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.
Galileo 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Here at Unboxed, we believe that by creating new ways to educate and empower people, we can help organizations build the strong workforce they need to succeed. That’s why we’re exploring the cutting-edge world of virtual reality and testing virtual experiences learners will enjoy and remember for years to come.
What Is Virtual Reality?
As our senses are engaged with inputs (sight, sound, touch, etc.), we experience the world around us, “reality.” This reality dictates the way that we interact with our environment and the complex situations we encounter daily.
“Virtual” reality emulates those sensory inputs to create a computer-generated version of that reality.
What Do I Need to Get Started?
If you think virtual reality requires a big investment to get started, think again. With a variety of pricing options and experiences, the technology is more accessible and affordable than you might think.
Here are just a few examples.
Handheld devices allow users to experience virtual reality with a smartphone. Simply mount a device like Google Cardboard to your phone and peer into the virtual world. At around $15, it’s the most affordable way to get started with virtual reality.
Head Mounted Smartphone Devices
A head-mounted device (HMD) like the Homido goes one step further by mounting a device with your smartphone on your head for a more immersive experience than handheld. With the addition of head tracking and your peripheral vision removed, you’ll quickly find yourself “within” the virtual world, rather than “peering in.” Starting around $50, the cost to get started is still low.
Premium Computer-Connected Devices
These are the most premium virtual reality devices currently on the market. Beyond the head tracking included with the HMDs, these devices include motion tracking, controllers that mimic the hands in the virtual space, and in some cases, room-scale mapping, which lets you move freely in open spaces. For a computer powerful enough to run the applications, as well as the headset, motion tracking, and controllers, the initial buy-in jumps up to around $2,000.
Using Virtual Reality for Training
So, how can you use virtual reality for training? Since virtual reality allows users to interact with and process information in new ways, these (almost) real-life experiences, when tailored for your organizations, make it easier to deliver, retain, and recall information. Virtual reality adds a level of immersion and interactivity that gives businesses the opportunity to train their employees and customers like never before.
Virtual reality training is currently being used to educate professionals on sales, safety procedures, medical procedures, ethics, and much more. Even sports teams like the NCAA Stanford Cardinals are using virtual reality to train their freshman players on learning plays, reading the opposing team, and making quicker decisions when on the field.
Along with training, the growing list of applications include, but are not limited to architecture, healthcare, education, and entertainment. Companies like Jaguar and Audi also are releasing experiences where users can view the interior and exterior of newly developed concept cars.
What Are We Working On?
During our initial exploration of virtual reality, our team created a virtual retail world where the voice of a virtual coach guides the user through a customer interaction. This experience blazes a trail for organizations to rethink the way they train their employees–from opening a store to upselling accessories.
The virtual coach gives verbal instructions, provides words of encouragement as the user completes the given tasks, and offers additional direction if the user gets lost.
The user also has the ability to view training videos on a tablet in the virtual store. This allows the user to review information they may have learned in their initial training as a quick refresher.
Unboxed designer/developer/animator/all-around good guy Michael Laskaris used his background in game design and development to create this experience. During the creation process, Michael discovered that with a small team and the right resources, building virtual reality training experiences for our clients could be in our future sooner than we think. And let’s face it, when given the option, would you rather have another PowerPoint presentation, or would you prefer to give your learners a simulated experience that closely mimics their day-to-day?
Want to be part of that future with us? Leave a comment below, or contact us and let us know what VR experiences you’d like to see.
Global internet technology company AppNexus was in need of a training overhaul that would help their clients get the most out of the powerful services they offer. In Unboxed Technology, they found a partner who could develop training solutions that would scale and adapt, even as their business changed or grew over time.
AppNexus is one of the world’s largest independent platforms for the buying and selling of internet-based advertising. With over 1,000 employees working in offices located in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Australia, their customizable software solutions facilitate billions of ad sales every day.
As AppNexus expanded, so did the need to onboard new clients to their software platform in a scalable way. Their existing training was overly complex, time consuming and limited by their Services Team’s availability to provide in-person, one-on-one assistance.
In order to better onboard their customers, AppNexus needed a change. Their goal: an e-learning program that could be accessed from anywhere in the world, educate their clients on how to use their platform effectively and remain evergreen as AppNexus continued to grow. It also had to be easy to update, to account for any future changes to the e-commerce landscape.
We had a sense of the kind of e-learning that we wanted but needed an engaging, scalable solution.
“We had a sense of the kind of e-learning that we wanted but needed an engaging, scalable solution,” says Crossman Wilkins, AppNexus’ Lead Instructional Designer. After first attempting to resource the project internally, AppNexus quickly realized they required a partner if they wanted to build a comprehensive program within their desired timeframe. Ultimately, they chose Unboxed to design a solution that would fit.
Unboxed began the discovery process by attending in-person workshops at AppNexus’ corporate headquarters in New York. While there, they gained a better understanding of AppNexus’ business practices and the software console itself, which allowed them to recommend custom training solutions tailored to AppNexus’ unique needs and culture.
Unboxed also met with subject matter experts to identify common struggles with the platform. In doing so, they gained valuable insights into the areas in which AppNexus’ clients needed the most help, what kind of solution would be the most effective, and how best to share the training content. At the end of the process, Unboxed recommended a microlearning approach that would thoroughly and quickly educate AppNexus’ clients.
Unboxed allowed us to make an entire curriculum all at once, and at a better quality than I could make on my own.
Even at this early stage of their partnership with Unboxed, AppNexus was confident they had made the right choice. Through close collaboration, Unboxed and AppNexus were able to rapidly align on a strategy and move into development. “Unboxed allowed us to make an entire curriculum all at once,” Wilkins says, “and at a better quality than I could make on my own.”
The resulting training modules consisted of two-to-three minute, single-topic e-learnings that provided comprehensive training on the AppNexus console, while allowing AppNexus’ partners to customize their learning experience to their needs. This just-in-time approach gave each individual learner access to the exact information they need at any point in time. To keep the content easy to understand, the microlearning modules featured a shared iconography to help convey abstract concepts, while footage of the console itself provided step-by-step interface training. By taking the time to establish these conventions during the design process, Unboxed could rapidly create additional modules as AppNexus needed them.
This new training allowed AppNexus’ customers to familiarize themselves with their platform and understand its basic functionality. “Unboxed’s content is engaging and effective,” says Laurie Schnidman, Senior Director of Product Support & Customer Education for AppNexus’ Advertiser Technology Group. “We knew it would be a great fit for us.”
Unboxed’s content is engaging and effective. We knew it would be a great fit for us.
“It’s not a chore to watch the training we develop,” Wilkins added. “It’s engaging and drives to the core concepts we are teaching to.” And since the e-learning modules were designed with two-dimensional, customizable animation, they will be easy to update, a crucial feature in an industry where change is constant.
Since launching the first e-learning modules in June 2015, AppNexus has seen overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers, thanks to its ability to teach them the platform quickly from anywhere in the world. Customers use it. Customers love it.
“User growth has been impressive,” says Schnidman. “It’s been up and to the right since we launched.” Completion rates are at 70%, for training the company considers optional. Clients have singled out the program’s easy-to-understand content and high quality production value as high points. The head of performance at one AppNexus client said that for new members of his team, the e-learning is “a well-structured ‘pick up and go’ curriculum that allows first time users to get immersed in the AppNexus world with easy-to-understand e-learning videos and article content.”
85% said they found the content informative, and almost 80% said they were either likely or very likely to recommend the content to another learner.
… [our Services Team is] spending less time on basic training and more time on high-impact, strategic and technical consulting.
But some of the biggest advocates? AppNexus’ own Services Team. According to Schnidman, they are recommending it to customers on a regular basis, thanks to its ability to onboard customers faster than ever. “Anecdotally, they’re spending less time on basic training,” she says, “and more time on high-impact, strategic and technical consulting.”
Going forward, Unboxed will continue to develop new e-learning modules to expand the training curriculum and help learners get the most out of their partnership with AppNexus. “Unboxed has been a great partner in this project,” Wilkins said, “and the quality of the content continues to exceed our expectations.”
