CloudQast caravan enhances and encourages its creative Bohemian image

The leadership communications specialist CloudQast has taken delivery of a 1964 ‘classic’ Airstream Globe Trotter caravan.


The CloudQast Airstream Globe Trotter caravan.


This 16-feet long example of touring history will become CloudQast’s ‘creative headquarters’ in St Albans – the venue for the creative scriptwriting for CloudQast’s many video-based learning and development (L&D) materials.


CloudQast director, Damian Gaskin, explained, “Being ‘creative’ types, we decided that we needed somewhere that’s both iconic and out-of-the-ordinary in order to bring out the best in us, as we grapple with developing the linear and interactive videos that our customers need. When the Globe Trotter caravan became available, it seemed the obvious choice!”


Weighing in at 2,910 pounds, the Airstream Globe Trotter comprises an all-metal, all-riveted body with double rubber-sealed doors and windows which are ‘aircraft tight’, with vibration-proof fastenings.


The Airstream marque dates from the Great Depression in the USA, in the late 1920s. A law graduate, named Wally Byam, who worked for a magazine publisher, wrote an article on building a camping trailer – but, soon, people began complaining about errors in the published piece.


Keen to discover the problem, Byam began building trailers in his own back yard. It soon became his full-time occupation and he called his new company, Airstream.


Then, around 1935, Byam became associated with William Hawley Bowlus, a pioneer in aeroplane design who’d been involved with the historic aeroplane, ‘The Spirit of St. Louis’. In 1936, following Bowlus’ bankruptcy, Byam bought some of the Bowlus equipment, re-employed some of his workers and re-badged the company’s aluminium trailers as ‘Airstream’.


Of more than 400 travel trailer builders operating in the USA in 1936, Airstream was the sole survivor of the Depression.


“Like Airstream, CloudQast aims to be both iconic in its products and services,” observed Damian.


“In the most recent world recession, which began in 2008, like Airstream, we had to innovate and produce something entirely new – services that our clients didn’t even know they needed. Like Airstream, we’re a successful survivor in today’s rapidly changing business world.”


CloudQast's Damian Gaskin, entering CloudQast's new creative centre.

CloudQast business development secret: poems generate business boom

The leadership communications specialist CloudQast has hit on an unusual, highly creative and successful business strategy to bring it customers: it writes poems.


CloudQast director, Damian Gaskin, explained, “When we encountered the credit crunch, in 2008, a number of our customers reduced their budgets and that affected CloudQast’s activity and income-generation.


Damian Gaskin, of CloudQast.


“Rather than become a nuisance contacting organisations and asking them to spend money they hadn’t got, my fellow CloudQast director, Lindsey Mack, and I hit on the idea of writing poems. We then sent these to CloudQast’s customers and potential customers instead.”


CloudQast's Lindsey Mack.


According to Damian, writing the poems was fun. He said, “We felt that we were not only feeding our creativity skills but also giving our clients something to smile about in tough times. Distributing the poems on a regular basis meant that CloudQast could ‘give something back’ to its clients and keep its name in front of potential clients without annoying them.


“Initially, we kept up the process for ten months, sending out one or two poems each month – and the exercise was successful in that it generated business,” said Damian.


The very first poem that CloudQast sent out attracted the attention of two organisations that had previously used CloudQast.


“Prompted by the poems, these organisations got back in touch with CloudQast,” said Damian. “The subsequent conversations resurrected relationships – and these began to move CloudQast from being an organisation that provided merely face-to-face learning experiences to one which provides video-based learning materials as well.


“So, all in all, it was a great initiative for us – and a strategy that CloudQast would recommend to any business that wants to grow but doesn’t have much money to spend!”


CloudQast’s current clients include multi-national companies such as AECOM and the chemical firm, Scott Bader, as well as charities including The Magistrates Association.

CloudQast makes all its video output iOS10 ready

Leadership communications specialist CloudQast has announced that it’s able to produce interactive video on the iPhone following the release of iOS10 this September.


