Unboxed Awarded 2019 Top Workplace

 

Unboxed Training & Technology has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2019 honor by The Richmond Times-Dispatch. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by research partner Energage, LLC, a leading provider of technology-based employee engagement tools. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.

 

“Top Workplaces is more than just recognition,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of Energage. “Our research shows organizations that earn the award attract better talent, experience lower turnover, and are better equipped to deliver bottom-line results. Their leaders prioritize and carefully craft a healthy workplace culture that supports employee engagement.”

 

Brian Leach, CEO and Co-Founder of Unboxed noted, “When Dave Romero and I founded Unboxed Technology in 2009, we wanted to create an extraordinary culture to allow our passions to thrive and our dreams to become reality. We did this for all the people who use (or will use) our products and for our team members. Our extraordinary team defines the personality and strength of Unboxed. We’re so honored to be on this journey together and to be awarded as a Top Workplace in Richmond!”

 

 

About Unboxed Training & Technology

 

Headquartered in Richmond, VA., Unboxed is a leading provider of training and technology solutions that help workforces from start-ups to Fortune 50 achieve results like increases in: sales, employee productivity, and speed to competency.

 

Learn why Unboxed’s people and solutions are not only different but make a difference.

State of the Modern Learner

State of the Modern Learner

Welcome to 2019 – a time when people expect to be entertained. Why should their training be any different? Think about it, according to The Game Agency, on average we consume nearly 11 hours of media each day and shift our attention between our smartphones, tablets, and computers 21 times every hour. With that in mind, it makes sense that your training should grab your learners’ attention quickly, hold it long enough to make an impact, and above all else, be so entertaining that they want and enjoy it – even with seemingly infinite media options at their fingertips.

Distracted… but Want to Learn

Who are these modern learners that are overwhelmed with entertainment choices all throughout the day? They’re consuming information in shorter, more personalized, more engaging ways. When seeking new information, they’re likely to Google something or check out a video on YouTube, but that’s typically done with the intention of using that information right away. What if the knowledge needs to be retained for an extended period of time? Consider, 50% of information is forgotten within one hour without some type of reinforcement training.

 

State of the Modern Learner graph

They also have short attention spans, crave instant gratification, and are distracted – but not too distracted to want to learn. According to Learnkit, 53% of employees feel they could do their job better if they had better training and per Intercall 47% want the freedom to complete that training at their own pace. It follows that in order for training to make sense for the naturally distracted lifestyle of the modern learner, it has to be:

  • High quality
  • Efficient
  • Personalized
  • Available on demand

Competing for Attention

So, when it seems everyone is fighting for the modern learner’s attention, how do we train? With so much time already spent looking at screens, what if you could reach your learners through any and all of their devices? Better yet, what if you could use those devices to teach them while simultaneously entertaining and delighting them? Good news: you can – and you should.

Fun and Games!

For the greatest impact, ensure that your training includes gamification and games that:

  • Transmit information simply
  • Grab your learner’s attention
  • Keeps them engaged
  • And perhaps above all else, helps them reinforce and retain what they’ve learned

Games not only provide an engaging learning experience that can change behaviors and improves comprehension, but thanks to the fun they provide, learners often want to continue learning and thereby reinforce their training.

Secondly, games provide a competitive element that drives action, sustains focus, and heightens attention. Consider these statistics:

  • The average learner will play a game three times during training.
  • On average, they will experience a 64% increase in knowledge from the beginning to the end of a game.
  • Each gameplay session lasts an average of six minutes.

Lastly, training with games provides you with robust reporting and analytics capabilities. Each game can be used to collect player data to help you identify knowledge gaps – thereby enabling you to rework training content to maximize effectiveness.

In short

Modern learners have minimal time to devote to training. They’re working from several locations and expect to access information on-demand. Luckily for them, games are a form of micro-learning that provide quick, compelling training that can be accessed anywhere, anytime. This form of training is ideal for the modern learner’s short attention span as the information taught is bite-sized and easy-to-digest. And when people are entertained, they focus and retain information more easily.

Additionally, if an experience is enjoyable, people naturally return for more. Training so good that it compels a return visit increases the odds of retention (and the amount of information that can be retained) – and that’s exactly what the distracted, modern learner needs in 2019.

Beyond gamification

3 Secrets on How to Level Up Your Training with Games

Gamification has become an increasingly popular technique to motivate and engage modern learners over the past few years. But gamification can only motivate a learner but so far. Join us to find out what 3 secrets you can apply to experience growth on learner attention, engagement, and knowledge retention.

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.

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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!

