Tag Archive | video

Technology in the workplace: How learning experiences are changing

If I asked you for the time, would you check on your analog wristwatch? Chances are if you are a millennial you wouldn’t, as you’re probably not wearing one and you might not even own one. You’re more likely to check via some piece of versatile technology, which might be a smart phone, smart watch, tablet, fitness tracker or other multipurpose device. It’s amazing to think the effect technology has had on something as simple as telling the time, so how have advances in technology changed learning experiences and styles?

Young millennials using smart devices to check information

From push to pull

Technology has changed our lives and continues to do so, both at home and at work, in a rapidly evolving digital world. As a result of this, employees now have different expectations and preferences, learning styles have changed from a tradition push model to a more modern pull model. So what is push and pull and what’s the difference between them?

Historically employees would be invited to formal training, typically in a classroom, which would be at a time suitable for the trainer or training team. The employee would sit and listen whilst the trainer would go through a presentation, with the delegate taking reels of notes. The employee might be required to take a formal test (no talking or conferring please), and the success of the training and the employee would be based on the pass or failure of that test. The employee would be sent back to the workplace and often not given an opportunity to put into practice what they had learnt.

The Ebbinghaus forgetting curve, shows 50% of classroom training is forgotten in an hour if theory isn’t put into practice. So how effective could this method of training actually be? And at what cost to the organisation?

Millennials pulling away from the push model

Today’s employees, specifically millennials – who according to PwC will make up 50% of the global workforce by 2020 – expect a different kind of learning experience. The pull model, whereby employees are able to access material whenever (work, home or on the go), however (desktop PCs, laptops, mobiles, tablets and face to face) and through whatever source (search, eLearning, assessment, video share, blogs, forums, knowledge share, mentors, communities and networks) is what these employees expect, desire and need.

Young businesswoman contemplating learning at her desk with a range of technology and devices around her

The 70.20.10 approach

The 70.20.10 framework, which has been gaining momentum in recent years, takes on a different approach to learning, moving away from a formal classroom environment which provides little to no practice in the workplace after a training course is complete. The principle of this learning framework is 70% experience and practice, 20% conversations with people and networks and 10% formal learning. The approach moves away from formal structured learning techniques, where it’s thought to be more costly, inefficient and does not provide flexibility for the employee or employer.  The 70.20.10 approach goes hand in hand with millennial expectations and is complemented in our digital era where information, networks and communities are more easily accessible.

What can employers do?

By creating a culture where employees willingly share skills and knowledge is critical for success within an organisation. A study by BlessingWhite found employee development is one of the biggest drivers of retention and engagement, and aside from just retaining staff, employees are more capable and motivated in the workplace and within their role.

If employees are given access to the right tools and knowledge, they will drive their own development and will seek information themselves. Technology can help organisations to provide collaborative learning environments for their employees and help to create a one stop shop for employee learning, development and training resources, allowing employees to gain access to this information when they need to.

This collaborative learning space can be provided through a virtual hub, whereby learning, development and training tools and resources are all found in one place. This space allows for a continuous learning environment, whereby employees can pull on any information and resources they require at that time, in a format which is conducive to their learning style and from wherever they are. Digital eLearning modules provide interactive learning quickly and effectively to delegates, saving time and resources compared to traditional methods. Other forms of technology can also be utilised such as apps and games, through multiple channels including mobile, harnessing a 70.20.10 learning environment.

Collaboration between two colleagues at a desk using mobile, a laptop and a tablet device to show blended learning

The final word on the evolving learning experience

Technology is rapidly changing the world around us, both at home and at work. With millennials soon becoming the majority of employees in the workplace, it is critical to ensure their learning and development needs are met. Moving away from a traditional push model to a pull model, whereby employees are responsible for their own development and are able to seek the information they require when, where and how they need to, will lead to more capable and motivated employees and ensure organisations are retaining talent. Time to autonomy is quicker, employees are competent and confident in their roles and organisations save on costs of traditional formal training and move to digitalised solutions, which can provide a one stop shop for employees.

If you would like to understand how Unicorn Training can help with meeting your learning and development needs, get in touch! Call us on 0800 055 6586, drop us an email, or why not tweet us?

NEWS: Unicorn Training Announces Record Year

peterp_headshotUnicorn Training, one of the UK’s longest established and most respected online learning companies, has reported record sales and growth of a third in 2015.

Unicorn sales have exceeded £5.6m (US$8.5m), a 33% rise on 2014, in this calendar year, with more new customers won than ever before as well as the company achieving double-digit growth in recurrent revenue from a loyal customer base.