CloudQast director, Damian Gaskin, explained, “Interactive video on the iPhone hasn’t been possible until iOS10 without expensive bespoke applications. The release of iOS10 changes that and our platform is ready to take full advantage.


“Figures suggest that, by December 2016, some 75 per cent of all ‘i-Device’ users will be using iOS10, so that’s 100 million users now able to see interactive video.


“Until now, they could watch interactive video on Android devices – but not on iPhones.”


According to James Lindberg, of the Boston MA-based interactive video specialists, HapYak, interactive video is engaging, memorable and produces results, in terms of user learning but – so far – the USA’s 100m mobile web users, along with others around the world, who’re on iOS can’t use it.


Speaking during a recent HapYak webinar, James Lindberg said, “Video is the most engaging way to get your message across and out into digital media. Interactivity is what everyone on the web expects. Interactive video brings this together.


“iPhone is the fastest growing way by which video is consumed. Up to now, there’s been no standards-based solution that makes mobile video work on the mobile web with interactive elements. That’s different with iOS10.


“With iOS10 comes Safari10 – which is the delivery platform for mobile web content,” James added. “Safari10 enables in-line video.”


CloudQast’s Damian explained, “In iOS9 and before, you play video in QuickTime, not in Safari. In iOS10, video will play in its original box (in-line), not full screen – unless, of course, you want it to play in full screen – and it’ll do it via Safari.


“The video plays in the mobile device’s web browser – just like it would on the desktop. So you can continue to use HTML to affect that video experience.


“This makes interactive video possible and – as we know – interactive video engages users,” Damian continued. “Moreover, iOS10 allows video producers and, for example, learning administrators to track usage of the video materials and upload this data to a learning management system (LMS).


“At CloudQast, we see this is as a major step in the evolution of technology-delivered leadership communications, along with similarly delivered learning and development (L&D) materials,” he added. “We’re delighted that CloudQast is in the vanguard of interactive video technology, helping its customers to improve the reach, engagement and effectiveness of their L&D materials around the world.”


Established in 2010, CloudQast addresses organisations’ needs for fast, authentic, precise and inspiring communication – especially in the fields of leadership as well as compliance, along with learning and development. Working with companies around the world, primarily – but not exclusively – via Cloud-based, interactive video, CloudQast provides creative, intelligent and flexible solutions for leaders to share their ‘voice, mind and vision’ and, so, engage and inspire their people.

eXact learning solutions adds a new authoring feature to its LCMS

In September’s new release of its learning content management system (LCMS), global learning company, eXact learning solutions, is expanding users’ authoring options.


In particular, it’s introducing a companion to ‘HM’, its XML-based templates library for generating e-learning content. The new feature is called ‘Document Model’ (DM).


Valerio Torda, eXact learning solutions’ Managing Director, explained, “While HM is eXact learning solutions’ Content Model for developing pure e-learning  - focusing on the standard ‘learn and test’ approach, DM will be key for those organizations that need to produce engaging material for instructor-led training (ILT)-based scenarios.


Valerio Torda, of eXact learning solutions.


“DM enables users to create technical manuals, guides, advanced textbooks and so on,” he continued.


“While HM helps to build screens reading from left to right, DM’s approach is vertical – it’s like building a classic A4 document. It includes elements such as headings, paragraphs, references and so on – but, like HM, it allows users to insert media, images, videos and so on, into the learning material.”


Content created with DM can be delivered online, via eXact learning solutions’ native HTML5 output. Alternatively, it can be delivered in Word or PDF formats via eXact learning solutions’ rendering engines.


“In addition,” said Valerio Torda, “thanks to the system’s ingestion process, users will be able to create DM content starting from a pre-existing Word document. In this instance, the system will automatically map the Word structure and content into DM.


“Naturally, this innovation has full interoperability within the eXact LCMS – and its attendant Content Models. Consequently, users who use assets from within HM – such as a piece of text or an image – will, with one click, be able to reuse these assets within DM, too.”


