Spoke LMS: The 9-Time Winner

2019 Top 20 LMS - Spoke

 

We’re proud to announce The Craig Weiss Group has named Unboxed’s Spoke LMS as the #1 LMS for Consumer Goods for 2019, #5 in their Top Nine LMSs for the United States. And the #11 LMS in 2019. The Craig Weiss Group continuously monitors the training marketplace for the best providers and services, and we are pleased to receive such an honor.

Spoke has previously been the recipient of numerous awards and recognition over the past few years for its modern, intuitive user interface, and social, blended learning capabilities. These awards include:

•  2018 Top 50 LMS, The Craig Weiss Group

•  2018 Training Industry names Spoke to its 2018 LMS Watch List

•  2017 Top 50 LMS, The Craig Weiss Group

•  2017 Training Industry names Spoke to its 2017 LMS Watch List

•  2016 Top 50 LMS, eLearning 24/7

•  #2, Gamification

•  #3, Social Learnin

•  2015 Top 50 LMS, eLearning 24/7

•  #5, Social Learning

•  #8, Next-Gen LMS

 

Spoke has also been a part of the blended learning strategy that won Spoke client, Ultraceuticals a 2017 Platinum LearnX Award and helped Xfinity Mobile see results like, 5.5x increase in course completion and 2x more user engagement.

 

Word around the street about Spoke:

The Senior Vice President of Comcast said, “Spoke has led to increased performance for every team member. They connect with each other in the Community, and tell me they can’t wait for more training to earn more coins.”

Another client representative from BH Media Group said, “I have to tell you how grateful I am for Spoke’s user-friendliness. It makes my job a lot easier! Thanks for all your hard work in making this a positive experience!”

We want to thank our clients, who provide the user feedback we need to help us continually improve our Spoke platform. An additional thanks goes to our hardworking Unboxed team members; they continue to raise the bar.

About The Craig Weiss Group

Providing consulting and advising services, The Craig Weiss Group analyzes the effectiveness of various e-learning platforms for buyers and suppliers.

About Spoke LMS

Spoke is the modern social learning management system that connects training, communication, collaboration, and gamification to help you train, engage, and reward your teams. To learn more, watch our Meet Spoke video or request a demo.

What is an LMS?

Spoke-LMS

If content is King, then the Queen is your Learning Management System (LMS). Without a robust Queen, your King is essentially inaccessible and powerless.  An LMS is the gatekeeper to all that good content your team has built or wants to build. So what is an LMS, and what can it do for your company?

An LMS is a technological platform to aid in the training and development of a business team. With features like anytime, anywhere training access, LMSs have become the standard in good training and development for sales teams the world over.

They allow companies to track and manage key aspects of training, such as identifying areas of weakness and funneling just-in-time information to those in the field.

Though every LMS has different features, they universally have a space where business teams can access course content, take quizzes, and track a team member’s educational journey. So with the ubiquity of LMSs, how do you determine what you need?

 

Determining What You Need from an LMS

 
The biggest decision you can make in training is determining how that training will be delivered. LMSs offer you the option of anytime, anywhere course access, which is critical for on-the-go sales teams. Figuring this out is simple. What’s not simple is being confronted with all the bells and whistles of various LMSs and not knowing what you really need. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you determine what will be most useful to your team:

  1. Look at your business goals. That’s right, every aspect of your training should roll up to your business goals, and that includes what features you have in your LMS. If your LMS isn’t collecting the data you need to track whether your team is meeting goals, then it’s not fulfilling your mission. In fact, it’ll feel like your LMS is consistently coming up short because it is.
  2.  

  3. Look at your training needs. Who will you be training? How many people will be training? What departments? Will you be primarily focusing on in-person training, and using the LMS platform for testing and sustainment? Will all learning go through the LMS? Are there webinar components to be tracked? Will you track attendance, quiz grades, and pass/fail rates? There’s a lot to consider. If you answer these questions up front, your search will be laser focused.
  4.  

  5. Examine the features of various LMSs. That’s right, take a good, long look at the different features of various LMSs like Spoke. You will find nuances in how quizzes can be scored, reporting features, and in pricing. Align your training needs with the features of the LMS you ultimately choose, so you can maximize your company’s training efforts.
  6.  

  7. Consider customer service. If you’re looking for a platform that will be managed outside your company, you need to strongly consider customer service. There is nothing more frustrating than when you need help meeting a reporting deadline, and the hosting service is unavailable or slow to respond. We recommend being diligent and reading service reviews for each LMS service you are considering.