In 2015 Unicorn’s online learning and performance platform, SkillsServe, was ranked the world’s number one LMS for financial services and fifth overall, and Unicorn will be marking its record year on Stand P14 at the Learning Technologies 2016 conference and exhibition at Olympia on Wednesday 3 and Thursday 4 February.

Peter Phillips, Unicorn co-founder and CEO, said: “Over the past 12 months we have seen sustained growth in demand across all our main activities; platform, bespoke content development and our off-the-shelf compliance library.

“This is particularly true in our core sector, financial services, where demand for high quality regulatory and compliance training, together with increased awareness of the risks of cybercrime, are being driven by rigorous, new UK regulatory standards.”

Unicorn is uniquely positioned to offer turnkey solutions, combining SkillsServe’s sector-leading features with relevant and up-to-date content and outstanding instructional design, backed by long-standing partnerships with such industry bodies as the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) and the British Bankers Association (BBA).

In addition, having acquired a strategic stake in the world class games studio, Amuzo, at the end of last year, Unicorn is also able to meet the growing demand for mobile just-in-time learning, serious games and on-demand video content.

Peter added: “Looking ahead to 2016, I believe this robust and scalable business model will continue to generate strong growth in our core business.

“Add to this the exciting new opportunities opened up through our partnership with Amuzo and for a company whose purpose for over 25 years has been to provide great learning experiences through the innovative use of technology, these are exciting times.”

For more information about Unicorn Training visit www.unicorntraining.com and to come and see us at Learning Technologies 2016 register for free entry to the Learning Technologies and Learning and Skills 2016 exhibitions and seminars at www.learningtechnologies.co.uk

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

By Unicorn Senior Relationship Manager Sarah Smith

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

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

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

Old book

Don divided his subject into a number of sections:

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


Check out the older generation’s reaction.

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



Why is it Important to Add Closed Captions to Videos?

In today’s blog, Instructional Designer Andy Houghton gives an insight into the importance of closed captions in making your video content more accessible to a larger audience.


Why is it important to add closed captions to videos? The simple and short answer is because it’s the right thing to do. If you don’t, you’re excluding many people who have hearing impairments from understanding the content of your video.

You can look at this from a moral perspective. The mother of a profoundly deaf boy once said to me, why should her son have less access to information, and fewer opportunities, than a hearing child. If that isn’t reason enough, there’s also a financial incentive.

About one in six people in the UK have some form of hearing loss – that’s about 10 million people. Do you really want to exclude, and possibly alienate, them from your marketing mix?  What’s more, websites with videos will generally do better in Google searches than those without, and Google also ranks videos with captions higher.

Most videos are available to an international audience. The British Council’s website says ‘one out of four of the world’s population speak English to some level of competence; demand from the other three-quarters is increasing’. Reading a language is usually easier than understanding someone speaking it, especially as a lot of videos don’t have great quality audio tracks. Adding captions is therefore going to help all those viewers for whom English isn’t their first language. If you want, you can even go one step further and add caption tracks in different languages.

How to add closed captions to your content

It’s pretty easy to add timed captions these days. If you have a transcript, you can upload this to YouTube and it will work out the timings for you – you might need to do a little tweaking.

Captions 2

If you’re not putting your video on Youtube, you can still create the timed captions file on YouTube and then download it as a .srt file which you can use on other hosting solutions or within your video player.

If you don’t have a script, you can use YouTube’s voice-to-text technology to provide you with a fairly crude version of what’s being said, then quickly edit this and use it with your videos.

You can find basic instructions here. YouTube’s made it much easier to add captions. You can either edit the automatic captions that YouTube creates, or, as we’ve done here, upload a transcript and let YouTube match the timings.

CS captions

Don’t forget to ‘publish’ your new captions file otherwise it won’t show, and once you’ve done this you can ‘unpublish’ the file that YouTube created automatically.

Here’s where a lot of people go wrong

Whether you like it or not, YouTube creates automated voice-to-text captions and makes these available to watchers. Inevitably, there are a lot of mistakes and many of them are quite funny. Here’s a fairly tame example.


According to YouTube 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute and over a billion unique users visit YouTube each month. There are, of course, also other videos which are hosted elsewhere.

My prediction, and hope, is that more and more video producers will spend that little extra bit of time needed to add captions, and make their work more accessible to a larger audience.

Is Video the Future of eLearning?

