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Digital transformation and flexible work policies: forging a new path amidst the COVID-19 crisis

The arrival of COVID-19 has permanently altered the way we work. In our post-pandemic world, protecting the health and safety of our employees by putting in place remote work is going hand in hand with an overall digital transformation of businesses and organizations. According to data provided by Gallup Inc, “the percentage of workers who say their employer is offering them flex time or remote work options has grown from 39% at that time to 57%” and as much as 59% of employees would prefer to “work remotely as much as possible”.

Questioning the status quo and disrupting the world of education as we know it is at the heart of ellicom/LCI LX and the LCI Education Network. This goes hand in hand with an innovative and sustainable transformation of the way we operate and our goal of making work more flexible and comfortable for all employees.

Tele-working and high-speed digital collaboration have quickly become part of ellicom/LCI LX’s and LCI Education’s culture, and they are here to stay! 100% teleworking will be extended until the middle of 2021, after which an innovative and flexible telework policy will be established. The network’s focus is to help employees navigate our new normal by putting in place a supportive framework:

  • launching an innovative and flexible telework policy
  • alternating telework with face-to-face work (once authorized by the National Institute of Public Health)
  • maintaining social connections, collaboration, a positive culture and nurturing a sense of belonging
  • offering the necessary accommodations to ensure employees’ well-being
  • releasing a special budget to provide employees with tools essential for productivity and comfort.

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The global shift towards remote work is much more than just a temporary lifeline for organizations. It is an opportunity to seize a new path forward towards digital transformation and virtual collaboration. According to Forbes: “Now, with at least a third of the world’s population under some form of lockdown, coronavirus has forced widespread behavioural change. There has never been a greater need for technologies that can help us enhance limited physical environments. With virtual reality hardware advancing rapidly, the opportunity is ripe for transformative new applications to fill this need.” From innovative teleworking, to virtual classrooms and immersive learning environments, it’s time to turn a crisis into an opportunity for growth.

If you want to join us on this exciting journey and are interested in working with us: ellicom/LCI LX and LCI Education are currently hiring! Check out our open positions below:

https://www.lcieducation.com/en/careers

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Immersive environments & 5G technology: The future of learning and collaboration

Global collaboration has emerged as a key necessity in our post-COVID world. Virtual collaborative spaces are not only filling the gap in a world that doesn’t allow us to move and travel as easily any more, they also hold the potential to break down barriers and open the door to immersive global collaborative infrastructures and scenarios.

5G technology plays a major role in making these virtual environments accessible and agile and bypassing the technical limitations of the current generation of networks. In partnership with OVA, ellicom/LCI LX is participating in ENCQORs 5G project to test the potential of the 5G technology and explore how these virtual collaborative spaces could look like in an educational context.

The high capacity 5G mobile network is able to achieve download and upload speeds up to 100 times faster and can reduce latency from 10 to 50 times compared to today’s 4G. This opens the door to an entirely new generation of products and services that will be brought to the market. As an example, Apple’s new iPhone12, which is launching today, will be 5G enabled.

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Many industries are on the brink of a technical revolution. A paper published by scientists of the University of Cologne notes that “shared workspaces and collaborative virtual environments (CVEs) allow for real-time information interchange and the synchronization of distributed working efforts over distance. Especially in the field of net-based collaboration and cooperative learning these developments [are] mainly driven by one goal: To improve work effectiveness by creating shared knowledge and coordinating problem solving activities.” (Virtual encounters. Creating social presence in net-based collaborations).

Numerous research studies have shown the effectiveness of digital transformation and virtual learning environments in the context of the education: A report by the US Department of Education shows that online learning has the “potential for providing more flexible access to content and instruction at any time, from any place […], increasing the availability of learning experiences for learners who cannot or choose not to attend traditional face-to-face offerings, […]  assembling and disseminating instructional content more cost efficiently, (and) enabling instructors to handle more students while maintaining learning outcome quality that is equivalent to that of comparable face-to-face instruction.” According to the report, “more recent applications tend to combine multiple forms of synchronous and asynchronous online interactions as well as […]  face-to-face interactions” (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies, Washington, D.C.)