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Galileo Maintains Renowned Culture While Moving Training from In-Person to Online with Spoke®

Since 2002, Galileo relied on a two-day, in-person training session to prep their counselors for the coming camp season. But as their team grew to 2,000 plus members, so did the tactical challenges. After trying another industry-leading LMS, Galileo realized they needed a partner who also practiced and supported innovation to support their dynamic learning and teaching environment.


Backstory

Galileo logoGalileo Learning is a summer day-camp provider that offers children pre-K through 8th-grade confidence-building challenges and one-of-a-kind summer fun at over 70 locations in the Bay area, SoCal, and Chicagoland. Their mission: to develop innovators who envision and create a better world.

The curriculum is hands-on, iterative, and designed to reinforce the mindset, knowledge, and process needed to innovate in the modern world. In pre-K, campers may build a functional catapult or design their own space vehicle, all with simple materials. By 8th grade, they may program their own video game, design a fashion line, or build something entirely of their own invention.

“Something powerful happens at Galileo that doesn’t happen at other camps. Kids have fun, but they’re also encouraged to explore and fail without fear, which is the essence of innovation,” says Tom Bowen, Galileo’s Director of Professional Development & Training and Director of Technology.

Opportunity

Only the most talented instructors, counselors, and interns are trained to facilitate Galileo’s innovation approach. Since 2002, they had relied on an all-hands in-person training model of up to 2-days to impart new methodologies and curriculum, exchange experiences and ideas, and strengthen the vision and relationships that facilitate their mission.

Galileo Spoke News Post

The yearly meeting was enjoyed and cherished, especially by returning staff, but as Galileo grew to over 2,000 counselors, so did the tactical challenges. Aside from the time and travel costs, the lectures and break-out sessions had so many attendees that it was difficult to ensure that each trainee’s learning objectives were being met. And, while memories of conference camaraderie lingered, once camp was in session, there was no easy way to revisit key points and best practices covered in training.

“We needed a modern solution that could help us move our training from in-person to online without losing the incredible culture we’re known for. We also needed a way for counselors to access role-based content and answers to their questions on demand. We were concerned a traditional learning management system couldn’t deliver what we needed. I guess we wanted the best of both worlds: the convenience of an online community and an immersive cultural experience – a tall order, ” Tom explained.

“We needed a modern solution that could help us move our training from in-person to online without losing the incredible culture we’re known for. We were concerned a traditional learning management system couldn’t deliver what we needed.

After trying another industry-leading LMS, Galileo soon realized they needed more than “bells and whistles” to support their dynamic learning and teaching environment. They needed a partner who also practiced and supported innovation.

Partnership

Wiser and more determined than ever, Galileo connected with the Unboxed team and soon became convinced that Spoke, Unboxed’s collaborative and social learning management system, met their criteria.

Members of Unboxed’s Spoke team met with the Galileo team to identify and prioritize their goals – and to address obstacles to adoption. For example, the returning group of counselors was a little anxious about losing the connections they made at the annual conference. It was a powerful bonding experience that they were hesitant to give up for an online application.

The Unboxed and Galileo teams partnered together to work towards the solution: relevant content and connections could be developed and accessed on Spoke Community; while the more interactive and improvisational training exercises would be held in-person at each location’s discretion.

Galileo Spoke Training

And to “hook” the skeptics who were missing the action and excitement of the annual get-together, Unboxed recommended tapping into Spoke’s gamification features like Spoke coins, badges, levels, and a competitive leaderboard to spark competition and keep learners motivated.

“It was the perfect solution. And even though we bombarded the Unboxed team with new information and questions as we learned more about Spoke’s capabilities, they were always patient, professional, and as excited as we were. I soon discovered that was typical of the “white glove” service Unboxed delivered.”

“[Spoke] was the perfect solution. And even though we bombarded the Unboxed team with new information and questions as we learned more about Spoke’s capabilities, they were always patient, professional, and as excited as we were. I soon discovered that was typical of the “white glove” service Unboxed delivered.”

Solution

Galileo realized that making gamification the launching pad for Spoke was a stroke of genius. Plus, Spoke’s simple and modern user interface made it easy to navigate and explore all the content, news, eLearning, videos, classroom training, job aids, etc.—all in one place.

Galileo Spoke Devices Lockup

But the real magic happened in the Spoke Community. For the first time, it was easy to connect with and learn from one’s peers, from SoCal to Chicagoland. Now, if a new instructor wanted her kids to build a go-cart and had no idea how to design the steering column, she could simply search or ask for help on Spoke and advice would come in from across the Galileo ecosphere.

