Sales training solutions

Delivering Superior Sales Training Solutions

Do you need to evolve the sales training approach of your business? As you have probably discovered, developing training solutions for high value sales is a complex task for anyone. And why wouldn’t it be? Most L&D departments need to invest in complex training programmes because their sales requirements and products are also complex and high value.

On top of this, your company depends on the success of your sales team to drive the top line performance of your business. Now you have a serious reason to look into effective training solutions for your business.


Sales training solutions


What you need is a high quality training solution that actually conforms and caters to the nuance of your product and target market needs. WillowDNA focuses heavily in targeted learning design analysis. As part of our service, this process allows us to craft unique mixed-media training content for your sales teams. This ensures that the content we develop actually reflects your operational needs.

The content is then managed and deployed through our cloud based LMS Pathway to provide standardised, high quality and effective training for disparate workforces on any scale; from regional to international.

Your Domain Knowledge with Our Learning Expertise

What makes our approach more appealing than other competitors? Well, unlike some, WillowDNA actually owns its own LMS, Pathway. Because of this we have an intimate knowledge of the platform and can actually grow it in the directions that our clients want, effectively giving you a unique learning platform that organically grows to meet your needs, as opposed to open based platforms such as Moodle, that are governed by many influences.

Through our learning design analysis, our skilled consultants can mobilise your domain knowledge with our learning expertise to create a superior breed of training.

Blended Learning with No External Agendas

Because we are a platform provider as well as a content creator, WillowDNA actually breaks the ideological paradigm that many competitors suffer from, namely that their focus impedes the options available to them. Because of our solution orientation, the event horizon of restricted learning solutions does not affect WillowDNA.

On top of this, we don’t peddle inferior solutions or lobby certain products, so you know that the blended approach we provide you hasn’t been compromised by external agendas. Our entire methodology and focus is on providing the best available training solution for your needs and we have the skills, process and platforms that ensure success.

If you feel the same way we do and recognise the benefits within our approach that can save you time and a constant headache, contact us to get started.

Demand for video content in elearning

Video Content for Learning: The Hunger Grows

We don’t actually see anything for what it truly is. Our eyes provide our brain with a virtual simulation of an object, based on a series of electrical impulses sent to the brain via the optical nerve. Our eyes reconstruct objects to an astonishing degree of accuracy, but it is still a reconstruction.

Because the eye is arguably our most complex sense organ, humans are intensely visual creatures – which helps to explain why video as a media type, reigns supreme.

A lot of contemporary literature in the learning technology sector evidences the huge surge in popularity of video based content. Research articles from the Fosway Group and Cisco provide insight into video consumption, and with multiple speakers focusing on video based learning at the 2018 Learning Technologies conference, this is a topic that should be of interest to a variety of L & D professionals. Let’s see how this plays into elearning solutions.

Demand for video content in elearning

L&D Demand for Video Based Learning

79% of L and D professionals that were interviewed in a study conducted by the Fosway Group reported that they expect their demand for video based learning to increase or stay the same throughout 2017 [1]. We can see this appetite for video content reflected in wider culture.

Platforms like YouTube dominate the digital media scene, with consumers ravenous for video content. To provide some sense of scale to how popular this medium is, global mobile data traffic grew by 63% in 2016, to approximately 7.2 Exabytes per month. 1 Exabyte equates to over 1 billion Gigabytes. And out of this colossal volume of traffic, mobile video traffic accounted for over 60% [2].

Being visually dominant creatures, it is no surprise that video content is so effective at engaging the viewer. Harnessing this power in learning solutions is paramount for any content creator. Even on a practical level, video is a strong communication tool for messaging a nationally or globally disparate workforces and is a welcome alternative to flying everyone in for a company development retreat. However, video content requires a significant investment, and given the fact that scalability can sometimes be a limiting factor, it is even more important to understand how video content is consumed by learners, so that it is captured and rendered in the right way.

Therefore it is important to detect which devices learners are viewing content from, desktop / mobile etc. This can provide content custodians with useful data about their learners’ viewing habits and preferences. We also recognise the value of being able to assess the effectiveness of one video over another and evaluate their impact in terms of learner engagement. Pathway offers our clients deep video analytics to gain this level of insight.