 

Meet Spoke®, the social LMS that makes training easy.

Everything you need, nothing you don’t.


 

Key Features

 
Using your business needs to guide you is important. There are some key features that we here at Unboxed feel are non-negotiables. Look for these features to set your team up for success:

  1. Easy interface. If your team can’t quickly and easily find training, they will get discouraged. It’s often a challenge to find the time in our busy lives to take training, so make sure the LMS you choose makes sense, has a clean and simple user interface, and has clear instructions just in case a team member gets stuck.
  2.  

  3. Opportunities for social learning. Our brains are built for social interaction, hence why Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram permeate our lives. An LMS that doesn’t have social learning may not be able to meet the emotional needs of your learners and therefore could be less effective than an LMS like Spoke that builds in social learning.
  4.  

  5. We know you take your work seriously, and so do we. That’s why gamification can be important. Allowing learning to function more like a game, means that you have higher rates of engagement among your team members, and they learn the material better.
  6.  

  7. Robust data reporting. Data should be collected at the individual, the class, and the company level to get a snapshot of whether you are meeting your goals. For this reason, you should thoughtfully consider what you want from your data reporting allowing your company goals to drive what data you ask for from the LMS.

We know choosing an LMS is a big deal, that’s why we are here to help you discuss options. Finding the sweet spot for your team is a challenge, but we believe we can help you meet that challenge. Finding the right balance for your team is what it’s all about, and the right LMS can be the keys to your company’s learning kingdom.

 

Contact us now to learn more about Spoke and how Unboxed Training & Technology can help you meet your business goals for 2019 and beyond.

Introducing ReadySet: Turn-Key Training Solution from Unboxed

With 10 years of experience creating custom employee training programs under our belt and a name like Unboxed, it’s taken us quite a while to come around to boxed content. Though we’ve always acknowledged that there is a place for boxed content in the industry (i.e. compliance training; no need to reinvent that wheel), we’ve stayed away from creating turn-key training programs ourselves—until now.

Let us explain.

Over the past few years, we’ve received an increasing number of requests from clients who need to train their teams fast. Sales organizations especially are desperate for a quick solution, and for good reason. 71% of sales representatives take over six months to ramp, and that means the organization is bleeding money every day, especially if their turnover rate is high. A major contributor to lengthy ramp time is the skill gap: 47% of sales representatives lack fundamental selling skills (and that’s only the fundamentals!).

So, we asked ourselves, what if we could help? What if we could use our sales training expertise to make it easier and more cost effective for reps to learn foundational selling skills?

 

Introducing ReadySet

 

 

ReadySet is our answer to that question. ReadySet is affordable, high-quality, off-the-shelf e-learning that delivers action-oriented content with the same high-levels of engagement and effectiveness as custom-built training. 

So, how is ReadySet different than other turn-key training courses? We stay true to the traditional Unboxed approach.

1. ReadySet is modern and engaging. Each course is so design-forward that the user experience feels more like a website than a traditional eLearning module. We pushed our team to make the content as intuitive and engaging as possible.

2. ReadySet courses are bite-sized. We believe micro-learning principles should apply to off-the-shelf training as well as custom-built. With multiple micro-learning courses that focus on one key skill per course, ReadySet keeps the active seat time short enough to support comprehension and retention.

3. ReadySet emphasizes application and sustainment. If you’ve shopped around for off-the-shelf training programs, you know much of it consists of talking-head videos without assessment or follow-up. Effective training requires more than that; we need to help learners transfer and apply new skills to real situations. That’s why ReadySet includes a workbook full of practical on-the-job activities to sustain learning past the learning event. On top of that, learners get a baseline and final assessment to accurately measure knowledge acquisition and growth.

 

ReadySet > Sell

 

ReadySet-Module-Device2_transparent

The first curriculum we’re launching under the ReadySet name is ReadySet > Sell. This action-oriented, foundational selling skills content is based on proven best practices we’ve gathered from over a decade of creating custom sales training programs for Fortune 500 companies.

The 8-week training course includes an introductory video, interactive eLearnings, baseline and final assessments, and a participant workbook with follow-up activities. The content covers key topics like prospecting, analyzing needs, positioning, handling objections, asking for the sale, and more.

Learn more about ReadySet > Sell

Not convinced yet? That’s okay, we were skeptical, too.

Set up a consultation with our team today to see a demo and learn more about how ReadySet > Sell can help you decrease ramp time and up-skill your sales team. And stay tuned for future ReadySet curriculums.