By adding 5G to the equation, we are uncovering even more potential: the capability to create directly within these environments

In the education industry, immersive environments have the potential to take interactive virtual global collaboration to the next level. By adding 5G to the equation, we are uncovering even more potential: the capability to create directly within these environments. By making use of immersive spaces, schools and classrooms will not only be able to hold workshops, presentations and meetings including breakout rooms – these experiences can be crafted live and directly inside the virtual environments.

Educators and students will be able to meet and communicate in global collaborative classrooms, digitally represented in the form of avatars. They will be given the tools to share and demonstrate multimedia elements such as visuals or audio, put in place educational games and simulations, build and manipulate 3D objects and assets, all while moving within immersive 360-degree, VR, AR and MR environments, whether it be desktop-based or with the use of VR headsets.

A 5G infrastructure can furthermore help alleviate technical limitations and allow audiences worldwide to simultaneously attend and collaborate within these particular spaces.

In this first phase of our experiment, we are testing cooperative environments in ’s laboratory under a 5G infrastructure. As a continuation, we will shine the light on the use of data and the possibility to populate and pull data within the environments in real time.

To discover ENQCOR’s 5G project and to explore the future of learning and collaboration, check out our article below:

https://quebec.encqor.ca/en/ova-and-ellicom-to-participate-in-encqor-5g-project/

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The disruption of the education industry: tech giant diplomas and how to prepare your learners for a new economy

Google and Apple are entering the learning space but what does this mean for the education industry and students? Education and traditional academia have been some of the few industries that has never been disrupted, and their re-invention is more than due.

At ellicom/LCILX, we have been re-thinking the future of learning by questioning the status quo. In 2018 during ellicom/LCILX’s annual Reboot conference, we highlighted Canadian and American trends in educational development and innovation strategies with a keynote from Tony Bates. One of the key points discussed by Tony Bates were the major disruptions academia would face if Apple or Google decided to enter the higher education space.

Our post-pandemic economy and new normal have accelerated the need for skilling & reskilling as well as curricula with shorter degrees.

Traditional jobs are disappearing as we go digital and companies and organizations are undergoing rapid digital transformations.

At ellicom/LCILX we are focusing on preparing students and learners for this new economy and its unique challenges. Our virtual campus is offering accredited diplomas, degrees and certificates, tutor-led courses, and career development courses geared towards acquiring new skills and reskilling. Our custom program development studio is designing digital transformation solutions tailored to various industries, as well as program development, off-the-shelf courses, performance support and evaluation.

The truth is – Google’s and Apple’s initiative holds an important lesson for the education sector: we need to keep innovating strategically and create solutions tailored to the modern learner’s needs.

Watch our ReBoot keynote below for more insights on the topic:

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ellicom/LCILX wins Gold and Bronze 2020 Brandon Hall Group Excellence Awards!

Congratulations to the ellicom/LCI LX team for bringing home not one but two Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence Awards this year!

We could not be prouder to announce that we have won Gold for our BDC: Financial Fundamentals training and Bronze for our Canada Post Corporation: Delivery Status New Hire Training Program!

Having been evaluated by an international panel of independent industry experts, Brandon Hall Group senior analysts and their executive leadership team, we are honoured to be recognized for our engaging and immersive training solutions and to receive overwhelmingly positive feedback from our valued customers. Evaluations were based upon the following criteria: fit the need, design of the program, functionality, innovation and overall measurable benefits.