To help explain the new technology involved in DM to users and potential users of its LCMS, eXact learning solutions is staging a webinar on 28th September. The webinar is the fourth of the company’s popular series, called ‘eXactly on Wednesdays’.


Federico Dondero, of eXact learning solutions, said: “This webinar will focus on DM, along with its rendering engines – notably Word, and PDF.


“Later – on 26th October – a further ‘eXactly on Wednesdays’ webinar will focus on ingestion processes for both HM and DM. In the case of HM, this involves translating PPT to HM and, for DM, the process will involve translating Word to DM.”


Federico Dondero.


Those wanting to know more about DM and its rendering engines can begin by attending the webinar, being held on Wednesday 28th September at 17.00 to 17.45 CET (16.00 – 16.45 BST, 11.00 – 11.45 EDT and 08.00 – 08.45 PDT). To register for this event, visit:

The DevLearn international exhibition receives further sponsorship from eXact learning solutions

Global learning company, eXact learning solutions, has become a Silver Sponsor for DevLearn 2016. This is the second consecutive year that the digital learning content management business solution provider has sponsored the event.


This year, DevLearn, which comprises the e-learning industry’s largest international exhibition, offers more than 250 learning activities spread across seven days that are designed to get delegates focused, engaged, and learning. The event takes place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV, from November 16 to 18, with pre-conference workshops taking place on November 14 and 15.


Valerio Torda, eXact learning solutions’ Managing Director, said, “Among the attractions at this year’s DevLearn is a seminar on ‘Unlocking the Value of your Organization’s Content via Digital & Learning Transformation’. Scheduled for Thursday, November 17 from 12.15 pm on the Strategic Solutions Stage, the seminar is being led by eXact learning solutions’ Senior Consultant, Bryan Eldridge.”


Valerio Torda, of eXact learning solutions.


Based in Athens, GA, Bryan works with clients to gather requirements, deliver consulting services, and build stronger learning organizations. He focuses on helping large organizations manage every phase of their learning content life-cycle – content development, management, and delivery along with related content federation and content localization strategies.


Bryan Eldridge.


Commenting on his seminar at DevLearn, Bryan said, “In the era of Big Data, organizations are struggling to gain and retain control over their vast – and rapidly growing – libraries of digital content.


“It seems that everyone’s talking about ‘Digital Transformation’ but no one is really addressing the ‘how’ in terms of what processes and tools they should be using. Furthermore, I believe that organizations are missing out on a huge opportunity if they don’t align their L&D vision with their Digital Transformation initiatives.


“Learning Transformation in this context is much more about learning enablement than traditional learning offerings,” Bryan continued. “Learning content can be assigned to collections of related digital content – for example IPR and technical publications – to create a direct connection between knowledge and organizational digital content in a manner that organizations simply haven’t been able to even consider in the past.”


In addition, eXact learning solutions will be demonstrating its leading edge learning content management system (LCMS) at DevLearn – in booth number 429.


As Europe’s leader in the LCMS sector, the eXact learning LCMS – an LCMS that allows for rapid content development through collaboration between subject matter experts (SMEs) and courseware designers, regardless of their location or specialization – has a number of high profile customers. In Britain alone these include Kaplan Publishing, Intuition, Tribal Group, Health Education England and Axelos, a joint venture, set up by the UK Government and Capita.

The Springboard programme’s growing success for women in the Oman

Some 400 women in Oman have now completed the Springboard women’s development programme.


Developed by the UK-based Springboard Consultancy, the Springboard women’s development programme enables women to identify the clear, practical and realistic steps that they want to take to make a better world for themselves at work and home, while building both the practical skills and the confidence to take these steps.


Ayesha Salim Al Shoily, a licensed Springboard trainer with Ooredoo, based in Oman, recently completed delivering a Springboard programme to 150 women – all of whom are professionals working in the Oman Government sector. The programme was supported, as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments and the memorandum of understanding signed between Ooredoo and several Government sectors, by Ooredoo, the Qatar-based digital telecoms company.