 

Training Delivery Methods: Choosing the Right Modality for Your Content

Content is a huge focus in the training world, though it’s really only one part of the learning equation. The magic happens, though, when strong content is shared through the most effective training delivery methods, enabling the message to be absorbed, retained, and implemented by learners.

Whether your aim is to impart knowledge, sharpen skills, or adjust behaviors, there are a lot of different methods of training delivery to choose from. But there’s no silver bullet. In fact, data continues to prove a blended approach, incorporating more than one modality to deliver your content, increases retention by up to 60%.

So, how do you determine the most effective training delivery methods for your needs? Start by considering the options available and how they align with your goals, audience, and content.

Below is a list of our recommendations.

training-delivery-methods-hero

Training Delivery Methods for Building Knowledge

When we speak about training for knowledge, we’re referring to helping learners understand the what and the why of a concept. To tackle these topics, the training delivery methods we recommend hinge greatly on well-organized information and storytelling. These include:

  • Podcasts
    Borrowing from the popular media format, Podcasts are an excellent way to educate team members, allowing them to absorb information at their own pace in a familiar style.
  • Infographics
    Visual tools help to reinforce concepts, and the Infographic remains a popular delivery method as it clearly outlines vital data and information in a memorable and engaging way.
  • Animations
    Another popular visual option, Animations are a great way to educate learners. By imparting critical information in an entertaining way, you can increase both retention and engagement.
  • Group Discussions
    Part team-building, part training, Guided Group Discussions are a great way to build relationships among team members while educating them on key concepts.
  • Boost
    These interactive modules from Unboxed’s Training Technology team organize key concepts in an interactive, data-based tool, making it effective for knowledge acquisition and knowledge sustainment (refresher training).

Training Delivery Methods for Improving Knowledge & Skills

Building on those, there are several modalities that bridge both knowledge and skills, helping learners to understand the how behind the what and the why. This category of modalities includes:

  • Instructor-Led Trainings (in-person or virtual)
    Instructor Led Training (ILT) or Virtual Instructor Led Training (vILT) allows you to build upon learned knowledge by giving learners a chance to put knowledge and skills into practice through classroom activities.The bonus of vILT is it allows you to reach learners near and far with training that’s as equally engaging, interactive, and effective as in-person training — without the pricey travel costs.
  • Interactive Learning Guides
    Self-paced and fully interactive, our Interactive Learning Guides (ILG) keep learners engaged at every step. With a modern, web-like interface, video, animation, gamification, and interactive exercises, ILGs create an engaging experience for learners, making them effective for both knowledge and skills training.
  • Videos
    Taking cues from what many learners engage in on their own time, training videos are an incredibly popular choice to help learners improve their skills in addition to reinforcing their knowledge.

Training Delivery Methods for Sharpening Skills & Behaviors

Moving further into training for skills, the delivery methods below allow you to focus more deeply on the tactical responsibilities of your team. These modalities also lend themselves to training for behaviors, educating learners on the action taken, and include:

  • Group Participation, Hands-On Activities, Role Plays, On-the-Floor Training, Mentor Shadowing
    Each of these training delivery methods differs in their approach but share the same goal: to allow team members to improve their skills in settings and situations where they actually use them.

Training Delivery Methods for Shaping Behaviors

Behavior-specific training goes one step further, allowing you to work with team members to help them make changes in their interactions, approaches, and performance with direct feedback. There are two modalities that are ideal for this type of training, these are:

  • Huddles
    Combining the benefits of group participation, hands-on activities, and role play along with direct coaching, Huddles are an excellent training method to help shape and improve behaviors.
  • Video Simulations
    Offering the same advantages of a Huddle, Video Simulations allow geographically dispersed teams the opportunity to observe team member behavior and coach them to be more effective in their approach.

Need Help?

We recognize there are a lot of options out there, but choosing a training method doesn’t need to be a chore. We can help you analyze and understand both your goals and content to select the best option for your needs. Reach out to schedule some time with our Training Content Strategists to learn more.

Want to know more about choosing a training method? Download our free guide!

training-delivery-methods-hero

4 Tips to Keep Your Custom Training Programs Fresh

So, you have a shiny new training program custom-built for you. Hopefully, you designed it with an eye for growth. Even so, if there’s one thing you can count on with custom training programs and off-the-shelf alike, it’s change.

Just like you, we continue to learn with every training program we build and support. In this article, we’ll share some best practices and suggest some tips to make maintaining your training program more resource- and cost-efficient.

