imc brand training
Brand Training:
Understanding a Brand Means Experiencing It

The Power of Emotionally Intelligent Brand Training

How brand training can enhance employee brand loyalty

It takes a lot to build a strong brand. You need fresh and appealing brand visuals, a corporate design that’s modern and to the point, and an identity that’s bold and a little out of the ordinary. And, not least, you need employees who are engaged and totally on board.

 

Your employees influence your brand, both directly and indirectly, and help shape its external impact across all touchpoints, from initial customer contact to the actual product. Ideally, you want each and every employee to be a multiplier, positively representing your brand in dealings with friends and relatives, when out at a restaurant or at a party and, most importantly, on social media.

 

This all sounds nice, but how to achieve it? The answer is brand training. Many of our customers have been asking us about it, so we’ve decided to take a closer look, using ourselves as guinea pigs. In this article, we describe our own new brand training course, the rules we followed in devising it, and why we believe it is a worthwhile investment.

imc brand training welcome

Rule #1: Brand Engagement + Education = Brandification

When it comes to the values behind a company’s brand, the first step is for everyone in the company to get back to the basics. What are the brand’s origins? What are the principles that underpin it? What is the company’s purpose? By learning about these things, learners become aware that everyone in the company can play a part in realizing the values and goals of their brand. And because brands change over time, the learning needs to be ongoing.

 

imc is no exception. We have changed a lot over the years – and will continue to do so. As well as relaunching our brand, we want to achieve greater momentum on issues like new work, diversity and inclusion, and our own transformation. Consequently, the objective of our new brand training course is to communicate this culture shift and the underlying values in a way that is readily accessible so that we can instil in our employees a strong emotional attachment to our brand.

 

Learning objectives set out the areas and levels where change is to happen (understanding, thinking, action, etc), so it is important to define them right at the start of the brand training process.

imc brand training welcome tablet

imc Brand Training

Rule #2: Genuine attachment transforms initial attraction into a full-blown relationship

A company’s fundamental values and culture are reflected in virtually everything it does and therefore need to be understood and actively supported by its employees. New hires, in particular, must be able to rapidly internalise what their new employer’s brand means and stands for. They applied for the job out of an initial attraction to the brand, and it is now up to the company to build that attraction into a genuine relationship.

 

A successful onboarding journey is vital to this because onboarding is the first step towards brand loyalty. For this reason, companies should proactively offer onboarding experiences that are consistent with and support their brand promises.

 

That’s why the completed brand training course at imc was specifically developed for our new onboarding journey and designed to fit into our onboarding storytelling. It also works as a stand-alone training course for established imc employees.

imc brand training

imc Brand Training

To ensure that new employees find it easy to get started and engage with our brand training, we have made it an integral part of our onboarding process. We have also incorporated it into our learning management system (LMS). To reach as many learners as possible, brand training must be easy to engage with, not take up too much time, and be accessible from any location and device.

Rule #3: Turn likes into love with emotional branding

Emotional branding is very powerful. It’s the art of connecting with people by tapping into their feelings. But how do you translate this emotional aspect into online training? One very effective approach is to use elements of branding that have high recognition – such as logos, brand visuals or mascots. You can generate very strong emotional appeal by incorporating these elements into storytelling as a way of communicating your brand message.

 

We (almost) always follow our own advice, so we chose storytelling for our own brand training course. The narrator is our mascot, Max.

storytelling icon

Storytelling:

Storytelling is a communication method that uses narratives to convey information. It is widely used in knowledge management, child and adult education, journalism, psychotherapy, marketing, PR and advertising.

Max looks a little like a ghost and emerges from the dot on the “i” of imc. He starts out very pale but gradually takes on more colour as the learner progresses through the course and learns more about the imc brand.

imc mascot max

imc Mascot Max

Max features in every module of the imc brand training course. For example, in one module, he reads from a book telling the story of the company’s founder, Professor August-Wilhelm Scheer. As the course progresses, the mascot pops up to provide background on various points or quizzes the learner on content they have just covered.

Rule #4: The right implementation is everything

In our case, the right tool for creating the brand training course was Articulate Rise. It allowed the team to get involved and help shape the course right from the outset. The necessary expertise in didactics and form was provided by our inhouse instructional designer Oliver Steinhilber. “Brand training courses are very much in demand from our customers at the moment,” he says. “Everyone’s looking at learning on topics like onboarding, change and new work, and the people responsible for it in HR, marketing and internal communications want to make sure their learning content is authentic and has emotional appeal.”

authoring tools imc Express and content studio

The Right Tool:

To be sure you’re using the right tool for creating your training course, it’s best to talk to an instructional designer first. Articulate Rise is a sophisticated software application that has a reasonably steep learning curve. For less experienced users, authoring tools like imc Express provide a quicker and easier way of getting started on generating content.

Why invest in emotionally intelligent brand training?

Simple: because brand training content with emotional appeal makes it easier for employees to identify with the brand. This sense of identification improves employee motivation and therefore has a direct effect on their day-to-day work. By using brand training content that has emotional appeal, a company can also create brand ambassadors from among its own ranks – employees who will champion the company brand to both internal and external audiences.

 

Deep understanding of shared company values and genuine buy-in to the company culture lead to better communication and collaboration, as imc Director of Brand Strategy Kerstin Steffen explains: “Brand training is effective if afterwards everyone feels confident they have chosen the right employer, and all learners feel positive and excited. Effective brand training turns employees into role models who are happy to be ambassadors for the company spirit and brand message.”

Photo of Kerstin Steffen
Everyone should finish the course understanding what makes us who we are here at imc and what values we identify with – as well as what kind of cooperation and collaboration we embody and expect.
Kerstin Steffen
Director Brand Strategy
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I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

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Communication Manager
diversity in e-learning
Diversity Has to Be Learned
Diversity in e-learning content

Corporate Learning is a Window into Your Organisation’s D&I Soul

Three golden rules for companies seeking to put diversity on their training agenda

Let’s say a company comes to us for help with incorporating diversity and inclusion (D&I) into the learning experience of its employees. Up until fairly recently, the first question we would ask would be, are you looking for training content that appeals to a diverse target audience, or training content that deals with the subject of diversity?