Video Content is the Future

No matter which way you cut it, video based learning content is here to stay, how it is harnessed however, depends on the context of the client’s needs. This is where WillowDNA’s expert consultancy comes into play. Not only do we develop video content from scripted dramas through to beautifully crafted interviews, but we also provide guidance around recommended video length and how to actually incorporate video into a client’s blended learning solution.

On top of this we can also edit and adapt existing video footage that clients may already possess from previous initiatives. This approach can help to save costs of it is feasible to repurpose existing material, making video content even more attractive for L&D projects.

Contact us today to see how WillowDNA can incorporate video content into your learning solution.





Learning Technologies

Learning Technologies 2018 in Review: Microlearning, Video & Social Focus

After working with a much more diverse range of clients during 2017 and having felt my outlook as an Instructional Designer change, I was very intrigued to see what the atmosphere would be like at Europe’s leading L&D exhibition for 2018.

One thing was for certain – I did not expect the level of turnout that greeted me as I entered the Olympia centre. Everywhere I looked I could see bustling crowds of people listening to a wide range of speakers from different nations and business backgrounds; sharing their most important messages for the industry going forwards into the new year. But just what exactly were these messages? Maybe more importantly were any of them worth paying attention to?

Well the short answer is yes, but it may not be the ones you think. As I walked around trying to find the most controversial or up and coming trend, keeping one eye out for unexpected or unusual topics, I couldn’t help but notice how popular the tried and true discussion points were still, despite their relatively aged positions in the industry.


Learning Technologies


Microlearning still retained a solid and noticeable position, with multiple speakers dedicating their stage time to the deeper application of its potential. For me, and the rest of the team at WillowDNA, this proved just as exciting as any of the more fringe discussions like the role of AI chat bots in elearning and so on. It showed just how innovative and pioneering WillowDNA was over a decade ago when it first emerged on the organisational learning scene.

If microlearning is still being discussed and explored in 2018, then it is definitely a mode of learning that is here to stay. This is good news for our business as microlearning was a founding tenant of our cloud based LMS Pathway.

But it wasn’t just microlearning that retained its relevance in the 2018 conference. Seminars related to social learning technology generated a fair amount of interest, with the fostering of a user driven learning culture seemingly tapping into the ascendancy of social media within the wider world.

Ease of access and consumption convenience are facets that bleed over between social and microlearning, which could explain microlearning’s impressive buoyancy in contemporary debate. While social learning as an industry term is not a new phenomenon, by the sounds of it, the true potential and scope within elearning has yet to reach its peak. While being fairly circumstantial from business to business, social learning still has a place at the forefront of L&D debate.

Video based content also boasted a healthy contingent of speakers, who focused on angles from knowledge retention and inciting culture change to instant gratification through bite-size knowledge clips. Video as a content medium is incredibly potent, but similarly to social learning assets, it must be rendered and deployed carefully and conscientiously. We will cover the details of its effectiveness in the near future, looking into research conducted by the Fosway Group, but being emphasised within several talks indicates video based learning is still growing into its role within L&D.

These well-known L&D topics are apparently still at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds despite newer terms such as Alternate Reality and AI starting to establish beach heads in wider discourse.

I am by no means writing off these fledgling additions to the L&D arsenal, but with WillowDNA’s decade-long championing of microlearning being a case in point, things take time to emerge as dominant learning solutions. Whether that’s because the sceptics amongst us demand rigour and endurance from hot trends before accepting them or some parts of the industry arrive later to the party, the same will apply to these emerging sub-fields.

I suspect it will be some time before we see them being discussed as confidently and vigorously as the big three, Micro, Social and Video – which for me, the 2018 Learning Technologies exhibition seemed to confirm.

Rory Birch – Instructional Designer, WillowDNA 


Contact us to find out how at WillowDNA we capture social, video and microlearning within the heart of our learning solutions.

Pathway LMS - 10 Years of Micro-Learning

How Pathway Cloud LMS Has Led the Way with Microlearning

Almost a decade ago Debbie Lawley, founder of WillowDNA discussed with an executive of a leading e-learning company the amazing potential that a cloud based platform with a microlearning approach would have within the learning technology market.

The response she got to this vision was striking:

“People don’t want to learn like that”

How times have changed! 10 years on and microlearning is the norm, but how did Pathway as a pioneering LMS pre-empt this change in learning solutions?


