Australia-based skincare company Ultraceuticals had plans to create the UltraAcademy, a scalable, blended learning hub for skincare technicians, nurses, and doctors. To complete the strategy, they needed a learning management system with intuitive, modern capabilities and a great support team. Ultraceuticals found what they were looking for in Spoke®, and the partnership led to Ultraceuticals winning a Platinum LearnX Impact Award for Best Blended Learning Model 2017.
Ultraceuticals is the leading Australian cosmeceutical skincare brand offering professional-grade products and in-clinic treatments, formulated to address major skin concerns such as aging, pigmentation and acne to give customers healthy, beautiful skin.
Before the launch of UltraAcademy, Ultraceuticals flew trainers all over the country to educate students about Ultraceuticals products. Unfortunately, the two-day in-person workshops didn’t always energize people about the brand. Global Education Innovator Heather Vounnou described the learning experience as “death by PowerPoint.”
For Ultraceuticals, training engagement and retention of the material is critical. “If someone doesn’t know what they’re doing, they could really damage someone’s skin,” Vounnou explained.
Stakes were high, and she knew they could do better.
So, how could Ultraceuticals engage, certify, and reward skincare technicians, nurses, and doctors in a way that accommodated their busy schedules?
The blended approach Vounnou recommended began with baseline training that could be completed online in short bursts at medical clinics between client visits. Only after baseline training would Ultraceuticals’ students complete the two-day in-person workshops to apply what they learned from their online modules. And no more death by PowerPoint.
After their baseline training and initial in-person workshops, students would be able to unlock intermediate workshops and certify to become Ultraceuticals Experts.
To facilitate Ultraceuticals’ desired learning experience, Vounnou needed a learning platform that would be easy to navigate. “I couldn’t have one of these clunky, unattractive learning management systems that are out there,” she said.
“I couldn’t have one of these clunky, unattractive learning management systems that are out there,” she said.
So, a lynchpin of Vounnou’s strategy was identifying the right LMS for the UltraAcademy—the one-stop-shop to complete online training, participate in ongoing professional development, and hear about medical advances and Ultraceuticals product updates. It would be the place UltraAcademy administrators like Vounnou could track engagement and get learner feedback.
Vounnou learned about Spoke® through online research. She was impressed with Spoke’s consistent innovation and upgrades based on client feedback, and features such as prerequisites, Spoke Rewards, and Spoke News.
After her research phase, Vounnou met the Spoke support team. She knew she’d found the right technology partner, one that could provide exceptional customer service and support UltraAcademy’s launch. “Out of all the companies I talked to [Spoke Account Manager] Kiersten never made me feel like I was just a number.”
“Out of all the companies I talked to [Spoke Account Manager] Kiersten never made me feel like I was just a number.”
Throughout each phase of UltraAcademy’s implementation—early analysis, data migration, configuration, testing, and launch—the Spoke support team collaborated with Ultraceuticals and guided Vounnou through the process.
“My Spoke Account Manager was amazing. I never felt like she was telling me ‘Here’s the template, give us what we need.’ Her customer service was extraordinary,” said Vounnou.
UltraAcademy launched in September 2016 and has over 1700 students across Australia and New Zealand. Plans to expand the availability of Ultraceuticals into other countries are underway.
Thanks to the blended learning strategy behind UltraAcademy and Spoke’s intuitive LMS platform, engagement has increased exponentially. “In the online space, you can meet students where they are. They can complete training in between client appointments. You can do more with your budget. It’s also a better brand experience,” said Vounnou.
One learner, Kayla Gilligan of Katrina Skinworks, shared this feedback:
“Can I just say I love UltraAcademy? As a therapist working with Ultraceuticals [for nearly three years], you’d think you have the knowledge, and you do, to a degree, but the online learning just explains it in such a different way. Listening to something again and seeing it visually, you learn so much more from it.”
Vounnou loves the ability to measure training results with Spoke Reports. “The reporting is wonderful, particularly being able to pull transcripts for individual users,” she said. “I also love the monthly progress reports.”
Ultraceuticals regularly launches new microlearning videos and podcasts in Spoke to drive continuous learning and keep skincare technicians, nurses, and doctors engaged.
They also use Spoke’s rewards and recognition capabilities. For example, when a student becomes certified as an Ultraceuticals Expert, the team takes photos and publishes a Spoke news post with the student’s testimonial to celebrate their achievement.
“The feedback has been overwhelming,” said Vounnou. “The student body as a whole has really embraced it.”
At the LearnX Live 2017 Award Show in Sydney, UltraAcademy was awarded the prestigious Platinum LearnX Impact Award for Best Blended Learning Model 2017. The LearnX Impact Awards recognize and reward individuals, teams, and organizations who have used learning and supporting technologies to deliver value and significantly impact employee performance and business results. Previous winners of the Best Blended Learning Model category include Harvard Business School, National Australia Bank (NAB), and Medibank.