 

But things have changed over the past couple of years, as Philipp Schossau, Senior Instructional Designer here at imc, explains: “Making training courses diverse in terms of both content and visual appearance is now a standard requirement, irrespective of the subject matter. Diversity training, on the other hand, has its own special requirements – most notably a clear stance on the part of the client.”

 

Diversity in e-learning is clearly growing in importance. So, in this article, we have put together a summary of key recommendations for companies seeking to incorporate diversity into their learning experience.

diversity, colors, festival

All a matter of perspective? Tips for implementing diversity in training content

Prospective employees want to be able to see what a company’s position on D&I is, and how the company is championing the D&I cause. So, whatever the subject matter, company training courses should be diverse and gender-neutral in design. Here are three golden rules for making training courses diverse and inclusive:

Culturally diverse characters:

Whenever human personas or mentors feature in a training course they should reflect a certain degree of cultural diversity. If there are not enough personas to demonstrate sufficient diversity, then it is possible to use fictional characters – avatars – that have no particular cultural background.

imc Biz Quiz

Diverse gender identities:

Needless to say, learning content should aim to reflect and include all gender identities. It’s not enough to merely employ terms like “male”, “female”, and “gender-diverse”. The aim, rather, should also be to break down conventional gender roles and gender stereotypes. Our learning experts therefore always endeavour to keep their design concepts free of these outdated roles and clichés.

diversity, avatar

INFO:

We’re currently working on a diversity avatar creator. Before taking part in a training course, each user will be able to build an avatar that looks however they want it to, regardless of cultural background or gender role.

Gender-neutral language:

This often depends on the requirements articulated by the company in question. However, we strongly recommend the consistent use of inclusive language across all training content.

in German you can use "*" to create gender-neutral language

imc express bot with level up icons

GOOD TO KNOW

Authoring tools like imc Express automatically offer a range of output options and simplify the process of creating diverse and inclusive training content. With imcExpress, this process is controlled in the background via AI.

Attitude is a prerequisite for special diversity trainings

The role that D&I management plays in a company is rooted in the corporate culture. This has a direct impact on a company's learning culture. Those who want to implement special diversity and inclusion training into the learning experience of their employees must have a clear stance on it. For this reason, companies should always be clear about the goal of a training before designing the content.

To sensitise the learning audience to diversity issues and communicate facts about D&I, we recommend scenario-based learning. Scenario-based learning uses real-life examples and situations. The closer the learning scenarios are to real-life situations, the more relatable the taught (behaviour) rules will be for the learners. Sensitisation can be further improved by using diverse personas to make learners aware of different or new perspectives.

Ready when you are

Things are changing, and organisations are already taking steps to make their training courses more diverse and to raise awareness of D&I. But many companies are still holding back for fear of doing something wrong. That’s why it’s critical to support D&I with effective corporate communication and drive genuine cultural change. In other words, when it comes to D&I, companies need to be bold and have courage of their convictions.

long way to go, goal in sight

“The more global the company, the more likely that it’s already sensitised to diversity issues and will take the initiative and articulate diversity requirements for our projects,” said imc project management officer Kenneth Littlepage, Project Management Officer Business Consulting at imc in a previous interview on D&I. “Locally focused companies, on the other hand, tend not to be so sensitised, so it’s up to us to ask questions.”

 

However a company might choose to approach it, diversity is a topic that’s here to stay, especially for today’s younger generation. Warm fuzzy words in the corporate vision statement are all well and good, but they won’t carry much weight if the company is a monoculture of white men in suits or hides behind disclaimers to the effect that “the use of he and his is solely for ease of reading and refers to all genders equally”. If you want diverse people in your company, you actually have to make them feel included.

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I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

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Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

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Communication Manager
Hero Image Punk 2d Maps
Structure of a Map-Based Training Session
Advantages of 2D maps

Tips for Using 2D Maps in e-learning

The many advantages of putting learning content into a map structure

Learning content should be inspiring, if not utterly captivating. Ideally, it should be branded and look cool. And it needs to be engaging for the video gamer generation, without alienating more conventional learners. That’s a lot of boxes for modern learning experiences to tick.

Consequently, many companies and organisations are turning to map-based training. Even so, it’s a fairly new area, and the e-learning applications of maps may not be immediately obvious, despite the ubiquity of Google Maps.

 

That’s why we have put together this article. It explains the difference between 2D and 3D maps and illustrates the structure and advantages of 2D map-based training.

2D Map deutsche Bahn

Differences between 2D and 3D maps

Arguably the most important difference between 2D and 3D maps is the browser performance required. 3D maps are rendered live in the browser, so they require more computing power and a very stable network or internet connection. The upside is that 3D maps allow dynamic perspectives: users can switch perspectives within the map.

 

A 2D map does not allow dynamic perspectives, but the viewer can create the impression of changing perspective by moving relative to the map. This 2D principle is employed in many strategy games, for example. The map is based on images in which it is not possible to change perspectives. The advantage is that fairly large story/learning worlds can be shown without requiring a lot of browser performance.

Gif Mickey Mouse

2D animation

2D does not necessarily mean static. Within a 2D world, it is possible to have individual elements that are animated and dynamic. This is called 2D animation, and it lends life and vibrancy to 2D maps. It is even possible to integrate 3D graphics into 2D maps.

The introduction: arriving on the map

As with most learning experiences, it’s a good idea to start with an introduction. The introduction can appear or pop up on the map in the form of a chat window or a specially created page that briefly outlines the storyline and subject matter of the training session. It is advantageous here to explicitly tell the learner what the training task will involve, and what their objectives are. The benefit of showing an introduction directly on the map at the outset is that the learner does not need to leave the learning world and therefore does not lose focus.