Spoke not only facilitated the exchange of knowledge, it created friendships and strengthened the culture. Soon Spoke was no longer viewed as a “second-best” substitute for in-person training, but rather an enhancement and extension that could grow and change with the culture.

Results

For Galileo, it was always important to measure counselor acculturation and training progress, so they appreciated Spoke’s ability to provide metrics and insights into areas like course performance, social participation, and counselor engagement.

Galileo Spoke Dashboard

The benefits of Spoke were almost immediate. Everyone loved the gamification and social elements, and that provided the “gateway” to more logins, higher engagement and, eventually, more training completed.

“We were super excited when Spoke revealed a 15-20% increase in new staff engagement. And while Spoke was busiest before camp started, with staffers completing on average 54 courses each, counselors continued to log in and benefit from Spoke during camp sessions (8.6 per user on average).”

“Honestly, we couldn’t imagine working with a better partner than Unboxed. The entire team consistently has our back. We have a partnership where we have the opportunity to influence the product, and that feels really good as a customer.”

“Honestly, we couldn’t imagine working with a better partner than Unboxed. The entire team consistently has our back. We have a partnership where we have the opportunity to influence the product, and that feels really good as a customer.”

Learn more about Spoke and Galileo Learning.

 

Social Learning Tools: Debunking the Myths

Social media might be a modern invention, but social learning certainly isn’t.

For almost 100 years now, educational theorists have recognized social learning’s power to extend and reinforce traditional learning methods.

Put simply, social learning is the modern day water cooler – or the modern breakroom where employees share on-the-job knowledge and creative solutions.

As our employees are increasingly spread across multiple cities or are working remotely, social learning is becoming even more important to company culture. According to the 6th Annual Learning in the Workplace study, 93% of employees ranked “on-the-job experience” as essential to how they learn, followed closely by social learning at 90%.

And, in a smaller study on top-requested LMS features by employees, 24% self-reported a desire for discussion boards on their LMS, while 23% also wanted the option to upload and share content with their peers. That’s roughly 50% of learners asking us for social learning tools to extend their formal learning!

So, if social learning is so desirable, why are some companies reluctant to adopt social learning tools into their organizational culture?

social learning tools - debunking the myths

The Biggest Barrier to Social Learning

Remarkably, the Masie Learning Consortium has discovered the number one barrier to social adoption is organizational culture. If you’ve been around the corporate training world for while, this probably doesn’t surprise you. It can be difficult to sell the value of social learning up the ladder.

And let’s be honest: most LMS’s social learning functions have been subpar for a long time, hampered by bad user interfaces that make good, helpful content hard to find. But that’s not the case anymore. Modern LMS platforms with social learning tools, like Spoke, make it incredibly easy for both moderators and learners.

So, in the spirit of dispelling myths, here are four common misconceptions and fears we hear from training professionals about social learning – and why there’s no need to be afraid anymore.

Social Learning Drives Formal Learning

Misconception:

“Our eLearning and ILT courses are really effective, so we don’t need social learning.”

Reality:

Informal learning tools extend and reinforce formal learning experiences.

Remember the old Cone of Experience model? It states that people remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they see, and so on. If your training still relies on the Cone of Experience, then it’s definitely time to explore a new model.

The truth is, we know that “chunking” information into bite-sized courses increases retention rate and that this mode of formal micro-learning has to be reinforced with informal learning practices, like social learning.

In Chip and Dan Heath’s Made To Stick, they refer to this as “talking shop,” or sharing personal workplace experiences. In marketing or training terms, we call this storytelling. People love to share experiences, and when we encourage those conversations, they result in greater learning.

Here’s how Jeff Cobb explains it in Leading the Learning Revolution:

“As much as 80% of our learning happens in an informal manner, and a great deal of it is based on our interactions with other people. Why does it matter? It is very often in the context of this 80% that we make decisions about more formal learning opportunities. If you are not there, not engaged, not providing value, then the chances that a prospect will come to see you or your organization as the source to go to for more formal, paid learning experiences diminishes dramatically.”

In other words, our informal learning experiences drive our desire to seek out further formal learning content in our organizations. When we don’t provide social learning tools, our learners seek out ways to connect elsewhere.

If it’s my money, I’d rather provide social learning tools to my teams, watch them flourish, and then analyze the discussion to learn how I can provide better training experiences.

Moderating Social Learning Tools

Misconception:

“I don’t have time to moderate discussion boards and police wrong answers or bad behavior.”

Reality:

It’s easy to designate moderators and enable safe content filters.

Good leaders all have one skill in common: they know how to delegate.