In our award-winning training solutions, we successfully applied gamification and multimodal microlearning approaches:

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Gamified and scenario-based learning solution

Gamification in e-learning takes elements of game design and applies them strategically to training courses to engage and motivate the learner. For BDC’s Financial Fundamentals course (we are counting over 2,500 registered learners to date), we decided to combine cutting-edge game mechanics with a scenario-based approach to create a learning solution that is effective but playful at the same time. Some key elements include:

  • Immersing the learner in a fictional environment that acts as an ecosystem and gateway to different gamified activities, such as interactive modules and practical exercises
  • Using fun, recognizable elements, such as a battery that must be recharged by completing different activities within the modules to continue the training
  • Placing the learners at the centre of the experience by making them an integral part of the storytelling
  • Making use of game mechanics, such as badges and missions, to illustrate the learner’s level of success

 

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Flexible multimodal microlearning

Microlearning is dynamic, allowing the learner to jump between modules and personalize the entire learning experience by independently and freely shaping their learning path. The setting can be described as “on the go”—the learner is exposed to various types of media that can be used in different ways, including independently from the learner’s current location. Flexibility and mobility are integral elements of microlearning courses, and can be found in the user path, the use of various media and the option to follow the course from different platforms (such as mobile devices and fixed computer stations).

With Canada Post Corporation’s Delivery Status New Hire Training Program, we created a dynamic and diversified user experience, using microlearning to increase learners’ engagement and knowledge retention. We added value by adding interactivity to the modules, making them mobile-ready on all platforms and including a variety of media elements. Key elements include:

  • Micromodules
  • Interactive elements
  • Animations
  • Short videos
  • Infographics
  • Knowledge checks and quizzes
  • Job aids and posters
  • Storytelling

At ellicom/LCI LX, we put our heart, passion and creativity into everything we do. And, as you know, we certainly add a twist of magic to our solutions to create learning experiences at the peak of innovation that make our customers stand out!

Organizations around the world highly value Brandon Hall Group Excellence Awards—so much so that we received a record number of applications in the middle of a global pandemic. The awards provide valuable recognition and validation of best practices in all areas of HCM at a time when they have never been more important to both employers and employees.” — Rachel Cooke, Brandon Hall Group COO, and leader of the HCM Excellence Awards Program

The Excellence Awards serve the critical function of reinforcing the essential business benefit of creating great experiences for candidates and employees. All award winners must demonstrate that their HCM programs drive bottom-line business results. That’s what sets our awards program apart from all others.” — Mike Cooke, Brandon Hall Group CEO

 

https://www.brandonhall.com/excellenceawards/

 

Go team ellicom/LCI LX!

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Measuring the Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Solutions – ellicom/LCILX research study

In the wake of de-confinement in many sectors and industries comes a new set of particular challenges. A large number of offices and institutions are now reopening and many people are facing yet another set of rules, restrictions, uncertainties, on top of various “back to work” related stressors. Navigating the numerous organizational and operational changes and strict safety measures triggered by the pandemic can take a toll on employees’ health and well-being.

During the pandemic, the use of new technologies to mimic or even replace the physical experiences has skyrocketed. From virtual meetings, remote office work to online clinics, technology was and still is at the forefront of our new normal. In the education industry, the digital classroom and online learning have rapidly become the norm.

As part of our research and development initiatives, ellicom/LCILX is analyzing how can we strategically make use of new technologies such as Virtual Reality within our learning solutions to create engaging and immersive learning experiences that puts the learner in the center.

In order to measure the effects of VR solutions on humans, we have been working in close collaboration with the medical community to study and research their effectiveness. Therefore, we have put in motion an extensive research study in partnership with Northwell Health, New York’s largest healthcare provider and network, and OVA, a leader in the spatial computing, virtual, augmented, and mixed reality fields to study and measure the positive effect of immersive VR experiences on cognitive flexibility, mental capacity, motivation and well-being of health care workers exposed to stress and potential burnout.

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During the study, we measured and documented the physical and mental effects of mindful meditation on healthcare professionals’ mental well-being through a virtual reality mindful meditation tool that allows the participants to take short meditation breaks during their workday in a relaxing virtual environment.

Increased stress and anxiety in the workplace are widespread phenomena in many of today’s industries. If symptoms are ignored and untreated, the risk of developing burnout or symptoms of burnout increases. Therefore, more and more companies and organizations have been looking for ways to reduce their employees’ stress levels. Stress reduction has become increasingly and particularly important for the healthcare industry, especially considering that the current pandemic has pushed many healthcare workers to their limits. COVID-19 has put a magnifying glass on an issue that has become more crucial than ever and deserves our and the industry’s full attention: the reduction of stress and anxiety in the workplace to prevent burnout and allow employees to work in a more balanced and healthier way.