“It’s a delight to have this kind of success,” Vounnou said. “My passion was to use this LMS and the content inside of it to empower people to get better at what they do and help businesses thrive as a result.”
“Working with Heather [Vounnou] has been a joy because of her intelligent feedback on our platform. Ultraceuticals has helped us continue to innovate by challenging us to improve the way Spoke delivers training and ultimately helps people learn,” Spoke Account Manager Kiersten Hoffman said.
Spoke is the modern social learning management system that combines 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.
Four decades ago, employees slogged through printed training manuals accompanied by the occasional slide carousel show. Today, cutting-edge training is conducted via high-quality video content on mobile devices. We’ve come a long way from those dog-eared three-ring binders!
As training advanced, the learning management system (LMS) emerged in the 1990s as a tool to manage organizational learning programs. But now that training is accelerating into a more mobile, social, and connected experience, do you see your LMS as an innovative tool that simplifies training and makes it more engaging, or a clunky obstacle employees must overcome to find what they need?
Your learning platform should engage and inform. If your LMS can’t do that, you have a training problem. And it won’t be long before that becomes a business problem.
LMS Satisfaction: Lukewarm at Best
According to Brandon Hall Group’s 2015 Learning Technology Trends survey, 85% of companies surveyed use an LMS, but “LMS satisfaction” seems to be an oxymoron:
- 38% of companies are actively looking to replace their LMS
- 31% of companies said they would not at all recommend their solution to colleagues
- 20% said they would not renew
That adds up to an astonishing 89% of companies seeking a new training platform.
The oft-heard complaints about your LMS: it’s too clunky, too expensive, employees hate it. And the clincher: “It’s too complicated! I can’t find what I need when I need it. Why can’t training be easy to access?”
Brandon Hall sums it up:
“A system that is difficult to navigate causes frustration and can even impact the completion and effectiveness of the learning it’s supposed to be delivering.”
Ranking dead last in Brandon Hall’s satisfaction survey was whether respondents thought their LMS has the ability to meet future needs. The score: a dismal 2.57 out of 5.
Organizations are unsure of their LMS’s ability to satisfy future training needs. Let’s gaze into our Training Crystal Ball to determine if your organization’s LMS can handle them.
What Modern Training Looks Like
In our modern world, learners consume high-quality content and videos daily. Bland training courses can cause an eye-rolling epidemic. To help knowledge stick, today’s learners need high-quality, modern training content that keeps them engaged.
So, what does modern training look like? Take a look at ATD’s Learning Trends for the Next 5 Years for a good starting point. Learning should be adaptive, social, delivered in short bursts, immersive, and include gamification to make it – dare we say – fun.
And here are the training trends our readers are watching in 2017, which compare favorably with ATD’s 5-year-outlook (we typically move a little faster than average).
This is where learning is going. Stop for a minute and think about these two questions:
- Does your training content stack up?
- Can your current LMS support these trends?
Should an LMS Handle More than Just Training?
Traditional LMSs only house training. Users log in, complete their training, and log out. Admins log in, analyze who’s completed their training, nag those who haven’t, and log out. Lather, rinse, repeat.
If that’s all your LMS accomplishes, it’s outdated and ineffective. Today’s learners expect – and deserve – more.
To step into the modern era of training, organizations need more than just a way to deliver training and track completion. They need:
All training materials in one place. A single platform to host all the content employees need to be effective in their roles ‒ training; job aids; product information, updates, promotions; etc. Put everything at their fingertips and make it easy to access.
Collaboration tools. Allow your learners to connect with one another to keep the learning going. Social learning doesn’t just make learning fun. ATD points out that social learning enables rock star employees who engage and inspire those around them to significantly widen their circle of influence – with no travel expenses.
Simplified communication. Training is not a one-sided conversation. Your learning platform should make it easy to communicate targeted, visual, and engaging updates to the frontline without sending yet another email.
Motivation and rewards. Modern employees, especially sales professionals, love a little friendly competition and being rewarded for performance. Use gamification to keep employees engaged throughout their learning journey.
Imagine what would happen if people were actually engaged in their training. Imagine if everything your employees needed related to their training and job performance was in one location. Imagine if all of the above tools existed in one platform. Imagine!
We Knew There Had to Be a Better Way
So that’s why we built Spoke. With Spoke, easy access to all of these tools in one simplified, compatible platform isn’t just a figment of our collective imaginations anymore. It’s real.
Folksinger and social activist Pete Seeger said it best:
“Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.”
Sure, Spoke was named a top LMS in eLearning 24/7’s annual Top 50 LMS report in 2015, 2016, and again in 2017. But companies using Spoke are the ones seeing real results.