Let’s get started!

training maintenance

Relax – Change is Normal

First things first – it’s totally normal to need to update your customs training programs to keep them fresh. Your audience is constantly changing, tackling new projects and procedures, and counting on you to help them stay ahead of the curve.  That’s in addition to changes because of:

  • New products and services
  • Updated information or data
  • Expanded audience (new roles, departments, etc.)
  • Corporate branding changes
  • Audience survey results

Does coordinating all this take time and resources? You bet. Can it be confusing? Sometimes.

That’s why the best plan is to have a plan. And a partner that cares about the quality and cost-effectiveness of your program — from an agreement, through pilot, launch, and maintenance.

1. Start By Asking Great Questions

So what happens when you need to update your custom training programs? Who owns the edits – you or your vendor? What about the more technical stuff – like videos and animations?

Once you have a list of required changes, break it down into manageable parts. Let’s unpack some key questions and explore some options.

  1. What types of changes are needed? Do you need simple text and graphics updates, or something bigger like new video footage and updated animations? Identify and group them by type.
  2. What’s the general scope of each set of changes? At this stage, just guesstimate. We like to use t-shirt sizes like extra-small, small, medium, large, and extra-large.
  3. Which changes are urgent and which can wait? Decide which changes you need to fast-track, and which can be bundled into a larger program update.
  4. Which changes can be handled in-house? You may be able to handle some revisions with your internal team. If any changes require specialized skills or software tools, make sure you have those resources available when you need them.
  5. Where do you need outside help? Identify the gaps, whether due to timing conflicts, team capacity, or in-house skills and technology and look for a vendor who can help you move quickly. If you choose a vendor other than the one who created the original content, there may be a learning curve.

2. Plan Your Strategy

There are many ways to freshen up your training program, and your approach will likely vary depending on timing and resources. As you plan your strategy, keep the following option in mind:

  • In-house Maintenance – You can always keep updates in-house, e.g. text edits, image swaps, etc., as long as the right resources and software are available.
  • Bundled Changes – Maybe you’re applying changes after a pilot program or know you’d like to engage with a vendor on a regular basis (say, twice a year or annually) to make revisions. Bundled changes are the way to go! Your team can keep a running list of changes, and you can work with your vendor to ensure availability and understand the scope.
  • Ad Hoc Changes – This option is perfect if you don’t have a set pilot or when you know the changes will be unpredictable and urgent. Or maybe it’s a “both-and” situation, and you’ll need ad hoc changes in addition to your bundled revisions. Protecting a team with a retainer can be expensive, but it ensures that those high-value changes can be made at any time.

3. Estimate Your Cost

How much will all this cost? Honestly, it depends on the scope of the changes and the approach you take. (Check out this article that dives deeper into how much custom training costs.)

You’ll probably need some cost estimates in the early stages of planning. If you know which services and deliverables will be required, the chart below may help.

Training Deliverable Relevant Cost
Job Aid, Workbook, or an Interactive Learning Guide $
Instructor-led or Virtual Instructor-led Training $$
Animation $$$
Live Action Video $$$

 

4. Follow Best Practices

Once you’ve identified and prioritized your program changes and estimated costs, follow these best practices to ensure your updates go smoothly.

  • Make a plan and follow it – There’s no set rule for how often you need to update your training program. We recommend that you set up a formal schedule of when to review your program and make any needed updates, but also be aware of how often you may run into the need for ad hoc changes. The more you know, right?
  • Collect feedback – Ask your trainers and employees what they think about the program. Review surveys and polls; you might even run a new survey before each scheduled update to gather feedback from multiple areas.
  • Rotate different sections of your program – If your training program encompasses multiple departments or disciplines, you may want to rotate the updates, depending on complexity. For example, Sales and Customer Service may be on your regular schedule, while changes impacting field technicians may be alternated.
  • Document your process – If the processes you’ve created work well for you, document them. Use what you come up with throughout your updates and training program iterations.
  • Include maintenance in your original agreement – If you can, plan for change early. It’s inevitable. Don’t wait until you need changes to start working on a maintenance plan. Whether you’re creating the entire program in-house or partnering with a custom training provider, include a maintenance plan from the beginning.

Meet Unboxed

Whether you need a new custom training program built from the ground up or need some help updating your existing programs, the Unboxed training team is available to discuss, strategize, and help coordinate updates when you’re ready.

Just don’t wait until training program updates become the 900-lb gorilla in the room.