Download our research study below to access our findings:

 

Virtual reality mindful meditation as a tool for stress reduction in the healthcare environment

DOWNLOAD RESEARCH STUDY

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ellicom/LCILX hosting the Ottawa International Animation Festival on our Virtual Experience Platform

The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF), one of the world’s best known and loved animation events is moving its screenings and talks online for the 2020 event and we are incredibly excited to be hosting the event on our Virtual Experience Platform VXP! The 12-day event is running from September 23 to October 4 (http://www.animationfestival.ca/).

 

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“At first we wanted to mimic the live event as much as possible, but then the team started to think of ways we could take the things people love about the OIAF and make it more suited to an at-home experience,” says Managing Director Kelly Neall. “It’s a chance to get creative and try some new things”.

Our customized virtual experience platform will securely showcase the films for an international audience while also incorporating a social component. From artist talks, workshops, virtual meetings and exhibitions to a big virtual party, the OIAF team and ellicom/LCILX are excited to create unforgettable experiences!

Visit ellicom.com or contact us at info@ellicom.com to learn more about our customized virtual experience platforms and digital solutions.

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Celebrating the successful virtual closing event of Zú’s “Focus” program

We are celebrating the successful closing event of Zú’s “Focus” (https://zumtl.com/en/page/focus-details) program, which was hosted on our virtual experience platform (VXP), fully customized and designed in Zú’s vision!

We are incredibly proud and honored to have worked with Noor El Bawab and Guillaume Thérien from Zú to bring this closing event to life. Initiated by Guy Laliberté, Founder of Cirque du Soleil and Lune Rouge, Zú is a non-profit organization whose mission is to gather, help and promote creatives in the entertainment sector to develop world-class innovative projects.

During the 12-week focus program, major players and industry leaders have been brought together with start-ups based in Québec and around the world to transform Montreal’s cityscape and enhance its visibility as creative and future-oriented location.

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A fully customizable solution:

Our team designed a fully customized digital platform allowing us to re-create the physical experience in the virtual while perfectly reflecting the event’s unique audience and spirit. Unlike other virtual event platforms, our solutions are tailored to every event, and no two are ever alike. This makes our turnkey solution modulable and re-sequencable, guaranteeing that your event is exactly how you imagined it (and even better!)

 

Around the clock hands-on support:

We work passionately to turn every event into a success and shine the spotlight on participants, exhibitors, and organizers. We want them to be able to focus on the important things while our team takes care of all the logistics and provides full service and support behind the scenes from start to finish.

It has been incredibly fun to accompany and support the talented teams of the final co-hort of selected start-ups every step of the way. e→d films, Shaftesbury, Gallea, Gridspace and Madefire – you all looked like superstars!

 

Creating a unique ecosystem:

Turning visions into (virtual) reality while putting the human aspect in the center is at the core of what we do. It has been a great experience to, not only capture Zú’s dynamic and electric atmosphere of innovation within our platform, but to also design this mobile ecosystem to create meaningful connections and ideas without limits.

Kudos to everyone involved making this innovative program and closing event a success!

 

Get in touch with us to learn how we can bring your unique vision to virtual life with our customizable platform:

info@ellicom.com

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ellicom selected for the “Genesis ideation program – Facing the crisis”!

We at ellicom put the human experience in the center of digital transformation and immersive solutions. We are proud to have been selected amongst more than 80 candidates for the “Genesis – Affronter la crise” program presented by . Our dynamic Vx platform creates immersive experiences that take participants on a virtual exploratory and “humanized” journey. The program will not only combine artistic creations and technological solutions, but is also a great testimony of the diversity of Québec’s entertainment industry and its creative innovations. We are excited to be part of this journey!

Click here to read the full press release.

