Friday, 2 December 2011

Yoodoo anything for me - Consider yourself a friend

As the dimming dusk of the winter night  fell on Tuesday 29th November 2011,I found myself walking in a Dickensian part of London. The address given to me by Yoodoo  was a narrow street one side of which was a brick wall with a door. Pressing the doorbell entry was permitted and so I descended the metal staircase in to the converted school that is 01 Zero-OneStudios in London's Soho district .

I felt a bit like the young Oliver Twist entering  Fagin's lair!
In the main room of the presentation on one of the screens was Intriguing slide as the opener to the  event.

"Delivering one to one mentored-like experiences  to large audiences-Knowledge without limits."

Yoodoo will convert organised training content  into flexible personal  learning journeys at a fraction of the cost conventional filmed approaches. Yoodooo analytics then  allows tuning and optimisation of the learning material through quick and easy re purposing so that the right knowledge gets to the right head at the right time.
Preparing to record an interview at the 01 zero-One studios for the Yoodoo event.

Training ,or more accurately learning, is a voluntary activity. If the learner does not want to learn - they won't. Yoodoo's approach makes a further distinction.
Tony Heywood explained that there are two main adult learning audiences out in the workplace the mandated and the elective.

The distinction matters because the extent of learner motivation is likely to be different.
Mandated audiences – are those with no choice they need their qualification.  Examples might be compliance learning, Academia , Accounting Qualifications , the law etc.

The mandated will actively seek out courses- they will figure out how to do what they need to do.

Elective audiences on the other hand are different. These folk have a choice  and are not necessarily motivated or engaged in the same way. One to One works particularly well with this learner type because you can give them a unique and tailored experience.

View of the studio from the control room at 01 zero-One studios, Soho, London

Whether consciously or subconsciously the trainer subtle makes each encounter different by adapting and personalising material and delivery to suit the elective learner.

A training/learning cycle showing this adaption typically goes through these stages
                                          a. Engage

f. Encourage                                b.   Assess 

 e.  Adapt                                     c.  Inform 

                                d.  Infer


A trainer ,mentor or coach subtly changes the interaction all the time. Like riding a bicycle in a straight line we constantly do little barely perceptible changes to keep on a steady course.

The challenge for training delivery though, is how to deliver performance improvements when 121 works so well yet repeat it again and again but consistently keeping  up the quality.

TV Vision Mixer Ivan Wood (foreground) and  Sound specialist Chris Thorpe of 01 Zero-One Studios

Tony Heywood CEO and founder of yoodoo biz  outlined some cases which Yoodoo have been working on . The first was a large scale public sector programme for  the "work programme"  in conjunction with  a4e. Yoodoo had measured the results of this 'outcome based journey'. 

This was followed by  Investor Dan talking us through how Recruitment Training Company 'Juice' had used the Yoodoo method.

To exploit the Yoodoo platform to best effect they advise that
Organising your content is paramount

the material must be

  • Outcome based
  • Personalised
  • Relevant

The web offers a superfluity of training options. You can take your pick  but most elctive learners don’t know where to start. They are like the stunned child in the old fashioned candt shop- overwhelmed by the choice.
The earlier interview is played on the screen of the main room. It was also played in a re purposed version for a different levels of learner.

The Yoodoo approach employs a 3 dimensional Taxonomy in their platform.
 The axis being

  1. Topic
  2. User types
  3. Versions about the outcomes

Then the next stage is to transform the content so that different learner levels and learning journeys need different learning. Yoodoo edit and adapts specific content and experience of the elected latent interest of an individual and so offers a high level of learner motivation and engagement.

Episodes learning  video soundbites provide engagement and knowledge transfer. They learn what  they are doing and why are they doing it. These are followed by the "Do its"   the actions offering practical apps that deliver real implementation..

Within forty minutes of the original studio recording Tony was playing the session through an I-pad to demonstrating the speed of the Yoodoo process plus the different option  levels of learning using the same foundation material from the original recording.. I was so impressed I could not keep my camera still!!!

Using the Yoodoo platform each Episode  unit is supported by supplementary content- equivalent to  conventional handout, notes , aide memoir and learning reinforcement.

Learners can add such content  and cut and paste to  their personal learning scrapbook 

 Each Learning episode is served in bite sized pieces of material usually around 90 second chapters.

The episode can be supported by user generated discussion for example with a tutor / manager monitoring the learner

 H2 get Quality and Quantity ?

 Yoodoo's objective is to square the circle of Quality versus Quantity

They  strive to achieve this by a process of 
 1.  Re purposing material
 2.  Versioning the material for different levels of learner
 3.   Personalisation to each learner who gets a 'bespoke' experience.

 How is this possible?  I guess one way to look at this is by analogy.

 An accountant will use the basic templates of a Profit and Loss Account, Balance Sheet and Cash flow statement with each client's accounts.whatever the business type -the corner shop - an SME or a Blue Chip company. The template is pretty similar but the numbers which populate the templates are individual . So it is with the Yoodoo approch to learner journey composition.

As with conventional trainers  Yoodoo and their clents find they only need to bespoke around 10 % of the material whilst the core 90%  remains the same.
90%  of the material Yooddoo has captured is unchanged  the 10%  adaptation and personalisation focuses on the learner's name , the level of language   etc. This gives the 'feeling of persoanlisation' and not the inflexible robotic feel of traditional e-learning programmes

The secret is the building of the learner's  journey  through flexible pathways to the outcome. Like any learning pilgrimage where some learners need the short cuts other need the full journey.

the library of episodes that make up the learning outcome focused learning journey using Yoodoo

So the personalisation offers dynamic  paced  content matched to the learner.

Yoodoo take this  capability  so that versions can be made available in different languages etc adapting to local circumstances.

This content modification and  Instancing  allows for multiple instances  such as brand identity , words, products. Clients can add additional content of their own.

Finally the Yoodoo offering include Analytics and reporting so that return on investment on the set outcomes are monitored and measured. This helps clients  to continually refine the programme for their learners.

User progress  can measured  for dept. level, hierarchical views like conventional on-line monitoring helping the manager , trainer and learner to develop.

 What of the Future?

Tony considers that further  work on Intelligent Inferencing have the most exciting potential in this area.

This platform clearly engenders stickiness and loyalty from the learners from the evidence Tony gave his audience.

"A journey of a thousand leagues begins with but one step."

(Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu   Chinese philosopher (604 BC - 531 BC )  

Yoodoo with be accompanying every step of the way of their learner's journey as the  travelling companion  much like a Michelin Green Guide for a tourist .

As for my feeling like Oliver Twist I wanted to learner  "MORE !"

 I felt like one of the Yoodoo family and in my head as I left Fagin's den to venture outside back home the song from "Oliver" came into my head

...Consider yourself at home
Consider yourself one of the family
We've taken to you so strong
It's clear we're going to get along
Consider yourself well in
Consider yourself part of the furniture
There isn't a lot to spare
Who cares?..What ever we've got we share!

If it should chance to be
We should see
Some harder days
Empty larder days
Why grouse?
Always a-chance we'll meet
To foot the bill
Then the drinks are on the house!
Consider yourself our mate
We don't want to have no fuss,
For after some consideration, we can state
Consider yourself
One of us...

(lyrics from Oliver Twist - Musical byLionel Bart)


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  2. glad to hear yodoo team developing their concept. looks like some very exciting initiatives.

  3. Thanks for summarising for those of us who couldn't get to the party. I was also an interviewee in the early days and I'm delighted that this is working so well for Yoodoo.
    Now I just need to work out an application for the platform here in New Zealand!

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