Ultraceuticals Launches Award-Winning UltraAcademy With Spoke®

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.

Backstory

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.

Opportunity

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.

Partnership

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.

Solution

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.

sales training program - sales methodology

 

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.

sales training program - sales methodology

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.

Results

“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.

Meet Spoke®

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.

8 Modern LMS Features That Drive Learner Engagement

On the hunt for a new learning management system and interested in modern LMS features?  Based on our experience, any LMS can host your training content, but an LMS with modern features lets learners take training into their own hands. This list includes 8 modern LMS features that will set you and your team up for success.

 

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1. SOCIAL AND COLLABORATIVE LEARNING

Community functions like discussion boards, content ratings, upvoting, and the ability to follow specific users make it easy for learners to collaborate with peers, instructors, and managers long after the training course has ended.

Educational researchers have been touting the benefits of discussion features in online learning for decades now because they allow participants to mindfully reflect on their peers’ contributions before responding—and this type of thoughtful collaboration may be one of the most important elements of effective online training.

Capturing and encouraging conversations that surround your business’ training content and best practices is a powerful way to help your team learn more efficiently and effectively. It also gives you insight into what training content is working (and what’s not).

 

2. INTEGRATED COMMUNICATION TOOLS

The “If you build it, they will come” approach doesn’t work in L&D. Not only do you need to develop great training—you also need an effective communication strategy to let people know there’s exciting new content in their LMS.

It’s more like: “If you build it, market it internally, give learners multiple ways to engage with it, and reward the effort, they will come.” 

That’s why one modern LMS feature on the rise is integrated communication tools. Integrated communication tools allow you to create training alerts on users’ dashboards, send email notifications and newsletters, display pop-up notifications, and even have a news portal where users can quickly see what’s happening in the company.

 

3. REAL-WORLD GAMIFICATION

Don’t think of gamification as a distraction. Instead, think of it as a way to hook learners and get them excited about training. We’ve seen real-world gamification drive results like a 5.5x increase in course completions and nearly a 2x increase daily logins.

Incentives like points, leaderboards, badges, and levels motivate users to engage with your LMS and increase their social capital. They also create friendly competition.

The concept is simple—show people their progress, reward their performance, and they’ll want to do more. Truly modern LMS platforms go the extra mile and allow users to trade in their points for real-world rewards like apparel and company swag.

 

4. BLENDED LEARNING

Blended learning occurs when the best delivery methodologies available for each specific learning objective are incorporated into a curriculum, according to ATD.

And based on our experience, to create a perfectly blended learning experience, you need to let the subject matter inform your modality, embrace learners’ constraints, and choose a learning platform that supports blended learning.

If a learning platform has modern capabilities, its LMS features should supports and encourage blended learning. How? Its user interface should make it easy to upload and complete courses across a variety of modalities—from ILT and VILT to eLearning and interactive learning guides.

 

5. GREAT CONTENT

You can have a platform with every learning management system feature available, but if you fill it with boring, uninspiring content, you’re not going to get very far.

Boring PowerPoint presentations don’t cut it anymore. Your employees can’t learn if they’re sleeping through their training. Training content that gets results is short, personalized, and engaging.

 

6. EASY TO USE

A modern user interface isn’t enough. An LMS with nice visuals can still be a nightmare for learners and administrators to use.

You want an eLearning platform that not only looks great, but is also well organized, easy to access and navigate, and just makes sense for users.

 

7. Integrations

From CRM tools like Salesforce to HR and recruiting systems, you have many software products you already use to manage your day-to-day. Who wants to remember another username and password?

That’s where integrations come in.

When choosing an LMS, consider features like APIs (application program interface) and SSO (single sign-on). APIs, SSO, and other integrations can help you work your eLearning platform into your workflow seamlessly.

 

8. Analytics to prove roi

It’s time to look beyond baseline reporting to help determine ROI. Course completion and pass/fail rates are a good start, but your LMS should deliver other valuable data and insights.

For example, track how popular and helpful discussion threads and resources are. Track course ratings and reviews. And merge your LMS data with other business results like VOC scores (Voice of the Customer), sales, revenue, how long it takes to get new employees up to speed, etc.

Armed with these analytics, you can identify training gaps. You can also see what content and formats resonate most with learners, and use all of these insights to inform how you design your next training module.

 

Put Them All Together

Think finding a single platform with all these LMS features is a pipe dream? It’s not. In fact, we call it Spoke®.

Spoke is a modern learning platform that combines personalized, social, and collaborative learning with real-world gamification and built-in communication tools to keep learners engaged.

How much more engaged? Compared to other leading platforms, companies using Spoke have seen up to:

  • a 5.5X increase in course completions,
  • 3.5x increase in logins, and
  • 2.5x increase in non-required activity

If you’re not seeing those results with your current learning platform, check out Spoke LMS.

 

What LMS Features Matter To Your users?