2014 has been called ‘year of the video’. An astonishing 1.2 billion online videos are watched each day. But does this mean we’ll see a sudden surge in video eLearning? Unicorn‘s Senior Relationship Manager Sarah Nutley investigates.


It is fair to say that it is now a lot easier to create and upload video than it used to be- even on to an LMS. With the use of a smartphone, tablet, or even a webcam you can film and post within seconds! We are all capable of being the ‘next’ big YouTube star – we all have the equipment!

In all honesty, we’ve all had access to video equipment for quite some time now, so why is 2014 being deemed ‘year of the video’? Does it mean we will see a sudden surge in video eLearning? The answer is probably not, but the potential is definitely there!

As with eLearning, the definition of ‘video-based’ eLearning can refer to a number of things: the entire module can be video based or video parts can be incorporated. However it is used, video is a great way of engaging a significant portion of people’s brains. Check out the visual below to see the stats!


Add to these stats the fact that:

“YouTube is the number two search engine in the world.”
Forbes online

And you can see why people are far more conscious of videos now.

From an eLearning perspective, key opportunities to use video include:

Show not tell
Practical Application or demonstrating how-to or how-not-to complete a task. It could be series of clips that ‘show and rather than tell’. It’s a great way to focus on behavioural soft skills that don’t always translate in text!

Allowing the user to ‘live’ the experience and see what it’s like before trialling it in the real world.

Inject emotion
Adding emotion to important points or to convey messages, ie. the personal impacts of being involved in Money Laundering are much clearer when you have someone talking about them.


Time crucial announcements
Short video clips are easy to watch, easy to digest and easy to share so are a great medium when talking to the masses

Time saving
Reducing content users have to read, and providing variety in the learning.

On demand
Creating content that can be re-watched if and when needed.


Tying into another key trend – the move to mobile – video content is accessible in a way that written content is not, making it a top choice to get important messages into the world (or specifically a company)in a way that will get people’s attention.

“In 90% of cases, you can start (a video) with one of the two most effective ways to open a speech: ask a question or start with a story. Instantly you have people’s attention!”

To look at examples of where video is used for attention you can look at current marketing campaigns; did anyone see Three’s latest offering: #SingItKitty?


Within 4 days this had been viewed almost 2 million times.

At Unicorn we are embracing the video age, some of our OTS and bespoke content already includes video – in some cases it’s a vignette (short scenes) to introduce a module or conclude it but we also have entire video modules.  We can bring in actors and film on the green screen or use still shots with graphic treatments or in other instances we utilise animation videos. In fact our main types of videos would be these:

CEO/employee talking head or presentation style


Advanced videos include still product shots, diagrams or relevant imagery to aid the narrative or include animated diagrams, graphics and/or relevant imagery to aid the narrative like this example.

We can do 2D, 2.5D or 3D!
2D can be animated video showing off a product or your company with voiceover and/or music.  And 3D animation can give the user a new perspective without wearing ridiculous glasses.

Typographic videos


These are a popular type of 2D animation that relies heavily in typography by advancing a virtual camera over words, numbers and images in a fluid motion.

Character Vignettes
These are becoming common within eLearning. You can see a character at the curve of their success/failure and empathise with their struggles/fortunes or in the case just hear Henry’s story.

These videos are quirky and fashionable. They get to the point quickly with a professional voice over and accompanying drawn graphics.

The main consideration (excluding budget) should always be on what the module needs to achieve. It is true that a picture can paint a thousand words but you have a lot to think about – the content, the theme and the tone of voice.

As a final thought it’s fair to say that video can definitely be impressive and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. As long as it’s focused it shouldn’t take away from the learning it should only enhance it and in most cases make it a lot more interesting!

How do you (or could you) use video in your organisation? Let us know in the comments.

You Tube launch for Unicorn

Unicorn Training has launched its own You Tube channel – www.youtube.com/unicorntrainingtv

The site is a resource for video clips produced by Unicorn Training providing opinion from industry experts on matters affecting the financial services industry as well as hosting learncasts to aid study.

Amongst the subjects currently discussed are the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), forthcoming industry changes and financial crime with expert insights from such people as Steve Jenkins (CII Director of Financial Services), Clive Shelton (MLRO and Risk Compliance Director, IFDS) and Neill McWilliams (MD Unicorn Training).

Jo learncasts can also be found about Supervision in a Regulated Environment and Personal Tax with exam advice from Philippa Grocott of the Corporate Training Partnership.

The site will be regularly updated with new content with plans to also feature animations and product walkthroughs.

If you have any feedback on content you might like to see on Unicorn Training TV contact enquiries@unicorntraining.com