Having been trained and licensed as a Springboard trainer some six years ago, Ayesha has now led Springboard programmes for over 400 women in Oman. Some 200 of these were trained only last year so, says Ayesha, this shows that the programme is gaining momentum within the region.


Ayesha Salim Al Shoily.


Ayesha added, “As part of their development, women on the Springboard programme are encouraged to devise and deliver a project. On the recently completed programme, the women delivered over 30 projects – most of which are charitable in nature.


“These projects were showcased at a conference and exhibition that marked these women’s graduation.”


As an indication of the Springboard programme’s growth in status and value in Oman, the Under-Secretary at the Civil Service Ministry hosted the first such graduation ceremony. The Minister of the Civil Service hosted the graduation ceremony in 2015 – and this year’s graduation was hosted by the Minister of the Environment and Climate Affairs, HE Mohammed bin Salim Al Toobi.


“Many of the women choose to continue delivering their charity projects after they’ve graduated from the Springboard programme,” said Ayesha. “In response – and to encourage this trend – the Ministry of Civil Service has now decided to officially support those groups who continue working on their projects.”


“Ooredoo believes that the Sultanate’s ambitious female population is one of its strongest assets,” said Kumail Al Moosawi, Ooredoo Chief People and Corporate Affairs Officer. “They have important roles to play in business, industry, government, and academia; their achievements helping power Oman’s continued success and prosperity.


“We welcome progressive programmes like Springboard that help them fulfil their ambitions and make their aspirations a reality as we work together for a better tomorrow.”


This year’s graduation – showing those on the Springboard programme. Ayesha Salim Al Shoily is seated in the centre of the front row.

Sprint confidence and encouragement boost for female graduates

The Springboard Consultancy’s ‘Sprint’ programme answers recent concerns about female graduates being able to get jobs.


So says Karen Daly-Gherabi, Managing Director of The Springboard Consultancy (SBC), a UK-based international training company specialising in women’s development issues.


SBC's Karen Daly-Gherabi.


Recent research from The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) reveals that female graduates in the UK are less likely to apply for – but are more likely to land – a place on a graduate training scheme than their male peers. The AGR’s recently published Diversity and Inclusion Survey found that, although only 47 percent of female graduates apply to graduate schemes, female graduates represent some 49 percent of graduate scheme hires.


While over half of all industry sectors reported increases in their gender diversity year-on-year, employers reported that student perceptions of their industry was one of the biggest challenges in attracting a more diverse workforce.


According to AGR’s CEO, Stephen Isherwood, “Many female students don’t apply for the top programmes when they should. There are opportunities out there and these candidates are more likely to succeed – so we need to address why they’re not applying.


“Women are hugely successful in the selection process. We just need them to realise it,” he said. “We need to boost confidence and encourage more female graduates to reach their potential.”


Karen Daly-Gherabi, of SBC, said, “Boosting confidence and enabling female undergraduates and graduates to reach their potential are just two of the key aspects of the Sprint programme. Designed – in 2013 – to tackle study, career and personal development issues for undergraduate women, Sprint has been built on work carried out with the University of Cambridge and further developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford.”


So far, over 70% of Sprint participants say they’re now more assertive – and are better at setting realistic goals and action points, managing their time and working more productively.


Professor Peter Lambert, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Learning and Teaching at the University of Bath, said that, having experienced the Sprint programme, “Students will have gained self-confidence and self-belief – above all, belief in their skills, their abilities and their future career.”


Currently, some 22 UK universities run Sprint programmes for their female students – and corporate sponsors of these programmes include RBS; Enterprise rent a car; M & G; Ernst and Young; Shell; BP; AXA Insurance; Barclays; Arup; Morgan Stanley; Microsoft; IBM; Blackstone; Oliver Wyman; TD Security; Deloittes; Capita; Alphasights; Improbable; Mott Macdonald; Shoosmiths, and Saint-Gobain.