“Improved performance for every employee…”
“It’s intuitive. Nothing is buried.”
“It makes my job a lot easier.”
Oh, not to mention it gets used up to 4X more than traditional learning management systems.
Is your organization ready to change as learning evolves to the next level? Can your learning platform keep up?
When you’re ready to discuss modern training and a high-performance platform that does more than just deliver that training, contact us or give us a call: (888) 723-9770.
It’s January. Prime time for predictions about the corporate training landscape. In 2016, we highlighted shared goals, collaboration, and analytics as topics of interest. This year, instead of telling you what we think the year’s big trends will be, we went straight to the source ‒ you! We polled our audience: “What L&D trends are you watching in 2017?”
We asked. You answered. Now, we deliver.
Here’s what’s on your collective radar:
1. Microlearning. Training in bite-sized, easily digestible chunks.
2. Personalization. Make training individualized and contextual ‒ so it sticks.
3. Employee Engagement. Wowed employees are happy employees.
4. Measurable ROI. How impactful is your training program?
5. Marriage of great content + great technology. Deliver awesome content – awesomely.
Now for a deeper dive into each trending topic and what percentage of you picked each topic.
Microlearning: shorter courses and more of them
StatisticBrain.com says our average attention span in 2015 was 8.25 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000, when mobile went mainstream. In addition to having an attention span lower than the average goldfish (Goldie clocks in at 9 seconds), learners are busy.
Delivering training in bite-sized chunks is key. With shorter courses divided into more segments, employees are empowered to learn at their own pace. They gain valuable information with minimal disruption to their workflow.
Adding mobility to microlearning enables users to train anywhere, anytime. And on the go. That autonomy combined with entertaining, informative content helps learners retain knowledge in a simple, easy-to-remember way.
Hungry for more? Check out this post on using microlearning for sales training.
Personalization of training
Personalizing the learning journey for each specific job function ensures that learners get the information they need without wasting valuable time. For example, an inside sales rep requires different knowledge and skills than an outside sales rep. Their personalized training journeys should reflect that.
Learning is contextual. Employees want their training to look and feel like their day-to-day encounters, so they can see exactly how to apply new knowledge and skills situationally. This improves productivity, performance, sales – and therefore, your bottom line.
In addition to personalizing for job function, training should be customized to mirror your organization’s particular values and culture. Keep it conversational and sprinkle some humor around.
Unique, contextualized training that informs and entertains gets a thumbs-up from employees and superior results for your company. Win-win.
Focus on employee engagement
Fact: highly engaged employees are more productive and less likely to job-hop. That’s critical because employee turnover costs big bucks. Some studies suggest replacing a salaried employee costs six to nine months of their annual salary. A CAP Study found that losing a high-level employee can cost up to 213% of their annual salary. Plus, it tanks employee morale.
Churn is bad. So how do you poach-proof valued contributors?
Increased employee engagement is key. If you think another three days of PowerPoint presentations will get your team amped, think again.
Instead, give employees something they will actually look forward to. Innovative, high-tech training ‒ like the media they consume on YouTube and Facebook in their spare time ‒ holds their attention and boosts retention rates.
We’ve found that instilling gamification, interaction and socialization into your training – maybe even virtual reality – boosts employee engagement and job satisfaction.
Smart content fuels discussions as learners compare best practices. They evolve into champions who bolster your organization. Collateral benefit: elevated employee morale.
Measuring training ROI
Increased completion rates are great, but let’s talk about the measurable business impact of training. What’s your training ROI? How does training correlate with and impact key performance indicators?
The general benefits of training are undisputed: greater productivity, improved customer retention, increased sales, higher employee engagement and decreased churn. But are you measuring them?
To measure specific KPIs, identify them before creating your training program. Ensure the metrics are measurable. And integrate a testing function into the program.
The marriage of great content and great technology
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to tell you that today’s employees expect training to showcase the marriage of enlightened content and interactive technology. Perk: like many power couples, the two are more effective when combined.
For a hands-on example, look no further than your iPod. The game-changing technology moved the needle on the entire music industry. But without great content, an iPod is merely a well-designed piece of metal with potential.
Imagine lacing up your Adidas and listening to elevator muzak instead of a workout playlist. Spoiler alert: even with superior iPod technology in hand, you won’t shatter your 5-mile PR the day Engelbert Humperdinck replaces Daft Punk.
Don’t just deliver great content. Deliver it in a memorable, relatable way. Edgy modern media captivates employees because they relate to it, so the knowledge and skills they learn will stick.
So, what are you watching?
Let’s bring it full-circle. What other training trends are you watching in 2017? Let us know by commenting below, or give us a shout on Twitter @unboxedtech.
If your organization is on the verge of a growth spurt, custom training can catapult you to the next level. Let’s talk about transformational training solutions: (888) 723-9770