Cloud based LMS


Debbie conceptualised Pathway in 2008. It originated out of a frustration with the contemporary landscape of e-learning and a lack of microlearning options in the market. There did not seem to be any products out there that offered bite-sized mixed media assets for organisational learning.

Pathway’s founding purpose was to answer this gap in the market, and it still remains one of WillowDNA’s chief tenants to this day.

Pathway’s initial break out fields included professional bodies, corporates with dispersed workforces, training companies that wanted to digitise their assets as well as business that were frustrated with heavy duty / inflexible LMS providers.

Because these fundamental client needs are universal and widespread; Pathway has always been international since day one. With over 120 countries where the Pathway Cloud LMS has been accessed from, WillowDNA’s global reach is in part due to the very nature of the fundamental challenges that Pathway was born to remedy.

Pathway LMS - 10 Years of MicrolearningFrom advertising to travel, retail to sales, no matter the industry, open dialogue has become the norm, so Pathway’s current form has been refined in order to enrich it’s social learning aspects. How people prefer to access their learning has also changed rapidly since Pathway was initially created.

Mobile based learning is on the rise and Pathway has naturally changed to accommodate this learner preference, right down to the essential code. Flexible footprint access now encompasses all aspects of Pathway.

Understanding the past affords us a more accurate sense of the future, so looking forward in regards to Pathway’s technical longevity we can provide some outlines. As a preface, open systems integrations is something that we have always fostered in our technical departments and our API facilitates this. Equally having used sequel server databases with SSRS has enabled us to provide comprehensive reporting functionality for our clients, which we believe will play an important role in the future of e-learning.

So, the current trajectory for Pathway looks bright and involves building on our reporting and data driven learning or ‘adaptive learning’ ambitions, but more on that another time!

Interested in how Pathway can help you with your learning needs?

Please contact us at WillowDNA for an informal discussion | +44(0)117 370 7735

Talent Development and Learner Reflection

Learner Reflection Critical for Talent Development

Here at WillowDNA, we offer a range solutions for improving talent development, and on this post we look at how learner reflection is a critical success factor.

Talent Development and Learner Reflection

In the crazy world of L and D, half the battle is getting learners to reflect on how they work and what approach they take to learning. Reflection is how we develop as people, and within a work context, it ensures continuous development; making your people better at what they do.

Who doesn’t want that? So it makes sense that an LMS should encourage learner reflection as much as possible. Here is where Pathway LMS comes into play.

Personalised learning journeyDelegates will usually be presented with a diagnostic when they first access content on Pathway.

This can really help to bring awareness to the delegates regarding gaps in their knowledge and how the learning they are about to undertake will help to fill these deficits.

Bringing this knowledge to learners’ attentions is great for reflection, and by reinforcing this opening message throughout their journey, we can ensure they stay motivated to reach their potential.

One of the chief ways in which Pathway can retain this message throughout their delegates’ journey involves Learning Logs. This is the principle functionality that provides a reflective space for learners to pause and take stock during their learning experience.

Further to this, based upon the initial diagnostic, if level selection is enabled then certain Learning Paths may be suppressed away from the learner and others opened, depending on what they scored in the diagnostic. This curation of content also acts as an indicator to the learner that how Pathway has delivered content to them has been informed by their initial input. This is great as it again reinforces the desired message and shows learners the link between their existing skills, and the next level of competency that Pathway is steering them towards.

Learning paths checklistAnother tool that we deploy on Pathway for learner reflection is the reliable survey. Rather than cramming vanity questions as was customary for some companies in the past, surveys on Pathway can perform a powerful dual function. Not only can they induce critical reflection within the learner but they can also yield valuable data for content custodians such as HR managers and subject matter experts; so you can see where your learners are thriving and where they are struggling.

All of these processes and functionality help to foster an atmosphere of reflection along the learner’s journey. When applied effectively to a learner’s specific work environment, they can enforce positive behavioural change, something that is very valuable for talent development teams within large size corporates.

If you are interested in harnessing this power for your learning solution, come and find out how this can be achieved with Pathway. Feel free to contact us for an informal discussion about your talent development needs.
+44(0)117 370 7735


Personalised learning journey

Take Control of Your Learners’ Journey

The scope that Pathway LMS offers our clients for creating an effective learning journey is huge to say the least. Our roadmap for Pathway is based on a client-driven continuous development cycle and has plenty of exciting enhancements in store. However, for this update we thought you might be interested in finding out about the defining features of Pathway as it stands, and why it has taken its current form.