2D Map Deutsche Bahn

2D Map Training Deutsche Bahn

The main narrative: read the map

It is vital that the main part of the session is self-explanatory. This means the map must be intuitive to use. A certain degree of in-map guidance can be achieved by unlocking individual tasks step by step. That way, learners intuitively know the correct task order, without having to be explicitly told. Crucially, this approach allows learners to discover the learning content for themselves, i.e., exploratively. The navigation leads via the 2D map to various locations that the learner can ‘visit’. An example would be where the map shows a building that the learner can click on and enter in order to progress to the next task or access a learning nugget.

2D Map Deutsche Bahn

2D Map-Training Deutsche Bahn

Interstitial and achievement screens can be used to lend further structure to the main narrative by appearing as pop-ups overlaying the map. They can provide orientation by showing learners their next tasks, highlighting their progress, or making them aware of further options. The whole learning experience can be made even clearer by adding jump labels to individual locations on the map. These can be used to help the learner navigate from tasks to their associated learning content.

GOOD TO KNOW

Learners should not need to leave the map (the learning world) at any point. Everything they need in order to achieve their objectives should be contained within the map. This can be achieved, for example, by using chat windows that open directly on the map, or by showing learning nuggets, content items and hints as overlays on the map.

The conclusion: leave the map

In 2D maps, just as in other learning settings, it is important to clearly mark the conclusion of learning units and tasks so that learners know they have successfully completed the section in question or indeed the entire training session. There are many different ways of doing this. The key is to ensure the method chosen fits with the training session’s overall storyline. For example, you can use a list of checkpoints which is then displayed at the end with all tasks checked off. Or you can show a notification in the chat window.

End of 2D Map Training

Success message at the end of a training session

Questions?

Can a map-based training session also be short?

To retain the map’s explorative dimension while at the same time creating a training session that can be completed within a short space of time, you can reduce the amount of learning content, streamline the user experience, or confine exploration strictly to key locations on the map. The main thing is to maintain excitement while keeping the learning purposeful.

 

How gamified can a map-based training session be?

The primary focus must be on the learner experience, so the map should not contain any unnecessary actions or locations.

 

Surely map-based training sessions are very labour-intensive to produce?

Not necessarily. The total overhead can actually be relatively low, as the world created by a 2D map makes a relatively large contribution to creating an exciting learning experience. It is possible to reduce the design overhead that goes into learning nuggets/subpages by integrating them into a 2D map.

 

But isn’t that really expensive?

The 2D map format does not necessarily require more design work by our experts, so it is a very good alternative to 3D maps, even for limited budgets.

 

What are the other advantages over 3D maps?

Good performance, low overhead, faster page loading.

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Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

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Communication Manager
E-Learning Content Trends
Trendspotting
Where is e-learning content going in 2022?

This year’s e-learning content trends

Interview with Falk Hegewald, Director E-Learning at imc

Out with the old, in with the new. A new year brings new content trends that nobody involved in corporate learning can afford to ignore. Together with Falk Hegewald, Director E-Learning at imc, we are taking a look at the coming year’s crucial topics for companies.

Falk Hegewald

INFO

Falk Hegewald started out in design: He studied graphic design and followed that up with game design. But when imc introduced him to the e-learning sector nine years ago, he decided to stay put. “Back then, I was attracted to the idea of creating something new in this world of e-learning. It was all still very 1990s in those days,” says Hegewald. At imc, he is responsible for custom and off-the-shelf content  worldwide.

E-Learning Content Trends imc-e-learning-punk

Now, we’re really getting started: 3D, VR and Metaverse

Falk Hegewald is confident that the upcoming big changes are here to stay – well beyond 2022. Many major corporations are driving the development of virtual reality and metaverse. Nike recently acquired a design studio that “produces” NFTs and virtual running shoes.

 

“The key driver for metaverse is to create a world where you can play. However, that world will also feature workspaces. We are already entering that world with virtual meeting rooms,” Hegewald explains. “At imc, we are taking that as an incentive to develop the 3D aspects of our content to gain a head start in the creation of such digital worlds and environments.”

E-Learning Content Trends imc-e-learning-punk Description Metaverse

INFO

Metaverse:

Metaverse describes an immense collective virtual space formed when real and virtual worlds merge. A metaverse comprises both open and closed platforms. Companies can create their own worlds as well as digital products, and even sell them there – just like in the real world.

Engaging content and adaptive learning

This year will also see a strong focus on more engaging content that both motivates and captivates the learner. Not everything needs to be a game, Falk Hegewald claims: “You can also use novel engaging activities and formats. There is already demand for inspiring training, as companies have realised that they need to get more buy-in from their employees. As a premium content provider, we can deliver that.”

 

Adaptive learning will also be very relevant for content in the year ahead. In the past, the focus was on learning management systems featuring intelligent interfaces that facilitate appropriate distribution of training courses. Now, we are moving towards skill management through content. Falk Hegewald is confident that adaptive e-learning content will be in demand this year. “You rarely need everyone to learn everything. Employees with different levels of knowledge attend the same training course. Testing prior knowledge and leveraging suitable tools to assign content becomes a whole lot easier if the content is adaptive, too.”

E-Learning Content Trends imc-e-learning-punk Adaptive learning

Adaptive learning

Premium off-the-shelf content will be big next year

Last year, Falk Hegewald was particularly excited about the "Cyber Crime Time"awareness game, which deals with IT security issues by letting the learner take on the role of a hacker. Step by step, they learn the most common cyber-attacks first hand. “This goes well beyond your typical off-the-shelf content, be that from us or from our competitors. We wanted to create something that gets the employees’ attention.”

 

Yet, that was only the first step: This year, Cyber Crime Time will be expanded to include additional training courses and learning nuggets – smaller learning units. “Our aim is to create an entire training world for IT security so Cyber Crime Time remains exciting for our customers,” Hegewald explains.

