. I built the user display and editor files, alongside Jim who built in the SkillsServe functionality.
What’s next for the eCreator?
Many exciting things including on-going UX enhancements, added functionality, new templates, and bundles of more interactive templates. Basically, watch this space!
What does it take to become an eLearning award winner? Unicorn‘s Senior Relationship Manager Sarah Nutley investigates.
I was invited to find out what it takes to be an award winner at the eLN event “Proven Recipes for Learning Success”. It’s fair to say that it was full of the unexpected! The E-Learning Awards are open to organisations of all sizes and industries worldwide. You can enter one or more of their categories here. They include awards for innovation, content, blended learning, LMS, compliance and outstanding organisations and individuals.
At the event we heard from the people behind the winning entries, both clients and developers. Within the session was insight into the world of health care, booksellers, the policing effort at London Olympics and Emergency Capacity Building Projects in the developing world. The scope for using eLearning will never cease to impress or astound!
Towards Maturity provided the criteria the winners were judged on:
- 2 way business alignment: Learning supports business needs
- Respond faster: Learning is delivered in time to support business needs
- Transform training: Blend a wide range of learning technologies to redefine the course
- Develop learning culture: Staff know-how to productively connect and share
- Integrate learning & talent: Learning technologies actively support the on boarding process
- Flexible learning: Users encouraged to use own devices for learning
- Customer Activated Learning: Users involved in learning design
- Simplify: L&D are using 57% more learning technologies than 5 years ago but 35% of users can’t find what they need!
- Equip L&D as agents of change: Provide continuing professional development to learning professionals
The higher an organisation is rated across the categories the more likely they are to win. If anything the one overriding factor that was evident with all the winners was that they had the buy-in of the board or a senior stakeholder allowing them to fulfil the criteria. Their engagement was key from the start of any project. Most of the training interventions that won were part of companywide initiatives that included communication strategies to engage the audience before implementation and then gain support from managers at all levels. In most cases the projects were used to change the hearts and minds of users, and all the winners found a way to demonstrate that when eLearning is utilised it can add value to people’s day jobs.
Learning innovation, done well, delivers bottom line results!
One of the winning entries (taking 4 awards in total) was an engaging piece showing users how to implement CPR. If you haven’t tried this, do – lifesaver.org.uk (it’s downloadable for iPads.)
Lifesaver goes beyond eLearning, crossing into gamification and simulation and the learning has a memorable impact. This piece raised a significant point about supply and demand however.
While this type of learning – submersing the user straight into a situation – is impressive as it’s scenario training at its very best through crisis simulation and time pressure, is there a demand for it? The Unicorn Instructional Designers were very interested in how we can incorporate this into our work should the need arise.
Other winners focused on ways to engage users including;
- Developing blended programmes
- Converting the learning to Bite sized chucks
- Encouraging sharing of knowledge, experience and learning
65% (of users) are motivated by technology that allows them to share
- Using different devices to deliver eLearning while users were ‘on the job’
- Creating a self-paced learning programme
88% (of users) want to learn at their own pace
- Providing achievement status / rewards
2/3 of learners want their learning to be recognised
What created the ‘winners’ was the fact that they implemented programmes that did the job of engaging users. The most successful ways of doing this were:
- Through a powerful communication strategy – creating buy-in
- Matching user preferences to delivery methods
- Aligning the project to the business mission; showing the business and the users exactly how the intervention will deliver business results
- Thinking about all the users, engaging the tech savvy and the technophobes, those who work online and those who work offline
- If you can, set up a working party that includes users from all parts of the business – they can make the solution relevant companywide
- Think of embedding learning rather than providing training, the learning technology should be the vehicle that helps deliver learning into everyday life
How many organisations take these factors into consideration at the start of a training intervention?
The stats speak for themselves:
It’s clear that eLearning can change the world – from compliance in care homes to emergency building projects to safety at global events and to training people to save lives. The medium of eLearning can be utilised to share information anywhere and at any time making it accessible and beneficial, whatever your job role. It’s also clear that there are huge benefits to companies when they successfully implement a learning intervention utilising eLearning.
How many lessons can be applied to any eLearning intervention currently being discussed at your organisation? How many senior stakeholders do you have engaged in the project? Let us know in the comments.