BLOG: Summer Loving - What Were The Hot Topics at Learning Technologies Forum

Game screenshot


Ask any three people at last month's Learning Technologies Summer Forum what the hottest topics in eLearning were and you would probably get three different answers.

Yet there are some definite ‘buzzwords’ that get repeated out there as the ‘must haves’. Unicorn’s Head of Content Production, David Gristwood, ranks his ‘Top 3’ things people were talking about.


The use of ‘game thinking’ and ‘game mechanics’ in eLearning was unquestionably one of the hottest topics.

Whether it’s a game used in an assessment at the end of some eLearning, a mini-game through the eLearning, or a standalone game, 40% of the top 1,000 firms now claim to use games for staff learning. Reflecting this, eLearning providers have seen a 35% increase in requests for ‘gamification’ in the past year.

The beauty of gamification is that learners can learn while having fun, learn from getting it wrong, see how they compare to others, check progress and improve.

The feedback from the game can be the ‘knowledge imparting’ – the trick is simply to get the user immersed in the game from the start. But beware, there are tricks to getting it right with gamification. If you don’t, you may leave the learner wishing they just had the information on an A5 sheet!

Unicorn recently invested in casual games studio Amuzo, best known for their Lego games.

Combining their skills in designing fun games and their multi-platform technical expertise with our experience in learning design, we are already generating some remarkable learning game solutions – watch this space....

In the meantime discover the principles behind learning games through the Abbreviations Game #P2L here - Designing A Learning Game: Where Do You Start??

Video Learning

If gamification is high on the priorities for some firms, others cite one of the hottest trends in eLearning as the end of dull and daunting ‘point and click eLearning’.

This often takes months for the various teams to get together, with panels of people ‘sucking the life out the content’ before it’s published. Instead, people now realise they could quickly and cheaply listen to experts by pulling bite-size videos together, creating discussion boards and sharing links.

fightfraud_screenIt takes only a few hours for an expert to publish a video on a subject PLUS it has a higher chance of staff listening to it, and possibly even in their own time, on their own mobile.

L&D could find themselves with a growing role in collating videos and other packages for their LMS, for example, those of Lynda.com, oft quoted as the market leader for producing bite-size, expert videos. Lynda's recent purchase by LinkedIn for a staggering $1.6bn is the most dramatic sign of the times.

This trend has important implications for LMSs too.

Recognised eLearning expert and thought leader, Craig Weiss, has been predicting the rise of video learning for some time. In fact, in naming SkillsServe as the top LMS for financial services and ranking it fifth overall in his 2015 Top 50 Global LMSs Report, Weiss identified the ability to publish video as trackable SCORM objects as a key differentiator of SkillsServe.

Adaptive Learning

The training industry and its learning platforms are behind other sectors in terms of customising and personalising user experience; many see gaining ground in this respect as a major growth area.

Take Amazon – they predict what you might like based on what they know about you. Training can operate in this way too. You could tailor training to what the user needs to know depending on their job role, competency and development needs.


If your LMS does not include diagnostic assessment and performance support tools, that can create personal learning paths, then you should check it is on their development roadmap or start looking around at alternatives. You can always see what's new or on the horizon for SkillsServe at our SkillsServe blog.

It's certainly a development we take seriously as the recent highly successful launch of the diagnostic tools in CII Broker Assess has illustrated.

Imagine a process that leads staff to study the gaps in their learning most relevant to their current role and future prospects, and equally important, relieves them from having to sit through irrelevant learning or stuff they already know and understand well?

Inevitably the chatter will keep evolving. But it was great to hear the top of people’s current ‘must have’ lists are things Unicorn are already well ahead with.


Karenza Morton

Karenza Morton

Communications Officer

Karenza is a trained journalist who has worked with Unicorn on the editorial and communications side…

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