Georgina Pullen, Senior Training Consultant at SBC, said, “The Sprint programme grew from research showing the large pay gap between men and women after graduating from Oxford University, even though they hold the same class degrees in the same subjects. A similar survey, by the Higher Education Careers Unit, measuring the earnings of 17,000 recent graduates, discovered that 70% of women graduates were earning less than £24,000, compared with 55% of men – even in subject areas where women’s participation was greater than men’s, such as law.”


Ten key issues covered in the Sprint programme are:

  1. Participants’ personal power and influence
  2. Identifying participants’ values and attitudes
  3. Dealing with change and stress
  4. Participants’ vision and direction
  5. How politics works inside organisations
  6. Managing time effectively
  7. Using assertiveness positively
  8. Networking and building contacts
  9. Planning for the future and setting ambitious goals
  10. How to ‘put yourself across’ positively and be memorable, especially in job applications and interviews


eXact learning solutions signs a groundbreaking escrow agreement with NCC Group

Global learning company, eXact learning solutions, has signed an escrow agreement with NCC Group, a FTSE 250 listed global expert in cyber security and risk mitigation.


Valerio Torda, eXact learning solutions’ Managing Director, explained, “We value our customers and work hard to deliver software solutions which meet their key business requirements – as well as build strong relationships based on trust.


Valerio Torda, of eXact learning solutions.


“We recognize our responsibility to help these customers ensure their business continuity through the long term performance and availability of our software,” he added. “That’s why we’re taking the groundbreaking step of working in partnership with the global information assurance provider, NCC Group, to offer our customers business continuity protection through this escrow agreement.


“Under the terms of the agreement, we’ve deposited the eXact learning Suite source code – including that for our flagship product the eXact learning content management system (LCMS) – within NCC Group’s secure facilities. This means that, from now on, we can offer this extra level of security to our customers – so that, in the extremely unlikely case of something happening to our software or company, our customers will always be able to utilize our software.”


Currently protecting over 9,000 business critical software applications under comprehensive escrow agreements, on the behalf of licensees worldwide, NCC Group is a FTSE 250 listed global expert in cyber security and risk mitigation, working with businesses to protect their brand, value and reputation against the ever-evolving threat landscape. Headquartered in Manchester, UK, with more than 30 offices across the world, NCC Group employs more than 1,800 people and is a trusted advisor to 15,000 clients worldwide. Among other things, it offers a range of different escrow agreements.


Under the terms of eXact learning solutions’ escrow agreement, the company supplies NCC Group with a copy of the source code for their customers’ applications. NCC Group holds this, securely, on the customer’s behalf. This source code is regularly updated to ensure that the source code held by NCC Group is always up-to-date and reflects the current version of the customer’s application.


“In the extremely unlikely event that eXact learning solutions becomes unable to meet its contractual obligations, NCC Group will release the source code to the customer, allowing that customer to maintain and correct its software without disruption to its operations,” Mr Torda stated.


The word ‘escrow’ derives from the Old French word ‘escroue’, meaning a scrap of paper or a scroll of parchment. This indicated the deed that a third party held until a transaction was completed. An escrow is:

  • A contractual arrangement in which a third party receives and disburses money, documents or software for the primary transacting parties, with the disbursement dependent on conditions agreed to by the transacting parties, or
  • An account established by a broker for holding funds on behalf of the broker’s principal or some other person until the consummation or termination of a transaction, or
  • A trust account held in the borrower’s name to pay obligations such as property taxes and insurance premiums.

Source code escrow is the deposit of the source code of software with a third party escrow agent. Escrow is typically requested by a party licensing software (the licensee), to ensure maintenance of the software.

Springboard helps 1,000 women employees of Rolls-Royce plc

Some 1,000 women employed by Rolls-Royce plc, have completed the Springboard Women’s Development programme.


Rolls-Royce plc, a global company providing highly-efficient integrated power and propulsion solutions and one of the world’s most famous brands, began implementing the Springboard programmes in 1997.


