Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Latest SkillsServe Roadmap Update: Spring Client Forum

Image of london skyline with skillsserve brand logo


 Roadmap 2015/16 - Let's Recap

So here we are at the end of another financial year, 2015 is a fading memory and 2016 is well underway! So what does the future hold for SkillsServe and its ever growing user base? Well, the teams at Unicorn have been busy making plans for the next 12 to 18 months and beyond, but before we look to the future let’s pause for a moment and reflect on some of the key enhancements delivered over the past year. You can find out more about any of these features by checking out the release notes using the title links below.

  • New Improved CPD Interface – CPD has had a refresh with some great extra features added to make CPD management even easier. Key amongst these is the ability to group CPD activities together and add reflective statements at the group level.
  • Languages – We operate in a global marketplace and the demand for multilingual versions of SkillsServe has been increasing. To support this demand SkillsServe users can now choose to display the platform in five different languages, with more coming soon.
  • Activity Ratings & Feedback – Learners can now rate and provide written feedback on activities as they complete them. This type of feedback can help Content Administrators keep activities relevant and monitor whether they are achieving their purpose.
  • Simplified Question Bank Uploading – We have made question bank uploading easier by simplifying the question bank template. There is now less for you to do to create new question banks or update existing ones.
  • New eCreator Templates – There are now an additional 10 templates to choose from, increasing the total number of available templates to 22, allowing for greater diversity in your content creation.
  • Ability to Launch an Activity Directly From the Registration Notification Email – When users receive an email notifying them of new learning content, they now have the ability to launch the activity immediately. This saves time for users accessing the content and could help to improve completion results.
  • New 'Find Learning' User Interface – The 'Find Learning' catalogue area has been completely redesigned to provide a number of improvements, all developed to make it easier for users to search and register for activities and for administrators to manage and allocate content.
  • New Pathway Builder – This feature allows administrators to create new learning pathways (formerly known as programmes) from the content that they add to their 'Basket'. This considerably speeds up and simplifies the process of creating bespoke and relevant learning pathways from available content. 
  • DiagnosticAssessment – This feature allows administrators to automatically generate a diagnostic assessment based upon the content within a learning pathway. Users who successfully complete the diagnostic pre-assessment can be exempted from having to complete the content, thus saving time and increasing productivity whilst still ensuring users are maintaining relevant knowledge.
  • Past Objectives for Performance and T&C Forms – This great time-saving feature gives you the ability to pull in past and continuing objectives, actions or development needs between forms, helping you keep sight of what has been achieved and is still outstanding.
  • Branded HTML Emails – Plain text emails can be a thing of the past. Talk to us about how SkillsServe can be configured to send out professionally branded emails.
Quite a productive year we hope you’ll agree! Now whilst we know lots of you are already making the most of these improvements, if you would like more info on how you can start taking advantage of particular features please review previous release notes or get in touch with your Relationship Manager or contact our helpdesk here or call 0800 055 6586. They are always more than happy to help!
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Roadmap 2016/17 - You Spoke, We Listened

Ok, so with that stellar list of platform improvements now under our belt, how can we possibly compete this year? Well, let’s have a look and see…

With a lot of recent focus on new feature development, this year we want to ensure that we are still doing the fundamentals correctly. So with that in mind and putting your feedback at the core of our planning we have identified some key existing platform areas that will be getting an overhaul. Our aim is to ensure you can perform the most important tasks simply, effectively and with absolute confidence!

  • Registration Rules – We will revisit the current registration rules feature with the objectives of improving overall usability and providing significantly improved support for the core process of setting up and maintaining annual regulatory training allocation rules.
  • Event Management – Refine the event management function to improve usability and extend our support to cover the most commonly requested features. Focus points will include enhanced Outlook integration, support to invite targeted groups of user to events without having to register them first, and the ability for users to register interest on unplanned events.
  • T&C/Performance Management – With an ever increasing demand for a more complex and robust T&C and performance management solution, the forms builder and associated functionality will be enhanced to include a more refined interface, additional work flows, support for setting of business objectives, and improved integration with other system features such as CPD, job role competencies and custom profile fields.
  • Forms Reporting – To complement these enhancements we also plan to implement a more flexible reporting solution for forms and form data ensuring you have all the tools you need to effectively monitor and report on these business critical solutions.

Room for Something New

Whilst the above refinement of existing features are paramount to this year’s roadmap we are taking the opportunity to broaden the scope of solutions supported by SkillsServe to ensure you have some exiting new tools at your disposal in the coming months.