Moderating each and every social interaction in your LMS shouldn’t be your sole responsibility (even if you are a one-person army). And, with a social learning LMS like Spoke, features like moderators and profanity filters means it doesn’t have to be.

As a training strategist, I always recommend identifying influential subject-matter experts (SMEs) and designating them as your social community moderators. Here’s how you can do it.

First, like your favorite social media platforms, Spoke calculates how engaging posts are to your audience, and how many people have found the post content helpful. This makes identifying your company’s top influencers easy, and you can always see who’s at the top of the list (check out the screenshot below).

social learning tools - top influencers leaderboard

Next, identify the right top influencers and key SMEs for each training topic and give them moderator permission in the LMS. Spoke allows you to designate moderator permissions without giving people full-admin access, so you never have to worry about too many cooks in the proverbial kitchen.

And finally, if you’re worried about profanity or illicit content, both you and your moderators can enable the safe content filter to give that extra peace of mind.

Moderators can also deprioritize discussions they don’t want to trend, or if needed, they can turn off commenting functions for individual posts. On Spoke, we also ask every user to agree to community guidelines when they first join the platform, which reduces the risk of unwanted behaviors.

Finding The Right Answer is Easy

Misconception:

“It’s impossible to find good answers to topics, because they’re buried in old discussion threads.”

Reality:

Global search and linking news stories to courses and discussion topics make content super easy to find.

If you’ve spent time comparing LMS platforms, you know many of them boast social learning tool suites, but it’s little more than a text-heavy, hard-to-navigate message board. A truly modern social learning LMS extends and reinforces training by building “deep hooks” into formal content and elevating the learning experience.

To develop these deep hooks, you need a platform that allows you to create what we call horizontal link structures between content.

For example, in Spoke, it’s easy for a manager to post a news update announcing new sales packages and include a link to relevant course content or discussion threads. This moves learners seamlessly between news, course, and discussion content, eliminating the old problem of “siloed content.”

To make discussion posts easy to navigate, Spoke’s interface replicates well-known social media user experiences by building threaded conversations to keep everything all in one place. Users can also upload their own image and video content to a post for things like practicing a sales pitch or showing how you properly executed your planogram.

And, the cherry on top? We added a sorting function so you can search discussions by trending topics, and a search function so you can look up a topic like “retention” and see the most relevant discussions across the company.

Social Learning Tools with global search

And finally, for all the techies in the room, Spoke uses an advanced algorithm that calculates engagement, recognizes top influencers, and looks at up-votes to display the content that is most relevant to your learners.

If you want to see all these tools in action, check out our short, two-minute introduction to Spoke Community.

Social Learning Tools vs. Enterprise Social Networks

Misconception:

“We already have Slack, so we don’t need social learning features in our LMS.”

Reality:

Using enterprise social networks (ESN) for learning creates confusion about where to find the right answers.

If you’re already using an ESN like Slack or HipChat, then you know it’s a great workaround for quick, internal email. But there’s a two-fold problem with relying on ESNs to solve your training department’s social learning problem.

First, humans are not naturally great at organization or communication. Shocking, I know!

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), simple miscommunications cost small business around $42,000 a year, and up to $62 million a year for enterprise companies. ESNs were supposed to solve the problem of getting too many internal emails, but they simply added another communication channel into our work stream that actually makes finding answers even harder to do.

Now, instead of using ESNs as a silver bullet to solve our communication woes, companies are facing the single source of truth problem. Increased communication channels mean increased confusion.

Is that Excel file pinned to my Slack channel, or did I email it to our group chain?

Did Maryanne post that troubleshooting solve in the LMS or in our technician’s group channel? 

To solve this, drive users to a single source of truth for answers to their questions – and what better place to send users looking for answers than to your LMS?

When you migrate informal learning to your LMS, you increase your week-over-week login rate, which means you drive new workplace behaviors for your learners. And as we all know, creating behavioral change is the road to true personal growth.

Time To Get Social!

Let me end with a short story.

In 2010, employees at a major, global retailer asked the management team if they could start a local Facebook group to share sales tips, connect with co-workers, and coordinate shift swaps. The official response was that social media groups were against corporate policy. So what happened? The employees started their own Facebook groups and the management was never invited.

The moral of the story is, when your employees are asking for social learning tools, figure out the best solution and give them what they’re asking for, or, run the risk of them developing an informal system of learning on their own.

Get started creating a robust culture of social learning today, because informal learning is a critical component in delivering true behavioral change in the workplace.

Take a look at Spoke or schedule a demo, and come see what a truly modern social learning platform can do for your organizational culture!