Brandon Hall Awards

The Talent Management Specialists at Blueline Simulations Sweep the Brandon Hall Awards

The Talent Management Specialists at Blueline Simulations sweep the Brandon Hall Awards

Yesterday I enjoyed a little taste of what James Cameron must have felt the night that Titanic swept the Oscars. Ok, so this may sound overly dramatic, if you will forgive the pun. Billy Crystal wasn’t hosting, and there was no red carpet.

But in our industry there are few awards that matter as much as the Brandon Halls.  Now in its 17th year, the awards program announced yesterday the winners from 22 categories.  Entries were judged by a panel of independent senior judges, Brandon Hall Group Sr. Analysts and Executive Leadership based upon the following criteria: fit the need, design of the program, functionality, usability, innovation, and overall measurable benefits.

As Mike Cooke, Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group, Inc. put it: “This year’s winning entries were the best of the best. We are proud to recognize the award winners who have greatly improved the performance of their organization and have shown clear, measurable business results through these innovative programs.”

And in Blueline Simulation’s first year as a submitter, our client partners won five Gold Awards! 

You read that correctly: FIVE GOLD BRANDON HALL AWARDS!  Congratulations to Bank of America, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Verizon Wireless for being acknowledged as the “best of the best” by winning Gold Medals in the following categories:

  • Best Custom Content: The Verizon Wireless Retail Sales Simulator
  • Best Learning Game: The Verizon Wireless Retail Sales Simulator
  • Best Use of Virtual Worlds for Learning: Bank of America Teller Readiness Simulation and Assessment
  • Best Integration of Learning and Talent Management: Bank of America Teller Readiness Simulation and Assessment
  • Best Onboarding Program: Booz Allen Hamilton New Hire Onboarding Program

And here is the best part: while awards in and of themselves are nice, for us the bigger reward was the opportunity to work with three of the most talented and dedicated client teams with whom we have ever had the pleasure to partner.

So how does the team at Blueline plan to follow up on this tremendous showing? We’d like to create some best-in-class learning solutions with you! Give the Talent Management Specialists at Blueline Simulations a call and find out why our client partners have been rewarded with these and other awards from Bersin and ASTD in 2011.

Gamification: is it Edu-tainment or a Genuine Opportunity to Engage Learners?

You are invited to join us for what I am confident will be an interesting and informative webinar hosted by my friend and business partner: Brian Knudson. Brian is the Founder of NogginLabs and knows a thing or two about achieving learning transfer through gamification – and has 7 Brandon Hall gaming awards to prove it.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a huge budget or complex programming to design eLearning that’s as addictive as Angry Birds. If motivating your learners is a challenge, join us on Wednesday, December 12th from 12:00 to 12:30 pm EST, for this free webinar. Learn the basic principles of gamification, and how best to apply them to your eLearning initiatives.

This webinar is free to training professionals with a valid company email address; please complete your RSVP by Monday, December 10th and we will provide you with a meeting invite and access information.

I hope you can join us to see how gamification can take your organization’s eLearning to the next level.

Blueline is Celebrating our 10th Birthday. And I am a Bit Speechless.

Yes we had big dreams when we founded Blueline. But we never imagined the success and the many accolades that we have enjoyed in our first decade.  Blueline’s award-winning training solutions have been recognized by ASTD, Brandon Hall and Bersin’s Learning Leaders. Thank you to all of our clients for believing in our vision and for trusting us with the “tough” projects — the projects that weren’t simply about building a training program but were about solving a business problem.

And thank you to all of the Blueline associates who have contributed directly and indirectly to our client’s successes. I plan to dream really big about the next 10 years because now I know how capable you are.

On the occasion of this milestone, I’ve been reflecting about our business — where it has been and (even more exciting) where it is going.

Welcome to the Age of Simulation

Recently, I participated in a discussion about learning strategies with some very senior leaders from Xerox, AT&T, UPS, and Intercontinental Hotel Corporation. And it was interesting because though they weren’t able to agree on everything, there was one thing that they quickly came to consensus on: “in this environment we need to teach learners more, and faster than ever before.”

Consider that 47% of employees are going to be under the age of 35 by the end of 2013. Let’s think about that for a second. This is a brand new generation of learners with a whole different set of expectations. These folks grew up with Xbox, and they grew up with MMORPGs like World of Warcraft. They grew up with Zynga and other social games on Facebook.

What’s the common theme? This group of learners expects to be entertained.

In 25 years in the learning space, if I’ve learned anything it’s that the fastest way to engage learners is through simulation. Period. And now we have this huge demographic that will not only benefit from simulation but is demanding it, because they want to be entertained, and they expect to be put in the middle of the experience.

Games, E-sims, and Beyond

Ten years ago, when I founded Blueline, we pushed the envelope by designing Blueline Blueprint Learning Visuals and classroom based simulations, many of which looked and felt like board games. These innovations speed learning and increase retention and continue to bring unique value in response to business problems that demand face-to-face interactions between learners.

About seven years ago, “branching esimulations” went mainstream in response to traditional elearning solutions that were dull and failed to engage and energize the learner. In a typical branching esimulation, the learner is faced with a challenge — often in the form of dialog with a customer or an employee — and is asked to respond by selecting from one of three alternatives. Their choice leads to another challenge and more choices, “and so on and so on” just like the old Clairol commercials. The problem has been that these simulations are hard coded, and for large scale immersive applications, expensive to build, and all but impossible to maintain and update.

Today technology has made it possible for us to do so much more, and to deliver so much more value. We are developing branching simulations based on gaming engines with thousands of nodes guided by easily updated rules and probabilities. Close your eyes and imagine a scenario in which you are interacting with a video-based character using your voice… and that you can interact with that character for hours on end in an almost life-like free flowing dialog.

Think for a minute about the potential that brings. Now, open your eyes because that’s a reality today.

Imagine what I will be writing about ten years from today!