Personalised learning journeyPathway is brimming with functionality, and there are a few features that have acted as major developmental keystones. Right out of the gate is Learner Diagnostics. This functionality provides recommended level selections for initial content access. This is especially helpful for learners that are not too sure about what content they need to explore and which assets are necessary or relevant to them. Level selection is great for streaming learners based on ability or experience; this functionality helps to boost user engagement as learners will appreciate knowing that the content they are accessing has been specifically selected for their aims and needs.


Content Control

Learning content controlHaving control over your content is fundamental when it comes to delivering effective learning solutions. Pathway allows for content managers to directly access and instantly change content without third party involvement. This functionality is particularly useful for certain businesses that need to rapidly respond to industry changes and roll out compliance updates to their content.


Timely Deployment

Deployment trigger functionalityTrigger functionality allows clients to control when learners can access content and alert their learners to certain updates regarding content, assessments or evidence uploads. Suppressing content is extremely valuable for deploying lengthy programmes as the learner remains focused on the right content at the right time. This functionality works both ways, as content managers such as HR teams or learning tutors can be notified when learners access or complete content. This functionality is especially useful for businesses who need regular confirmation that their employees have accessed or completed training.


Feel free to contact us for an informal chat about your needs and to find out how WillowDNA could help you create an effective learning journey for your training requirements.
+44(0)117 370 7735


Micro-Learning: Develop, Manage & Deploy Bite Sized Training

There are many widely discussed training technology trends that fail to really take hold or that get quickly superseded, but the concept of micro-learning is one hot topic that is here to stay – because it works. Here we look at how to develop, manage and deploy bite sized training to engage and train your learners to maximum effect.


Learning messagesMost of us have probably heard by now the phrase ‘micro-learning’ floating around in industry literature. But what does it actually mean? And what kind of concrete example would take shape if we put micro-learning into practice?


Mixed media training contentAt WillowDNA we have always developed our training solutions as a mix of bite-sized assets and activities so although the term ‘micro learning’ has been buzzing around technological training for the last 18 months, we have been rendering training interventions in this way for the last 10 years! WillowDNA’s expertise lies in crafting the blend of mixed media learning designs for any client, from medium sized corporates to global institutions; bite-sized content delivery is a universal winning strategy for e-learning solutions.

Micro-learning downloads


A Micro-Learning Platform

Firstly, our cloud-based learning platform, Pathway LMS, has been developed specifically for the management of blended programmes. Pathway is made up of modular Learning Paths, which can hold any number of mixed media assets. Our clients can provide a seamless blended learning experience by creating learning paths which are made up of learning objects. These objects can range from videos, discussion boards and SCORM modules through to uploadable evidence-based assignments and podcasts.


Creating Learning Paths

Learning paths checklistLearning Paths can provide a chronological course of content, or focused packets of information that learners can quickly access. This ‘just in time’ approach is the underpinning philosophy behind micro-learning. Bite-sized training is consumable for learners, they can easily manage to fit training into their day and put aside 10 – 20 minutes per day to learn. The blend can be defined by the audience, for example exercises and tasks that can be performed in the field or assets that can be easily accessed while they are out and about, such as podcasts for people that spend much of their time in the car or downloadable job aids for those that have episodic access to devices.


Scalable e-Learning Content

Easy learning administrationThe scalability of bite-sized learning also benefits the custodians of content, from HR teams to tutors and subject matter experts. The ability to quickly respond to change and enforce that change within e-learning content is an imperative when managing any kind of learning. Pathway allows administrators to quickly and easily update or supplement content by adding and removing learning objects instead of ‘unpicking’ lengthy SCORM files or re-recording videos. Pathway allows administrators to simply insert a new Case Study or develop a new PDF/Infographic to ensure their training material keeps up to date with internal or business changes.


Bite-Size for Success – The Takeaway

Bite size learning takeawaysAs a final takeaway message, being a learner centric organisation, we know our success will always be measured by the learner experience. We have conducted extensive research across our various learner audiences and continually receive an overwhelming response that they prefer a mixed media approach and are unable to simply ‘choose’ a favourite medium. End users consistently feedback that the mixed media, bite-sized approach keeps them engaged and offers them a rich learning experience.