E-Learning Content Trends imc-e-learning-punk

Premium Standard Content of imc

Falk Hegewald’s department also had their hands full designing custom content for corporate clients throughout 2021: They created a wide range of complex learning content, as well as complete digital learning journeys – covering everything from onboarding through corporate strategy to exciting sales training for customers like Jägermeister. “Generally speaking, many of our customers were more daring in their content design and presentation this past year. We love that trend and believe there is room for even bolder creative moves in the stories and the design,” says Hegewald.

E-Learning Content Trends imc-e-learning-punk Jägermeister Customer Case

The Jägermeister Master Academy

The war for talents goes into the next round

Companies are forever looking to attract talents and retain them long-term. The right onboarding and employee development are playing an ever-greater role in this quest.

 

To feed into that ambition, it is important that professional development content is up-to-date and dynamic. Falk Hegewald explains: “Young talents joining the job market are used to a different pace, they use media in a totally different way. It can become very challenging for a company to keep them engaged.”

That is why a key aspect will be to make onboarding and professional development courses accessible on all devices, enabling the latest generation of employees to learn anytime and anywhere.

 

As Head of the Division, Falk Hegewald always gets excited when new colleagues bring fresh and interesting ideas, as is often the case when they join straight out of university. “This type of inspiration is vital. As a content department, we always need to keep an open mind for new ideas.”

Falk Hegewald
More and more decision makers come from a generation that grew up playing Game Boy, making them more open to new ideas in corporate learning.
Falk Hegewald
Head of New Media
imc AG

As Content Director, what are you looking forward to this year?

“Exciting new customers and new client projects. Personally, I would really like to visit the other imc locations again and meet the employees I have not yet had any personal contact with.”

 

Well, here in Saarbrücken, we are looking forward to meeting you, Falk!

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Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
My Digital Onboarding Kit
How to ensure digital onboarding success

Six vital modules for every digital onboarding concept

A blueprint for efficient onboarding with lasting impact

Different companies have different requirements for their onboarding process. They might want to use modular and future-proof concepts, achieve cost and time savings compared to current approaches, or enable employees to start working sooner. Moreover, the pandemic has accelerated the need for digital onboarding as face-to-face training has not been possibleDespite the pandemic introducing more relaxedremote working arrangements, hybrid work arrangements will become the norm; hence digital onboarding will become the tool to deliver great first experience to new employees. 

 

Yet, companies are not the only stakeholders – Employees have their own expectations of the onboarding process. This is why many HR managers are deciding on learner-centric onboarding that revolves around the needs of new employees:

“I want to know what makes my company tick,” – “I want to feel like I’m becoming part of the community,” – “I want to improve my skills.”

 

To achieve that, your onboarding needs a framework that provides guidance and an emotional connection while assessing the current state of knowledge and developing expertise.

This article explains how to design an exciting and creative digital onboarding process with new and existing e-learning content, even without a learning management system (LMS).

An illustration of the key building blocks

Our experts are always developing concepts suitable for a wide range of requirements. Get a head start with our “best of” compilation. Let’s imagine this situation: You want to digitise five days of basic training that has always been conducted on site. You are looking at a very diverse group of participants. The target group for this training extends beyond new colleagues, and also includes “old hands,” as well as some external service providers. They each have a different level of prior knowledge, different hardware, and different levels of access to a learning management system (LMS). Some might not have any access at all.

 

How do you satisfy them all? The solution is to design a structured framework for digital onboarding. Our experts recommend getting a head start with these 6 modules:

  • A central (digital) starting point
  • A daily virtual kick-off
  • The self-learning phase
  • A virtual hands-on workshop
  • The online quiz
  • A learning diary

Together, these six modules form a foundation. Let’s look at each element separately.

My Digital Onboarding Kit – The modules in detail

The central starting point could, for example, be a browser-based landing page created especially for onboarding, a homepage in the company intranet, a portal page (in the LMS) or an interactive PDF. It is important that the employees can see at a glance what is on the agenda for the day when they arrive for their onboarding. Think of it as a modern timetable. Every new employee needs structure, and an overview page is an easy way to provide that.

Digital_onboarding_homepage

Portal page as central starting point

The virtual kick-off at the beginning of each training day serves to agree and discuss the agenda and objectives for the day together with the trainers. The focus should be on social onboarding, on promoting interaction between the participants. Our experts recommend a playful warm-up with surveys, icebreakers, or activation games aka energisers. Why not play a round of “I packed my bag” to get started? It is helpful to establish a meeting netiquette, specifying that cameras and microphones must be switched on.

virtual kick-off

In the self-learning phase, each learning format achieves a specific objective. For example, digital performance cards help employees gain knowledge with a certain focus, and then apply it in simulations as part of web-based training. Virtual scavenger hunts help them familiarise themselves with the company or the intranet. Companies can also integrate existing training courses or offer individually tailored or branded content. Variation between different e-learning formats has proven particularly effective.

Performance cards

Performance cards

The hands-on workshop moderated by the trainers gives the employees an opportunity to apply what they learned and clarify any questions or uncertainties. This could include polls, multiple choice questions in the group chat or whiteboards.

The online quiz concludes the day. One great example is the BizQuiz. It provides participants with feedback on their learning progress and gives them the opportunity to close any knowledge gaps.

quiz app: Biz Quiz

Finally, the learner makes their personal entry in the learning diary. An easy way to integrate the diary is to design a page in the intranet, a document in the cloud or a form that mirrors the central starting point, and which each participant completes for themselves. This serves to summarise the core messages from the workshops or formulate the questions and tasks for the self-learning phase, as well as compiling key insights from the training courses. The personal learning diary thus becomes an individual reference resource participants can look things up in long after their onboarding.

