Highlights from the Spring Client Forum

A packed room with a screen at the front and Mark Jones welcoming guests to the forum

Oh yes, it's that time of year again!

We're not quite sure where the time goes, but this week we were back with the first of our biannual Client Forum events for 2018. Over the past couple of years, these events have been gaining in popularity, and we're delighted to say that this was the best one yet.

Our forums are a unique opportunity for customers to meet one another, spend time with their Relationship Managers, and attend a range of sessions covering everything from LMS updates, to peer-led case studies and future learning trends.

The opening session was a panel discussion on managing risk and the role of behavioural change, chaired by our very own Head of Business Development, Simon Mercer, and Product Manager, Richard Whittington. Richard's introduction touched on the implications of the ever-changing tech landscape on business' risk management programmes - highlighting that BYOD, biometric security and even AI have the potential to completely revolutionise not only our personal lives, but also our workplaces.

Having often heard hot topics such as GDPR and cyber security discussed in silo, the purpose of our panel was to bring together experts in Cyber, Financial Services and GDPR to discuss how these often separately-considered topics are in fact part of a wider whole. We were also delighted to be joined by Selina and Catherine from NS&I, who discussed how they managed to achieve corporate buy-in to a comprehensive risk management programme - bringing some much needed client-side L&D perspective.

In Room 2, Unicorn CEO Peter Phillips and Amuzo Managing Director, Mike Hawkyard discussed all things action-based learning. Mike explained the value of learning by mistakes - illustrating the need to dive in to new experiences by teaching willing members of the audience to fly a real drone. Peter then took delegates through our award-winning business simulation with LAS and UCL; illustrating how there is tremendous value in allowing learners to make mistakes and learn first hand in truly immersive environments, before applying new knowledge in a real-life scenario.

As a brand new feature at this forum, we were also delighted to be joined by a number of our partners - including Video Arts, The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), MicroLearn and FSTP.

As the day progressed, sessions moved on to look at a number of customer-led stories around achieving better learner engagement with Unicorn LMS. We were joined by HR and L&D professionals from Tilney, and Pepper, as well as hearing from our very own Mike Bishop and Sarah Smith. Increasingly, the industry as a whole seems to be moving towards a more positive and holistic view of their corporate learning programmes - with many touching upon the principles we laid out in our talk back at Learning Technologies in January about applying marketing principles to achieve effective campaign learning. (There's a free whitepaper on that, which you can download here.)

To follow this, we moved on to a session hosted by Juliet Cox, which sought to explore how to drive real value from all forms of custom learning content. Jules was joined briefly by learning expert Alan Brown (who in fact returned to deliver a keynote to close the day), as well as representatives from Co-Op Bank, and members of the Unicorn Digital team, Al Thompson and April Moore.

As an alternative to customer-led sessions, we also presented two sessions on The Senior Managers Regime, and Certification Regime - as well as The Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD). The former was delivered by our CTO Stuart Jones, with help from LMS Consultant Arend Thompson; and delegates were both an overview of what SMCR means for firms, as well as a look at the solutions and tools Unicorn has developed to help meet these requirements (you can read more about our SMR solution here.)

In Room 2, Steve Jenkins from the CII explained what IDD is, and what it means for those with insurance services as a part of their business. (Slides from this session are available upon request.)

Finally, Learning and Development Expert, Alan Brown, stepped in to deliver a keynote that discussed what 'good' organisational learning looks like. Having worked in the industry for over 20 years, Alan offers unparalleled experience delivering corporate learning across a range of organisations, and his talk addressed the challenge of delivering personalised learning programmes to an increasingly diverse workforce. He also discussed the need to find the right content and channels to reach business audiences, and made reference to the changing expectations of the whole learning experience due to modern technology.

Despite having been asked to step into the keynote slot at very short notice (unfortunately our original keynote was called away to a last minute urgent appointment), Alan's talk was highly engaging, insightful, and entertaining. It was perhaps fortunate that he and the previously-billed speaker have been colleagues and friends for a number of years!

Finally, Mark Jones wrapped up the day - thanking everyone for their time, and inviting customers to join us for drinks.

As ever, we were thrilled to see so many people turn up to the day, and we don't take it lightly - we know how busy our clients are, but we'd like to think the ever-growing attendance at our forums is testament to the strength of our relationships, and indeed the effort that goes into putting these days on. Roll on the next one!

Please note that followup slides, and a podcast of all major sessions, will be available soon. If you didn't attend, but would still like access to these resources, please speak to your Relationship Manager, or email us at enquiries@unicorntraining.com.

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