  • Graphical Reporting & MI Dashboard – The reporting engine will be enhanced to allow you to create your own graphical reports providing ‘at a glance’ information on key metrics. In addition we will configure and enable a standard set of graphical reports for you, representing the most common KPIs.
  • Discussions Groups & Ask the Expert – This exciting new feature will enable the creation and management of activity related discussions from within SkillsServe, providing a great opportunity for peer to peer collaboration, as well as subject expert or tutor guided discussions. 
  • E-commerce – A significant upgrade to the e-commerce and licensing options available within SkillsServe will offer support for online purchases via credit card, Direct Debit, along with support for annual licensing and renewals. 
  • New Navigation – Ever mindful of the user experience provided by SkillsServe we will be releasing a new and significantly improved sidebar navigation menu which can open and collapse providing simple unobtrusive access to system features. We will also provide some additional personalisation features such as profile picture and person details.
  • Responsive Homepage/Training Plan – To ensure we keep pace with the growing demand to access SkillsServe via mobile devices we plan to release a new responsive homepage that will automatically detect and adjust to key screen resolutions (full desktop platform) and a new refined training plan interface built on the SkillsServe API (mobile first).
  • eCreator Enhancements – We have identified some further enhancements to the eCreator tool within SkillsServe that will provide an improved experience and greater control for content authors, including but not limited to a revised in-line editor, support for configurable font size/colours within templates along with other enhancements.

Client in Control

One of our key design aims for SkillsServe is to give you as much control as possible when it comes to configuring and managing SkillsServe. To this end, as part of this year’s roadmap we will develop and enable areas within SkillsServe that allow clients to:

  • Self-service Branding – Apply and manage their own branding, including upload of logo and colour selection within a default theme.
  • Self-service System Email Configuration – Configure and edit all system emails. This will include determining which system emails are enabled and the ability to easily identify emails, update copy and preview changes as needed.
  • Self-service Single Sign-on – Access all relevant technical documentation and necessary interfaces to configure and manage Single-sign-on with minimal support from Unicorn technical teams.

That just about covers it…for now! We hope you will agree that the planned work will further improve your experience and extend the benefits SkillsServe is able to deliver to your organisation. Suffice to say, we have plenty of work to be getting on with!

We will of course keep you informed on our progress, changes to the road-map and also the order in which we plan to tackle the above projects via quarterly updates posted to this blog along with other communications. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch at helpdesk@unicorntraining.com or on 0800 055 6586.

Friday, 29 April 2016

SkillsServe 5.6 Release Note

ReleaseNote_ActivityRatings_160422
Activity Ratings & Feedback

Benefits Learners can now rate and provide written feedback on activities as they complete them. This type of feedback can help Content Administrators keep activities relevant and monitor whether they are achieving their purpose.

How it works When a learner completes eLearning, eCreator courses, videos or documents within SkillsServe they can now rate their experience by choosing from five different rating levels which will be represented by 1 to 5 stars. They can also enter a comment to support or expand on their rating.

As soon as a Learner completes one of these activities an Activity Ratings windown launches allowing them to rate the activity straight away. Alternatively, they can choose to rate activities later via the My Activites area.

Activity Ratings Window My Activities View

The average ratings based upon all feedback can then be displayed beneath each activity in the Find Learning catalogues for other learners to view or can just be collated and kept private for the Administrators to see from within the new Ratings tab.

For further guidance on how to use this feature, please refer to our Knowledge Base guide.
How to get this This feature has been released and is available to Single-Tenancy clients upon request. Please speak to your Relationship Manager or contact the Helpdesk at helpdesk@unicorntraining.com or on 0800 0556586 to switch this feature on.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

SkillsServe 5.5 Release Notes

Simplified Question Bank Uploading

BenefitsWe've made question bank uploading easier by simplifying the question bank template. There is now less for you to do to create new question banks or update existing ones.

How it worksFor new question banks, simply download our new CSV template file and add your questions, answers and categories as normal.








We've removed the need to include the question bank name, code and modified date in the question file. The upload will now check to see if there have been any changes to the questions in the file and, if there are, it will automatically update the questions in SkillsServe.

When questions in the downloaded question bank spreadsheet are changed in any column, row or cell, and then the bank is re-uploaded, the system automatically archives the old version of the question and creates a new version. This will automatically update any assessments using the question whilst preserving previous question attempts to ensure you are able to report on the specific version of a question a candidate answered.

Remember, whenever you need to update questions, always download the question bank from SkillsServe before making amendments. This will ensure you are using the correct template and the latest version of questions. Likewise, when creating new banks, always download the latest version of the question bank template (as shown in the image above) before creating new question banks as this will ensure you benefit from any improvements being made.

How to get thisThis feature has been released and can be used now when uploading questions, for more information please contact the Helpdesk at helpdesk@unicorntraining.com or on 0800 0556586.