If you’ve completed your LMS requirements checklist, let us know which of these 8 modern LMS features made it to the top of your must-haves list. What other items did you prioritize? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Creating Your LMS Requirements Checklist: A Step-by-Step Guide

There’s no way around it: choosing a learning management system, whether it’s your first LMS or you’re making the switch, is tricky. And let’s be honest, there’s a lot of unhelpful information out there claiming to be your complete guide to selecting an LMS. Here’s the truth: a one-size-fits-all LMS requirements checklist doesn’t exist, because no one knows the unique needs of your business except for you.

With that in mind, the Unboxed team sat down and thought: why not empower training leaders to explore their training needs and create an LMS requirements checklist that meets those needs?

 

Creating Your LMS Requirements Checklist: A Step-by-Step Guide

 

So, instead of producing another half-baked LMS checklist, we decided to create a powerful tool you can actually use:

A step-by-step LMS buyers guide that teaches you how to identify your unique LMS requirements and establish a simple process for choosing your first LMS or switching your current LMS.

If you’re looking for a proven method to determine your company’s training needs—and a step-by-step guide to get you through LMS implementation—then download Creating Your LMS Requirements Checklist: A Step-by-Step Guide.

 

Want to know more about what’s included in the guide? We’ve got you covered. Keep reading for an in-depth preview of what’s inside.

 

THE BUSINESS CASE FOR A GREAT LMS & GREAT TRAINING

A learning management system is simply software that delivers training content, hosts resources (like PDFs, digital learning guides, and links to online content), and tracks each user’s progress over time.

It’s worth noting that while most companies use their LMS to deliver onboarding, sales and compliance training, recent data on talent acquisition and development has prompted a deeper desire to think more about the effectiveness of that training content, and how and when it is delivered.

What you’ll find inside the guide:

  • The 5 classifications of LMSs everyone should know
  • What Millennials are really looking for in the workplace
  • Recent data on how to retain and nurture high performing employees
  • How to boost your company’s revenue with a great LMS and custom training

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR NEW LMS THE RIGHT WAY

RULE #1: DON’T START WITH FEATURES

Crawling and walking, horses and carts. It’s always the same mistake: we want to skip to the end instead of beginning at the, well, beginning. Before you can start creating a list of LMS requirements, you have to understand your users, the content they want to engage with, and how, when, and why they want to engage with it.

Jumping right to the end and picking LMS features isn’t like spoiling the ending of your favorite novel. It’s more like wasting your department’s budget by implementing a training system that your colleagues will never use. It’s a sure-fire way to instantly kill any organic desire for a culture of learning at your company.

What you’ll find inside the guide:

  • How to assemble a diverse stakeholder team
  • How to identify user roles to understand your company’s diverse needs
  • How to write user stories that map out your company’s training goals
  • How to separate LMS must-haves from nice-to-haves

CHOOSING A NEW LMS OR MAKING THE SWITCH

If you’re new to learning management systems, there is one thing you must focus on before anything else: quality training content. Even the best LMS isn’t worth a penny without great content, so work at adopting a smart, company-wide training content strategy first, and don’t get bogged down by starting with LMS features.

If you’re switching to a new LMS, you most likely have a training content strategy already in place. But, you still need to build a list of clearly-articulated pain points about what’s missing in your current LMS and what you need in your new one. Then, you need to work with your LMS provider to build an implementation plan that address your specific data migration needs.

What you’ll find inside the guide:

  • Some notes on the importance of great training content and a training strategy
  • A few quick insights on data migration and your pain points

VETTING YOUR LMS PARTNER: WHAT YOU SHOULD BE ASKING

It should be simple, so what makes choosing the right LMS so complicated?

Not only do you have to show your stakeholder team the business case for LMS adoption, you also have to marry great training content with the right list of LMS features that are best for your company.

And on top of that, if you’re not asking your future LMS provider the right questions up front, it’s hard to know whether you’re simply getting a vendor (who just wants to land your account) or a true business partner (who is deeply invested in your success).

What you’ll find inside the guide:

  • 5 questions to ask every LMS provider

THE LMS Requirements CHECKLIST

Throughout the process of choosing a new LMS, we know you’ll want to stay organized. So, we’ve also included a simple checklist that keeps everything in one place and helps you track your progress.

It’s basically your cheat-sheet. And, we’re here to help in any way we can.

What you’ll find inside the guide:

  • A two-page checklist you can use throughout your LMS implementation process, from building your stakeholder team to hyping your launch

SPOKE® AND UNBOXED TRAINING: YOUR PERFECT PAIR

C’mon; we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t at least take one opportunity to tell you about our world-class LMS, Spoke®, and Unboxed Training, our custom training design team.

After you’ve downloaded the LMS requirements checklist, make sure to visit our Spoke page to check it out for yourself. While you’re there, you can also sign up for a personalized demo.

Learning Has Changed. Has Your LMS Kept Up?

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.

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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:

  1. Does your training content stack up?
  2. 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.

Let’s Connect

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.

5 Learning & Development Trends to Watch in 2017

Update: Check out our list of 2018 training trends to watch.

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?”

2017 Learning and Development Trends to Watch

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.

69% Donut Chart

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.

49% Donut Chart

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.

33% Donut Chart

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.

33% Donut Chart

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.

27% Donut Chart

 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