Learning diary

GOOD TO KNOW

Time investment for trainers is automatically reduced

The targeted use of digital learning formats in the self-learning phase reduces time investment for trainers during digital onboarding. That saves costs and resources. Following this 6-module approach, trainers are only required for the kick-off and the workshop phase.

Digital vs hybrid onboarding

Digital onboarding works. This approach can absolutely be appropriate while also saving resources. Nevertheless, some onboarding processes are easier to realise in a hybrid format. Of course, that does require new employees to travel to the location.

 

One example for a good hybrid solution would be to communicate theoretical content through online self-study, and then bring participants on site to carry out specific actions, such as operating machinery. The face-to-face part of the training can then be utilised for practical exercises and to clarify questions.

 

Similarly, a dual approach helps with understanding the corporate culture. For instance, companies might invite new employees for an intro day before their first day of work. Make the most of this day by asking colleagues to talk about how they realise the values, objectives, and mission of the company in their daily work. This meeting can also be leveraged to establish an emotional connection with new recruits and build enthusiasm for the company.

 

In our experts’ experience, it is not as clear-cut as one approach being universally better. Rather, it is about selecting suitable formats and linking them in a helpful way based on the new employees’ needs and the learning objectives.

We linked a special treat for anyone interested in hybrid onboarding:

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The trends of the education rebellion

E-Learning Punk is an article and talk series for all L&D Pros who want to dare something and believe that digital training has to be colourful and loud.

E-Learning-Punk Logo

Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
E-Learning Punk, Hero Rapid content
Faster Is Always Better?
How (not) to develop E-Learnings quickly

Rapid Content Development: Creating E-Learning Trainings Quickly

Why fast creating digital trainings is possible but risky

... and suddenly, the training had to be scrapped. Many companies made that experience in lockdown number one. Employees needed to be trained, but the training was postponed due to Corona. Again. And again. However, most types of training simply cannot be endlessly postponed or even be cancelled altogether.

 

A pragmatic and swift solution is needed – training needs go where the employees are: their home office. For many companies, that means digitising learning content, and doing so quickly. They need rapid content development. This trend was already apparent before Corona, but the pandemic greatly increased the demand for the technologies that facilitate rapid content development.

 

This article explores what qualifies as rapid content development, what type of learning content is suitable for rapid digitisation, and what risks a strong focus on speed entails.

INFO

Definition: Rapid content development (RCD) is an agile model for teaching system design, comprising a preparation phase, an iterative design, template-based re-usable components and e-learning tools for quick and cost-efficient provision.

Speedy please – but without quality loss

We want things now: fast food, coffee to go, messenger services, online shopping … we no longer have time. Companies have also clocked onto this trend, and want to stay up to date with their training courses. An ever-increasing amount of knowledge is expected to be available almost instantly on various media while maintaining a high quality standard and staying within budget.

 

The solution: rapid content development. But wait a minute! No matter how fast you go, the quality of the overall learning solution must not be compromised. That’s why learning experts like Eva Lettenbauer always look at the big picture.

Eva Lettenbauer, imc

Eva Lettenbauer, Specialist Learning Experience Design at imc

INTERVIEW

Hi Eva, thanks for “quickly” making time for us. How did you experience the rapid content development hype last year?

Especially at the beginning of the pandemic, many companies were facing the challenge of having to digitalise their face-to-face training in a short space of time. However, directly transitioning classroom-based training courses to a virtual classroom or web session is not always effective, and it’s most certainly not efficient.

That is why we always examine the specific issues and objectives. This allows us to digitise specific learning content in a way that drives outcomes and boosts performance.

How do you handle requests for “rapid” content?

Since requirements differ as widely as the type of knowledge to be conveyed, digital solutions vary enormously. We start by analysing the sharable knowledge and the desired outcome. We also examine if the integration of certain existing learning solutions or curated content would add value, and examine the suitability of different learning infrastructures. Finding the right formats for the content at hand has to be a priority, as this then allows new content to be created quickly and systematically.

Often, less is more. It pays to take a closer look and be more deliberate when starting the rapid content development process, and avoid mistakes.
Eva Lettenbauer
Specialist Learning Experience Design
imc

What risks does rapid content development involve, and how do you avoid them?

There is a risk of quality loss – creating too much content while neglecting quality, or losing sight of the target group, their performance or the intended business outcome when designing and creating content. This can make the learning solution irrelevant and ineffective. Often, less is more. It pays to take a closer look and be more deliberate when starting the rapid content development process, and avoid such mistakes.

Warning danger

When would you recommend slowing down?

Whenever learning corresponds to behavioural changes, aims to change the learners’ mindset, or the branding, look or feel of the learning solution are important, investing time to achieve a high-quality solution is paramount. This is the only way to gain the learners’ lasting interest and make them believe in digital learning approaches.

GOOD TO KNOW

Authoring tools enable companies to create learning content themselves or digitise existing material. This facilitates a flexible response to learning requirements within the company.

Authoring tools are cost-effective and allow both internal experts and other employees to create training courses. This is also known as user generated content.

What are the limits for content creation with authoring tools?

Authoring tools like imcExpress are ideal for quickly creating and sharing content based on facts or background knowledge. Digital learning content can be created quickly and – crucially – kept up to date. However, no learner should be trained exclusively with web-based training courses. Especially if their development involves the application of specific practical skills, traditional web-based training is seldom enough – but that is all an authoring tool can deliver.

What would a worst-case scenario look like? How “not to” do it?

Worst case: 5 days of face-to-face classroom training is taken “as is” and squeezed into a 3-day training course in a virtual classroom. Endless recordings of face-to-face training or web sessions replace the on-site presentation of the material.

 

Best case: A 3-day face-to-face training course is digitalised and broken up into various learning nuggets like short web-based training courses, complemented with learning tandems, snappy web sessions and curated content.

How about a quick summary? Happy to be at your service:

Sketchnote for rapid content development
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imc Express teaser

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The trends of the education rebellion

E-Learning Punk is an article and talk series for all L&D Pros who want to dare something and believe that digital training has to be colourful and loud.

E-Learning-Punk Logo

Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
They’re only playing around!
Game-based learning

Gamification takes corporate learning to a new level

Why game-based learning boosts motivation

Scientists estimate that if we watched children for a whole day, we would see them play at least seven hours a day. There’s a good reason for that: Children learn from games. Playing improves their motor and cognitive skills and can boost their confidence and self-awareness.

 

This positive impact is not limited to children. Playing even enables adults to fully exploit their potentials. The brain is revved up to the max during a game.

 

Many large companies utilise this very fact in the professional development and qualification of their employees. We took a closer look at the most popular types of games, and summarised practical examples for potential applications.

Games motivate us to take the initiative to learn

Motivation is a tricky thing. Thinking back on our school days torturing ourselves memorising vocabulary, few of us will say: “Boy, was I motivated to learn vocabulary!” However, thinking back on a game we thoroughly enjoyed, we will likely remember how motivated we were. Whether that was a board game, video game, smartphone game or a sport, our motivation came from within.

This is called intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is based on various inner needs, such as the desire for social exchange or a perfectionist ambition to overcome challenges. While playing, we often drift into a flow state, a state of effortless but intensive concentration.

 

If we are highly motivated and extremely concentrated when learning, not much can go wrong. Indeed, game-based learning has far higher completion rates than other types of training courses.

The most popular types of game-based learning

Drill and practice games:

Suitable for traditional knowledge accumulation, learning facts or cognitive skills. They work best if coupled with right/wrong feedback. One example is the imcBizQuiz App. The training process is similar to a TV quiz show, and employees or teams can compete against each other.

Learning adventures:

A great tool for changing perspectives, helping to convey emotional content and sensitise participants for specific topics.

Learning adventures are based on the genre of point-&-click adventures. They focus on explorative learning and discovery, integrating storytelling – content is linked with an exciting story. imc applied this principle in the adventure game City of Goods created for Linde Materials Handling. During a virtual visit to the warehouse, participants need to discover, document and collect potential optimisations.

Simulation games:

A strong contender for learning practical skills. Knowledge is primarily transferred through interdependencies and the cause-effect principle. Simulations present a simplified picture of reality, which can be changed through the parameters or algorithms in the game code. This type of learning is particularly helpful for movement flows, dangerous actions or machine handling with high cost risks. Flight simulators used in pilot training [LINK to Lufthansa case study] are a well-known example.

A snapshot of the advantages of game-based learning

Learning games lead to changes in our motivation, behaviour or opinion of learning. They can boost cognitive and motor skills.

Moreover, we release dopamine when playing. Being rewarded is a crucial trigger for this hormone release, and rewards like scoring points, moving up the rankings or obtaining digital badges are easy to integrate.

 

Still, the key factor and most important reason to utilise learning games is and remains the positive impact on motivation. This lowers the drop-out rate for training courses, resulting in greater long-term learning success.

 

So: Game on! Let’s take e-learning to a new level.

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Softskills are more important than ever. But how to train them? imc's research team dealt with this challenge in the DEVELOP research project.

The trends of the education rebellion

E-Learning Punk is an article and talk series for all L&D Pros who want to dare something and believe that digital training has to be colourful and loud.

E-Learning-Punk Logo

Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
Digital Learning Journey
Six tips for perfect travel planning

Digital Learning Journey: I am packing my suitcase. What I take along...

The key items one should never forget on a digital learning journey

Dear E-Learning Punk friends, one year of corona, one year without a holiday. Do you remember back when it was possible to travel the world with ease?

Cocktail in one hand, a good book in the other. Feet in the sand, sun on your face, looking at the roaring sea. That’s how many of us remember the perfect holiday. But there are many other ways to travel: From city breaks through backpacking tours to cruises, there’s something for everyone. The same applies to a learning journey.

 

What exactly do you need to pay attention to when planning, preparing and going on this journey? Over a nice cocktail, we asked travel guide and expert Eva Lettenbauer to offer some tips and hand you a checklist.

Planning a learning journey – What’s the destination?

Am I going on to explore far-flung places, or do I return to the little finca at the edge of the fishing village in Mallorca? We often go into holiday mode as soon as we start planning our trip. But we do have to decide on the destination.

 

Similarly, we need to figure out what digital training is meant to achieve for the company. What corporate goals is the training geared towards? What performance goals are being pursued? What exactly do we want to bring across? Should the training focus on background knowledge? Practical application? Sharing experiences? The more clearly you can define where you want to go with this journey, the more effectively you can leverage the different learning formats.

Everyone goes at their own pace on holiday. One person might want to see all of Paris in a day, while the next person would rather watch the hustle and bustle while sitting in a street café in Montmartre. But in the end, both want to take a picture in front of the Eiffel tower.

 

Defining the goals – the destination – and the contents of a training course is crucial for the success of a learning journey, but so is taking account of the actual learners. They are the target group the learning offers need to be tailored to. If employee requirements are met, they learn more efficiently and learning success is achieved more effectively. Learners should be enabled to close their knowledge gaps to the best of their abilities and learn at their own pace.

Packing the suitcase – What are the essentials?

Finally, the time has come! A quick check to see if last year’s bikini still fits and the sunscreen hasn’t hardened up. Now to the evening outfits – What can I wear when it gets cooler at night? Hang on. Does it even cool down in Bali?

 

Packing the right stuff for my destination is important. The same applies to training objectives: Each format is suitable for a range of contents and has its own advantages. Virtual classrooms are great for exchanging ideas, while web-based training helps participants to learn theoretical content at their own pace. By packing the right formats, you create a learning journey. This also opens up the opportunity to create small, digestible learning nuggets that are easy to integrate into day-to-day work.

Shoes, clothes, cosmetics, books and, of course, my sunglasses land in my suitcase.

 

For a learning journey that means the individual modules are defined. You might pack a virtual classroom, game-based learning, on-the-job challenges, social learning, quizzes and fill each with suitable content.

 

For imc customers, Eva Lettenbauer handles that part. She is a specialist for learning experience design at imc and turns contents into learning content. Above all, the learning journeys she thus creates motivate and aim to activate the learners.

 

“You want to capitalise on the strengths of each format and cater to different requirements and levels,” says Eva. “Depending on the level, advanced employees might even skip simpler topics. The better the modular system, the more flexible it is, allowing you to tailor it to the specific demands of each learner.”

You want to capitalise on the strengths of each format and cater to different requirements and levels
Eva Lettenbauer
Specialist Learning Experience Design
imc AG

Let the journey begin

Finally arrived and checked in. A quick look around the hotel, then I’ll see what I can reach on foot. Each journey has different stages. I need to get my bearings before I party in the best club in town with the locals without sticking out as a tourist. ¿Quién sabe? Maybe I even speak a few words of Spanish by the end of my trip?

 

The learning journey also goes through different stages. First, the learner needs to find their way around. A brief introduction helps to set the tone for the topic and motivate the learner. Then, the theoretical foundation is created as the necessary knowledge is gained. In the next step, the learned material is applied – on-the-job challenges, job aids, tests in quiz format and, of course, social learning can be leveraged to achieve this stage goal. Finally, it all has to be internalised to reach the end of the journey. From this point onwards, the learner can also act as a mentor and support others in their development.

Checklist

The best thing about the travel guide I used for my last holiday was the checklist for must-do sights and experiences in the city. To equally help your digital learning journey become a resounding success, we offer this checklist:

Icon representing Check
  • Define objectives and content
  • Distribute content across suitable formats
  • Introduce the learner to the training and motivate them
  • Create a theoretical foundation
  • Apply the knowledge on the job
  • Establish an active, self-directed learning culture

Now, we are just as excited about learning journeys as we are about travelling.

Of course, you won’t have to wait long for the next edition of E-Learning Punk, either. We will be all be about the intriguing topic of gamification.

... and if you’re still looking for the right holiday read: We’ve got that covered as well.

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Not only movies like “Avatar”, but also learning content can benefit from spatially compelling images. We explain the advantages of this professional development trend and present you application scenarios for 3D learning.

E-Learning Punk Trends Immersive Learning Augmented Reality Virtual Reality

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The trends of the education rebellion

E-Learning Punk is an article and talk series for all L&D Pros who want to dare something and believe that digital training has to be colourful and loud.

E-Learning-Punk Logo

Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
[E-Learning Punk] Exploratory 3D Learning
E-Learning Punk

Exploratory 3D Learning

Spatial depth brings profound changes to the world of professional development

The science fiction epic "Avatar" from 2009 is still considered the most successful 3D film of all time. "Titanic" director James Cameron immerses the viewer in a strange, magnificent world full of beauty and, at the same time, grave danger. While cinema-goers still had to wear 3D glasses for Avatar, it is now possible to get the same effect without them. Professional development content can also benefit from spatially compelling images. That's why the imc 3D Map content format is currently so popular with imc clients. What is 3D Map? We've taken a look at it.
3D experience

Digital 3D professional development

Exploratory learning with 3D Map – it might look something like this in James Cameron's world: The learner opens a spatially dynamic map of Pandora's Earth-like yet alien lunar landscape. He can go to different regions of Pandora and zoom in to get acquainted with the life and culture of the natives. He meets the beautiful Nav'vi woman Neytiri, chats with her and supports her in the battle that will decide the fate of the planet and its inhabitants. What makes this learning scenario so special – apart from lots of fiction?
First of all, learning in this visually engaging environment is interactive. The learner can interact with objects and beings, such as the Nav'vi woman Neytiri, in the 3D world. As a guide or a kind of personal assistant, Neytiri assists the learner with tips and tricks. Moreover, learning becomes an exploratory process. In other words, there is very little that is pre-structured. The learner is free to decide where to navigate next. While actively exploring the virtual space, learners have to independently work out a solution to the problem to the extent possible – in this case, to save the planet. And they experience the consequences of their plan: Salvation or Pandora's downfall? Drama, baby, Drama!
ADVANTAGES

Maximum educational value x3

3D learning comes with a number of advantages. Recall of the course content is particularly high and therefore gives a boost to the effectiveness of the training courses. This is due to the following 3D Map features described using the Avatar example:
  • Interactive and exploratory learning in virtual space
  • Independent exploration of a visually appealing world
  • Experiencing the immediate consequences of actions
Other current trend formats, for example learning videos, quizzes or chatbots, can also be easily integrated into the 3D map in the form of learning nuggets without the learner having to leave the exotic fantasy world. Mixed reality in the form of Augmented Reality (AR) spots on the Pandora map and gamification elements such as points and badges provide a particularly deep immersion into the learning experience.
And at this point, a word about the technology of the imc 3D Map: It is SCORM compatible, so it can be easily integrated into any learning platform. It is also mobile-friendly for maximum flexibility.
LEARNING SCENARIOS

Application scenarios for 3D Learning x3

Science fiction is not the only source of potential learning scenarios. We would like to introduce you to some less surreal uses for Exploratory 3D Learning below.
Application Scenarios: Onboarding

Onboarding

In large corporations, a 3D map can provide initial orientation to the various corporate divisions which are displayed on a kind of city map, for example.

Application Scenarios: Product training

Product training

A 3D map makes it possible to vividly present products and services to clients, partners and employees in virtual showrooms – and not only during lockdown. AR spots make the integration of virtual and physical worlds turn out particularly well.

Application Scenarios: Security training

Security training

3D Map supports efficient training for appropriate behaviour in crisis scenarios such as a fire in the building.

imc 3D Map

Another concrete example for the use of the imc 3D Map is a virtual world called "Moto City".

imc 3D Map

Another concrete example for the use of the imc 3D Map is a virtual world called "Moto City".

imc 3D Map

Another concrete example for the use of the imc 3D Map is a virtual world called "Moto City".

imc 3D Map

Another concrete example for the use of the imc 3D Map is a virtual world called "Moto City".

imc 3D Map

Another concrete example for the use of the imc 3D Map is a virtual world called "Moto City".

"Moto City" is a virtual world specially created for a motorcycle manufacturer. The 3D Map shows a small town with offices, apartments, a showroom and a convention centre. The learner explores the latest motorcycle models and helps prepare for a large upcoming motorcycle convention in the city.
SUMMARY
During an internal BarCamp, imc's new content format, "Moto City" and other examples were presented in more detail, not by Avatar director James Cameron, but by imc Sales Manager Nick Spielkamp. The following sketchnote summarises the results of the session and therefore, all the important facts about 3D Learning:
Sketchnote 3D Learning
The trends of the education rebellion

E-Learning Punk is an article and talk series for all L&D Pros who want to dare something and believe that digital training has to be colourful and loud.

E-Learning-Punk Logo

Contact person

Since 2014 I have been part of the marketing & communication team at imc. My heart beats for creative campaigns, exciting content and digital innovations. My goal is to make digital topics understandable and simple to the point. My passions besides my job are good books and sports.
I am always happy to receive feedback on the series at [email protected].
Photo of Vanessa Klein
Vanessa Klein
Senior Event and Communication Manager
Learning with GIFs
E-Learning Punk

Five tips for more fun with e-learning

Learning with GIFs

The company is offering a new e-learning course – does this still have the unfortunate effect of triggering the same feelings in your learners as their annual reminder to have the plaque removed from their teeth? It doesn't have to! We'll give you tips and tricks on how to make learning more fun by using GIFs.

Basics on the topic of GIFs

The first GIF had already been developed as early as 1987, but the idea of GIFs goes back even further. GIFs are, in fact, comparable to the good old flip book. The rapid flow of several individually drawn graphics creates a moving image for the human eye, basically an extremely short video without sound.

Flipbook
INFO

Not quite picture, not quite video: GIF stands for Graphic Interchange Format. GIFs are usually animated short clips without sound.

Even after more than 30 years, GIFs still enjoy great popularity, despite their somewhat dated appearance. The popular moving images are widely used, pixelated and limited colour spectrum notwithstanding, because they can be integrated almost anywhere and are easy to create and share. What’s more: Our digital communications, whether on Twitter, WhatsApp or Teams, would certainly be a lot less entertaining and descriptive without GIFs. Speechless? No problem! Joy, sadness, compassion, shame – no matter what feeling you want to convey, you can always find a GIF for it.

Good reasons for using GIFs in learning

Social media is not the only place for GIFs. They can also make learning more vivid and entertaining. We have compiled the most important arguments for the use of GIFs in e-learning for you:

  • GIFs visually represent ideas and information in a few seconds
  • A GIF is easier to follow than a series of still images
  • GIFs usually run in a loop and are also perceived out of the corner of the eye
  • GIFs therefore do justice to the attention span of Generation Goldfish (<8 seconds)
  • Creating GIFs is much easier than creating high-end video content
  • GIFs play automatically on almost any system
  • GIFs trigger emotions. The stronger the emotion, the better the memory
  • GIFs are mobile-friendly and ideal for micro-learning
TIPS & TRICKS
5

tips for more GIF Ingenuity

The use of GIFs in e-learning offers several advantages. Use these short, vivid clips, for example, to make a step-by-step tutorial more entertaining, reinforce a key message, provide feedback, or make comparisons. We have summarised the most important tips for using GIFs in digital training courses for you below:

Tip 1: Offer your goldfish entertainment

Technological progress brings many opportunities and possibilities along with it, but at the same time, it is blamed for decreasing attention spans. You can counter that with GIFs. A good GIF attracts attention and triggers emotions, thus ensuring long-term retention. Boring, colourless GIFs reduce these effects.

goldfish
Tip 2: No information overload

A rule of thumb should be: Only one theme per GIF. The individual short clips should not be longer than ten seconds and should be intuitively comprehensible. After all, true GIF genius is about explaining even complex facts in a simple and entertaining way (see point 1!).

overload
Tip 3: Don't become Robin Hood. Or: No stealing for a good cause

Besides the popular genre of animal GIFs (keyword cat content), ultra short film scenes make particularly popular GIFs. Before you use a GIF like this from the Internet for your online training courses, however, make sure that you are not violating any copyrights.

robin hood
Tip 4: Not everyone is familiar with Harry Potter

Consider the cultural background and age of your target audience. For example, if you use a meme from a film, ask yourself: Is my target audience likely to know the film? If a GIF is not clear and understandable, its positive learning effect is significantly reduced.

harry potter
Tip 5: And the Oscar goes to... Hire a good protagonist

Do you have a recurring character in your other online training courses? Then provide your learners with a common thread and create GIFs with that character as well, for example, to provide feedback on a digital query. Passed the test? -> Rejoicing & Applause. Didn't pass the test? -> Sad face.

oscar

During an in-house imc BarCamp, Instructional Designer Stephan Urbanski and Senior Developer Frédéric Macchi presented a more detailed look at the potential of GIFs in the context of learning. The following sketchnote summarises the results of the session and all the important facts about learning with GIFs:

Sketchnote Learning with GIFs
The trends of the education rebellion

E-Learning Punk is an article and talk series for all L&D Pros who want to dare something and believe that digital training has to be colourful and loud.

Contact person

Since 2014 I have been part of the marketing & communication team at imc. My heart beats for creative campaigns, exciting content and digital innovations. My goal is to make digital topics understandable and simple to the point. My passions besides my job are good books and sports.
I am always happy to receive feedback on the series at [email protected].
Photo of Vanessa Klein
Vanessa Klein
Senior Event and Communication Manager