Feel free to contact us for an informal chat about your needs and to find out how WillowDNA could help you develop a micro-learning solution for your training requirements.
+44(0)117 370 7735

Social learning in corporate training

Is Social Learning Part of Your Blend?

Hello again from WillowDNA! This is the first instalment of a regular blog series focusing on the hot topics within the world of e-learning. Today’s focus is on the growing influence of social learning strategies.

We know from recent studies that social learning is in high demand from learners.

One example of how WillowDNA can facilitate this new trend, is through the use of message boards within our LMS, which provide a space where users can compare their learning experiences and also discuss specific aspects of the content. This really brings home the social media feel that is transforming the e-learning game, and is being received by our client’s learners and tutors with great enthusiasm.

Not only does it give their audience a voice and an opportunity for them to contribute to the learning, it also exposes their individual experiences which helps to transfer learning back into the workplace.

Discussion boards for social learning


Benefits of Social Learning

Substantial analysis into the benefits of social learning has been conducted and making employees feel like they are contributing to a larger goal or joint mission seems to be an important take away factor. Therefore, building in LMS functionality that allows learners to contribute to their learning experience can really maximise this asset that social learning provides. Pathway can also facilitate this, with the ability for learners to upload content to a portfolio, which can be viewed by a tutor who can then share uploads with the rest of the cohort to generate discussion.

By allowing learners to contribute content at key stages along the learning experience, a collaborative spirit can be fostered, and with tutors or SME guidance, this learner input can be incorporated into the overall content stream. For certain professions that are highly practical and often require behavioural change, such as sales, the ability to quickly put into practice what you have recently learnt from content is invaluable.

For example, sales reps in the field could use their smartphones to quickly record and share recent experiences and best practice with their colleagues, providing they use an LMS that supports learner contribution. The option to trial and test content in the field affords learners more confidence in their e-learning solution and provides a faster pace to their learning experience.

We are implementing this research in the construction of our online Sales Training Academy and will hopefully yield the clear benefits that social learning methods can provide to our learners.

Keep an eye out for upcoming WillowDNA blog posts for further insights.

eLearning Advice from Cambridge University

What’s next for e-learning?  Short and sharp is the view from Cambridge

Commentators at Cambridge University published an article earlier this year exploring the future of e-learning and role of short snappy content, supported by the guidance of an expert tutor.  This would shape the future delivery model for students.  Back in 2013 we published a White Paper exploring exactly this concept of created and curated content that powers our learning path design concept.  

It’s a model that our clients have used across the globe to deliver more impactful learning experiences and ensure collaboration and application are sustained.

eLearning Advice from Cambridge University

More and more, our team are working with clients to create short, high impact content, from animations and quick how to videos through to game style challenges and scenarios.

Debbie Lawley, MD at WillowDNA says ‘It’s great to see the recognition that content can inspire and start a learning journey but is recognised as part of the process.  Our role as learning content and technology suppliers is to help organisations set the scene for great performance through engaging the audience and inspiring change’.

A great example of this was our work with Mediabrands on a new tools launch back in 2016

As well creating formal performance content, a key element of the programme for their new tools launch was high impact comms content, designed to feed curiosity about the new tools and start conversations throughout the business:

To accompany the formal content and encourage independent research and application of the knowledge covered in the e-learning modules, e daily google quiz, developed using Articulate Storyline was released every day for a fortnight, encouraging learners back to the LMS to take part in daily challenges and win prizes.

Online quiz

YouTube Challenge

YouTube Tools

As a compliment to this, each global office were encouraged to upload video case studies of how they were using the campaign planning cycle in new work pitches and discussing the revenue generated.  Top case studies as rated by their peers won prizes for their local office and provided useful content for the business as a whole.

Getting to know you – a video on delivering what people really need

Our head of learning solutions, Lisa Minogue-White recorded a quick video on why we need to work harder to get to know our learners and what will really make a difference.

In this 2 minute piece, she explores;

  • how to make best use of technology to help create and share resources
  • why we should create a choice architecture rather than invest in big budget programmes and,
  • how we can really make a difference through focusing our time on helping people in the application of learning