In the late 1990s, there was no mechanism in Rolls-Royce for single gender learning and development programmes for women but a group of female managers – together with some male advocates – had a vision to change things. Among this group was Eleanor Radbourne, who’s currently the company’s Head of Global Talent Management & Diversity and Inclusion.


“The Springboard programme is a good fit for Rolls-Royce,” said Eleanor. “It was originally pitched at non-management women whose careers had stalled and women who wanted development opportunities. The ability to run the programmes with up to 30 women means that large numbers of women have access to good quality development in a highly cost-effective way.


“The Springboard networking approach, in a confidential uplifting environment, means that Rolls-Royce’s women employees benefit from the experiences of other women and, in particular, the guest speakers,” she added.


Developed by The Springboard Consultancy, a UK-based international training company specialising in addressing women’s development issues, the Springboard Women’s Development programme enables women to identify the clear, practical and realistic steps that they want to take to make a better world for themselves at work and home, while building the practical skills and confidence to take these steps. The programme is delivered – currently in 45 countries – over a three month period, through an extensive network of licensed local trainers and, so far, has been used by over 240,000 women around the world.


“Women from any of the company’s sites can attend and there are no restrictions or qualifying criteria other than self-nomination – and support from line management,” said Jan Morris, of Ruby Tuesday Training, an experienced freelance – and licensed Springboard – trainer who has delivered over 40 Springboard programmes for Rolls-Royce plc since 1997. “Rolls-Royce works around the world, so we’ve had women attend Springboard programmes from countries including France, Portugal and Canada.


“There’s now a great deal of diversity represented among Springboard participants – in terms of jobs performed, areas of the company represented, staff grades, nationalities and ethnicity,” continued Jan. “Today’s ‘Springboarders’ accept accountability, take control of their career progression and are much more empowered. They believe that they can influence change.”


To find out more about Rolls-Royce and its ‘Springboard experience’, visit the Springboard Consultancy website:

Delegates on a recent Springboard programme, held at Rolls-Royce in Bristol.

eXact learning solutions reveals new content model skins

The global learning company, eXact learning solutions, has recently updated the ‘HM’ content model associated with its learning content management system (LCMS).


Now in its third version, the content model – known as ‘HM’ – is intended to help users create engaging learning materials which are delivered online.


Fabrizio Giorgini, eXact learning solutions’ R&D Manager, said, “HM3.0 lets users choose and personalize each learning package’s ‘skin’. Indeed, we’ve introduced two new skins in addition to the standard – ‘classic’ – skin.


“There’s a business skin, for use with content that targets a corporate audience,” he added. “It includes all the tools present in eXact’s classic skin, including navigation, resources, glossary, help section and print.


“There’s also a ‘kids’ skin, which is appropriate for those – notably in the education sector – who create content for pupils and younger students. The skin incorporates commands in a control panel and can be used by learners ranging from toddlers to adults, scaling according to awareness and skills.”


Fabrizio Giorgini, of eXact learning solutions.


In addition, HM3.0’s grid and panel allow users – with one click of a mouse – to modify the colours and any logo displayed on screen. HM operates seamlessly with the other products in eXact learning solutions’ suite – notably the eXact learning Packager authoring tool and its online counterpart, Online Editor.


To help explain this technology – along with other aspects of authoring on the eXact learning solutions’ platform – to users and potential users, the Italy-based eXact learning solutions is staging a webinar on 27th July. The webinar is another in the company’s summer series, called ‘eXactly on Wednesdays’.


Federico Dondero, of eXact learning solutions, said: “While the focus of the session is on HM 3.0, the webinar – eXactly on Wednesdays: HM 3.0 – will also explain some of the contemporary features of eXact learning solutions’ authoring tools and LCMS.”


Federico Dondero, of eXact learning solutions.


Those wanting to know more about HM3.0 can attend the webinar, being held on Wednesday 27th July at 17.00 to 17.45 CET (16.00 – 16.45 BST, 11.00 – 11.45 EDT and 08.00 – 08.45 PDT). To register for this event, visit: