Spoke Updates: Course Deadlines & Compliance Testing

Getting people up to speed quickly is always one of the goals of a good training program. If you’ve ever managed a team, you’re probably thinking, #truth!

The Spoke team wants to make it as easy as possible to manage course deadlines and compliance settings. So, we’ve released two feature enhancements. We hope you love ‘em!

Setting Course Deadlines

Okay, this is as simple as it sounds. You can set course deadlines:

  • based on a specific date
  • based on a timespan

Let’s go over each one.

Specific date: Let’s say the go-live date for a new point of sale system is July 13. As part of the transition plan, you want to make sure all of your managers and frontline reps complete the training by July 11. Learners will easily see callouts letting them know if a deadline is approaching or overdue.

Timespan: Your company invested in a great manager training program this year—kudos! Now, any time an employee receives a promotion to manager, he or she has three months to complete Leadership 101. This is the perfect scenario to set course deadlines based on a timespan.

And don’t worry, your learners will receive email notifications letting them know a course deadline is approaching. Not bad, huh?

Setting Compliance

Continuing with the simplicity theme, you now get to choose how long a learner remains compliant after completing required training – either forever, or a custom time span of years, weeks, or days.

For example, say your employees are required to complete an annual course on information security. The compliance settings in Spoke allow you to create that recurring reminder to employees to retake the course and renew their certification.

In the screenshot below, you’ll see how course deadlines (courses marked Due Soon and Overdue) and compliance reminders (courses marked Expired and Retake Soon) appear to learners in a course pack.

Deadlines and Compliance Settings in Spoke

Speak Up

As always, we love getting user feedback and want to hear from you. If you’re a current Spoke user or admin, drop us a line or leave a comment below.

If you’re not using Spoke yet and want to see it in action, contact our Spokes-people to set up a demo.

Spoke® Updates: User API and Okta Integration

In today’s world of technology, integration can be a beautiful thing. And with the latest Spoke release, we’ve delivered just that – more integration options. With an enhanced user API and Okta integration, it’s now easier than ever to manage your learners in Spoke and save them from having to remember yet another username and password.

User API

Spoke now provides a REST—yep, that stands for Representative State Transfer—API for registered applications to create, read, update and delete users in Spoke. The REST API is super-helpful for organizations that already manage their personnel in a separate system other than Spoke, like an HRIS. Instead of managing users in two different systems (a recipe for redundancy and errors!) admins can now manage Spoke users from just one system.

Of course, admins still have the option to add, update, and delete users either one at a time, or via the bulk uploader.

API Documentation

In addition to our user API functionality, we’ve outlined all the documentation details here. That includes a fully-featured API explorer your IT department can experiment with before integrating.

Okta Integration

If your company uses Okta to manage different software apps, you can now use Okta as your Single-Sign-on provider. Once configured, users will see a Spoke icon on their Okta dashboard, which they can click to access Spoke. Or if they go to Spoke directly, they will see an Okta sign-in screen instead of the Spoke login screen. This can all be set up in just a few steps that don’t require an engineer.

Spoke is also listed in the “OAN” — Okta Application Network. This is a list of ready-to-go apps that can be used in Okta. Admins simply go their Application section, find Spoke in the list, and say they want to use it.

Speak Up

We love getting user feedback and want to hear from you. If you’re a current Spoke user, drop us a line or leave a comment below.

If you’re not using Spoke yet and want to see it in action, contact our Spokespeople to set up a demo.

Spoke Updates: Prerequisites & A Redesigned Training Page

If you’re feeling like this is déjà vu, it’s not. The Spoke team is on a roll. We just added more social learning features to Spoke less than a month ago, and here’s another great set of enhancements to the world’s simplest social LMS.

We have to thank our users for their thoughtful and continuous feedback. The latest release is, once again, a result of their input.

Organizing Training Content

The latest release helps admins better organize training content, and learners find it and complete it. So, before we jump into the new features, here’s a quick overview of how Spoke organizes training content.

  • Courses – individual eLearning or instructor-led courses. For example, upload an eLearning course that explains the features and benefits of a specific product.
  • Course Packs – groups of related courses. For example, group all of your product training courses into a Course Pack called Product Training.
  • Curriculums – groups of related course packs. For example, group your Onboarding, Product Training, and Sales Behaviors Course Packs together into the New Hire Sales Rep curriculum that you assign to all of your new reps.

And now, onto the new features.

Prerequisites

We get it. Sometimes it’s OK to complete training in any order. In other cases, you want to make sure your learners progress through their learning journey in a specific order.

Spoke now gives admins the option to set prerequisites at the Curriculum and Course Pack level, which ensures learners complete their training in a prescribed sequence. Just check the box and drag the Courses or Course Packs to reorder them how you want your learners to complete them.

Set Prerequisites in the Spoke LMS

The experience is just as simple for your learners. When they view their Training page, courses with unsatisfied prerequisites will be marked as locked. In the example below, learners must complete the Mood Beats: Product Features and Benefits course before the two Sales Strategies courses.

Spoke - Prerequisites for learners

Training Page Redesign

This update also includes a completely redesigned (and renamed) Courses page. Now called the Training page, it’s easier than ever for learners to search, filter, and focus on their remaining coursework.

The Training page now displays all of a learner’s assigned Curriculums with their included Course Packs and the number of Courses in each Course Pack. To reduce the noise, it’s pre-filtered to In Progress, so learners will only see their remaining training.

Spoke's redesigned training page
Learners can dive into Course Packs to see individual Courses, or use the new search bar to find exactly what they’re looking for.

Spoke training search bar

Even the Course details window has been redesigned to provide a better experience.

Spoke course details

Speak Up

We love getting user feedback and want to hear from you. If you’re a current Spoke user, drop us a line or leave a comment below.

If you’re not using Spoke yet and want to see it in action, contact our Spokes-people to set up a demo.

Spoke Updates: Follow People & Discussions

Spoke® is already one of the world’s best social learning management systems available (don’t take our word for it), and with the latest release we’re giving users even more ways to enhance their social learning experience.

These new features are, once again, a result of overwhelming user feedback. Users wanted a way to stay connected with their peers and to be notified when their colleagues post in the community and new content is added to Spoke. As a result we’ve added the ability to follow people and discussions, receive additional email notifications, and manage these settings from an updated account settings.

Here’s a quick tour.

Follow A Person

Learners can now follow a person within their organization. Have a colleague you want to keep up with? Follow him! Is there a rock star sales rep you want to learn from? Follow her! Now, whenever someone a user follows posts in the community, they’ll receive an email notification to check out the discussion. This feature adds yet another social element to Spoke and will be a building block for more features to come in the near future.

Spoke: follow a person

Follow A Discussion

Community is a busy place and it can be hard to keep up with the discussions you really care about. Users can now follow a discussion and receive email notifications whenever there’s a new post.

Spoke: follow a discussion

Additional Email Notifications

New Course – Even frequent Spoke users could miss a new course that’s been added to their curriculum. The New Course email notification will allow users to receive an email notification when new courses are added.

Spoke News – Spoke News now has more visibility than ever. All assigned learners can now receive email notifications about the latest updates. The goal of this feature is to increase open rates for all news items.

Spoke: manage email preferences

Account Settings page

As we continue to enhance Spoke, we wanted to give users a super simple, all-in-one place to manage their profile, email notifications, people and discussions they follow, and more. The new Settings page allows users to manage these settings as well as their photo, nickname, password, and Salesforce integration.

Spoke: settings page

Speak Up

We love getting user feedback and want to hear from you. If you’re a current Spoke user, drop us a line or leave a comment below.

If you’re not yet using Spoke and want to see it in action, check it out, or contact our Spokes-people to schedule a personal demo.

LMS Gamification, Employee Engagement, & Spoke Rewards

One of the core product principles of our learning management system, Spoke®, is this:

Make it fun and reward participation and performance.

So, we’ve taken LMS gamification to the next level with Spoke Rewards—which drives results like a 5.5x increase in course completions and nearly a 2x increase daily logins to the platform. Take a look:

Want to learn more about how to incentivize training engagement? Keep reading.

LMS GAMIFICATION fast-tracks LEARNER engagement

We built Spoke because our training clients kept telling us their learning platforms weren’t driving engagement—they were actually hurting learners’ motivation and performance. To us, this wasn’t acceptable. People want to learn. And when they’re actively involved, everyone wins. Higher engagement is linked to results like higher productivity, increased innovation, lower turnover, better customer ratings, and more sales.

So, as we developed the Spoke roadmap, we prioritized gamification. We started with these elements:

  • Spoke Coins: Learners earn coins to reward them for completing courses. They also get coins from other users if they post helpful comments in discussion forums as a form of feedback and peer recognition.
  • Badges: Learners unlock badges to recognize achievements and milestones.
  • Levels: Learners advance through different levels that convey their expertise.
  • Leaderboard: Learners can see how they rank compared to others and get motivated thanks to this friendly competition.

The latest enhancement has been the launch of Spoke Rewards. Here’s a look behind the scenes.

SPOKE REWARDS: LMS GAMIFICATION LEVELS UP

Most employee reward and recognition programs focus on outputs. Employees who stick around for a long time receive gifts for tenure. Sales reps are incentivized for closing business. Runners receive a medal for finishing a marathon. We wanted to see what would happen if we rewarded the input, in this case training, to see what effect it would have on the output.

Spoke Rewards does just that. It empowers users to earn Spoke Coins for completing training and sharing helpful content with their peers in the Spoke Community.

LMS gamification - Spoke coins

In addition to leveling up, unlocking badges, and climbing the leaderboard, Spoke users can redeem their coins to claim tangible rewards, ranging from apparel and company swag to small electronics and extra vacation time.

lms-gamification-Spoke-rewards

SPOKE REWARDS: SIMPLE to administEr

Spoke Rewards simplifies reward and recognition programs by integrating them. Instead of relying on multiple platforms, it’s all built into the LMS. Users can complete training, collaborate, and claim rewards all in one place.

Admins can easily:

  • Create and announce new rewards
  • Manage rewards settings, stock, and fulfillment
  • Monitor which rewards are most popular
  • Make rewards available to every Spoke user, or only to specific Spoke Teams (groups of users based on role, location, org structure, etc.)

 

LMS-gamification-admininstration-Rewards

When Admins create new rewards, they can base the cost on Spoke Coins earned, or they can require users to complete specific training or participate in a specific Spoke Community discussion to claim the reward.

In addition to the Spoke Rewards technology, we offer an end-to-end client service that includes everything from strategic advice on what rewards to offer, internal communication best practices, and logistics support such as shipping and handling. For clients who don’t want to manage their rewards program in-house, it’s a great benefit.

SOUNDS AWESOME! WHAT’S NEXT?

Craig Weiss named Spoke one of the top three gamification LMSs for 2016, and that was before Spoke Rewards took LMS gamification to the next level. Since the launch of Spoke Rewards, we’ve seen enthusiastic clients use it to generate buzz for their training programs and incentive course completion. And they’re getting great results.

One client reported the Spoke Rewards program was so popular, prizes were exceeded within a week and had to be replenished. Another client shared Spoke Rewards has driven brand awareness because so many employees are carrying company gear they’ve earned.

And then there’s that 5.5x increase in course completions and 2x increase daily logins we’d love to drive for you, too. Leave a comment and tell us what you think. If you’d like to see Spoke Rewards in action, contact us to schedule a personal demo.

Introducing Spoke® Teams (Or, Why We Love User Feedback)

Spoke Teams

When we first set out to build Spoke, our team was passionate around the idea that every Spoke user should be able to see the same content as every other user. Whether a discussion in the Community or a particular resource file, we believed all information should be visible to all people. In our eyes, one of the most valuable things Spoke could do was to open-source knowledge. Often, too much critical info is stored in the heads of people (and documented nowhere); we wanted to change all that.

After Spoke launched, we started getting feedback about how this content sharing setup was working. We heard things like:

We wish employees with similar job functions could talk amongst themselves without fear of judgment.

 

We want to post sensitive files on Spoke that are for managers’ eyes only.

 

We’d like to onboard vendor partners to Spoke, but we need to ensure these people don’t see our proprietary content.

User feedback showed us that making all information available to all users isn’t always what our clients need. And, we observed through our own user research that as more and more discussions and resources get created in Spoke, the sheer volume of information often becomes overwhelming and distracting for users. For many of our clients and end-users, less really is more!

This is where Spoke Teams comes in

What Spoke needed was a way to filter the content a user sees according to his or her role in the organization. We’re excited to roll out a new feature that makes this possible: Spoke Teams. With the power of Spoke Teams, an administrator can define a team of users based on certain characteristics (like job code or location in the company org chart) and then give that team access to community topics and resource categories as needed.

Why our team loved Teams

We loved working on this feature for a few reasons:

  1. It’s a feature that’s complex on multiple levels (hello intertwined data relationships!), but needs to feel simple to the administrator. We geek out on a good UI challenge like this one.
  2. We got to build a rules engine, which made us feel like we were prepping for the LSATs. (“If a user’s location says to include him on the team, but his job code says to exclude him from the team…which rule wins?”)
  3. Most importantly, we knew we were building something that would drive immediate value for our clients. Getting the chance to make people’s jobs and lives easier is what fuels our team.

Best of all, the learning doesn’t stop here. Now we’re watching how our users interact with Spoke Teams, with ears and eyes open for feedback that will help us improve the feature going forward.

What do you think of Spoke Teams? Leave a comment to let us know how you’d use this feature, or what we can do to take it to the next level.