BH Media was a rapidly growing organization with a need for formal, streamlined, and company-wide training that could be measured and linked to business and professional growth. Through a partnership with Unboxed Technology, they got the whole package: a custom-created sales methodology, product training, and leadership training, all ready to launch in Spoke—a super-simple, web-based social learning management system.
BH Media is a Berkshire Hathaway company all about community. With 30 daily and over 70 weekly newspapers—including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Winston-Salem Journal, the Tulsa World and the Omaha World-Herald—they use digital, print, and progressive media solutions to inform and engage readers in their own communities across the nation.
As BH Media acquired a significant number of papers throughout the country, competing processes as well as different cultures, communities, readership, and reach significantly impacted sales. They knew their long-term success depended on providing their busy sales professionals with a simple way to share best practices and sharpen their skills.
BH Media began an exhaustive search and conducted many interviews for the right vendor. “Not only were we looking for training content, but also a way to deliver content,” said Angela Brauer, then Director of Sales and Development.
According to Brauer, she and Thom Kastrup, Chief Revenue Officer, knew they were in good hands with Unboxed. They received great advice on what the program should focus on, how the training should roll out, and how trainers should deliver the content.
I feel like we were colleagues and coworkers. It was a really good fit.
With Unboxed’s innovative approach to online learning, expertise in sales training, and ability to create content that brings it all to life, BH Media found their new partner.
Unboxed started a discovery process for the program by conducting ride-alongs in multiple markets and worked with a cross-company team of over 30 ad sales experts, managers, and market leaders to build content that specifically addressed sales professionals’ needs.
The development of the new program proved to be more than a typical client-vendor relationship. “I feel like we were colleagues and coworkers,” Brauer said. “It was a really good fit. And having content development experts was important to the success of the program.”
What resulted was a new sales methodology that defines stages in the sales process (the Great Sales Behaviors) and identifies target areas that drive increased sales for both sales professionals and their respective papers. Program objectives were aimed at prospecting more to increase sales activity, acquire more clients, generate high ad revenue per client, build total revenue, and reduce client churn.
In addition to the sales methodology, Unboxed developed a series of product training eLearnings and training for managers to better coach, support, reinforce, and practice the Great Sales Behaviors with their team. To tie it all together, all the content launched in Spoke, allowing learners to tap into online training materials, engage with other sales professionals, and share best practices in the community.
This new training marked the beginning of a culture of learning for BH Media, one that highlighted the investment the company had in their sales professionals. The content changed the way sales teams sell to their clients and taught them how to better care for their customers and sustain long-term relationships with them.
Over the last few years, the company has acquired multiple newspapers that at one time were all separate businesses. They each had unique processes, but now Unboxed is bringing it all together—a profound feat for what Brauer once described as “one three-year-old company made up of a bunch of 100-year-old companies.”
And with Spoke, the company now uses online training to enhance talent acquisition and onboard new hires. Sales professionals communicate across markets and share best practices with colleagues. They can even use Spoke alongside existing sales tools such as Salesforce and Chatter to tie training and community to customer relationship management.
The best onboarding training I’ve ever seen.
The program has been in place for over a year. A survey taken from training sessions spanning BH Media markets across the country and hundreds of participants demonstrated near-unanimous satisfaction with the new sales training and course materials:
98% agreed and strongly agreed that the content was immediately useful and applicable within the following 30 days after the training.
99% agreed and strongly agreed that the course materials were helpful and met the intended objectives of the training.
98% agreed and strongly agreed when asked if they would recommend the course to others.
Participants freely offered additional feedback about the training:
“The best onboarding training I’ve ever seen.” (Hickory, NC)
“Although I’ve been selling advertising for several years, I learned [so] much useful information that [I’ve] already incorporated into my daily activities.” (Bryan-College Station, TX)
“This was one of the most comprehensive classes I have had in any industry. More relevant to our daily jobs than any other training session.” (Kearney, NE)
Since the initial rollout, BH Media and Unboxed Technology continue to develop new content, witness an increase in cross-market alignment, and expand the use of Spoke’s social component.
“We were thrilled with the outcome,” Brauer said. “With great new content in Spoke, we now have a program we can build upon and use for many years. We don’t have to send our people away to another company for training. They’re trained by us.”