To learn more about our immersive solutions and our Vx platform, contact us for a demo at
info@ellicom.com

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A care package for our healthcare heroes

This week, ellicom is happy to send a care package packed with Google cardboard headsets (and chocolates…) to our partners at Northwell Health. The headsets will allow our healthcare heroes at Northwell Health take mindful breaks during the day by following virtual reality guided meditation videos. In combination with OVA’s fantastic 3D landscapes, this virtual experience will help reduce symptoms of stress and create moments of calm to mentally recharge throughout the day.

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The breakthrough of e-learning in times of pandemic

 

  • Virtual solutions are replacing their physical equivalents in a large number of industries.
  • The education industry is adapting by implementing e-learning programs.
  • From virtual classrooms to virtual reality training, e-learning best practices can help create effective and engaging solutions.

The importance of virtual solutions to replace their physical equivalents has become rapidly and increasingly obvious since the COVID-19 outbreak—whether it be online meetings and conferences, online shopping, or ordering take-out food on restaurant websites (the list goes on and on).

Many companies and organizations have been forced to rethink the way they operate in order to survive in the current economic circumstances. But there are also industries whose products are already adapted to our new normal. Among them is the e-learning industry. Virtual learning and training are not only used by schools, colleges and universities, but also by companies and organizations that wish to train their employees in order to foster their personal and professional development within their enterprises.

UNESCO reports that a staggering 1.38 billion learners have been impacted by national school closures worldwide. Needless to say, it is time to rethink the best practices of global education and training. Not surprisingly, this trend can already be seen in the financial market: according to Business Insider, “The investments made to learning technology companies in 2019 were the highest in the history of the learning technology industry by an extraordinary margin and blasted past the records set between 2015 and 2017 and far outpaced the historic high in 2018.” (https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/2019-global-edtech-investments-reach-a-staggering-18-66-billion-1028800669)

In all of this, the role of e-learning companies and professionals is to ensure that the new virtual training and education solutions are effective and pedagogically sound. Here are a few of our best practices for delivering effective e-learning programs:

  • Engage the learner: use interactive elements (for example in the form of quizzes), apply a storytelling approach and include gamification elements to take your training experience from passive to active.
  • Apply e-learning assets creatively: use a mix of on-screen text and multimedia elements such as videos, animations, narration and podcasts.
  • Optimize solutions for the mobile market: use authoring tools such as Articulate RISE to create courses that can be consulted on the go on any mobile device, including tablets and smartphones.
  • Respect accessibility standards: from a design perspective, ensure that your solution is inclusive, meaning it should follow accessibility guidelines (such as AODA) for learners with disabilities. On a functional level, make sure your e-course is optimized to be accessed in remote locations with limited bandwidth or internet.

When it comes to e-learning as an addition or alternative to traditional classroom learning, the numbers speak for themselves: “For those who do have access to the right technology, there is evidence that learning online can be more effective in a number of ways. Some research shows that on average, students retain 25–60% more material when learning online compared to only 8–10% in a classroom. (…) e-learning requires 40–60% less time to learn than in a traditional classroom setting because students can learn at their own pace, going back and re-reading, skipping, or accelerating through concepts as they choose.” (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/coronavirus-education-global-covid19-online-digital-learning/)

As with every global industry development, it is important to understand the trends and what is in the pipeline. One of the biggest keywords of modern education is “immersive solutions”. The significant developments to follow in e-learning include immersive solutions that put the learners directly in the centre of the experience and allow them to virtually immerse themselves into the learning environment. “In the last four years, investors have aggressively shifted their interest away from legacy products like Self-paced eLearning to next-generation companies developing Cognitive Learning, AI-based Learning, Mixed Reality Learning (AR-based Learning and VR-based Learning), Mobile Learning, Location-based Learning (Location Intelligence), Game-based Learning, and even Educational Bots (both physical and virtual).”(https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/2019-global-edtech-investments-reach-a-staggering-18-66-billion-1028800669)

Whether your audience responds best to a virtual classroom set-up, a course based on a storytelling approach or a virtual reality e-learning environment, the key to creating great e-learning programs is to turn the act of learning into a dynamic and engaging experience.

For ideas and samples of engaging e-learning solutions, visit ellicom at www.ellicom.com or request access to our portfolio by emailing info@ellicom.com