Getting To Know Roundtable: Ali Goergen Employee Spotlight

This week, we sat down with Roundtable’s Ali Goergen to talk about her role, programming, and industry trends she finds interesting.


What does your title mean? What do you do for Roundtable?

I am a Software Developer, which means I maintain and add features to our software products and internal tooling. I’m responsible for updates and enhancements to Mercury XRS. Look forward to new features this year!


How did you get into programming?

I started teaching myself to program about five years ago and never stopped learning. My interest naturally grew into a passion, and then a career. The first role I had in tech was as a teaching assistant at a coding bootcamp.


What is a trend in learning technology that’s exciting to you? 

I’m excited about utilizing virtual reality within the learning environment. It’s fascinating to see our clients help develop their employees’ skills through immersive, intuitive experiences from anywhere in the world! 


Finish the sentence. Learning is essential to an organization because…

Learning is essential to an organization because growth is essential to an organization. Investing in learning is investing in your organization’s growth and success. 


What is something you have done in this role this year that you are proud of?

I’m proud of the XR login that my team collaborated on. This feature will improve the login experience, and I’m looking forward to rolling it out and getting user feedback.


What are some interesting facts about you?

  • I’m a fluent Spanish speaker
  • I’ve backpacked in Patagonia
  • I volunteer as a tutor for a literacy program


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What Is A Learning Management System (LMS)? Less Than 100 Words

Ready to learn more about learning management systems? Let’s dive into the capabilities of a typical learning management system. We will also review popular learning management systems on the market.


Learning Management System Capabilities

The landscape of LMS providers is vast; there are many LMSs to choose from to fit your organization’s needs. Depending on your organization’s needs, you can adopt a simple LMS for employees to access materials in one location or invest in a complex system with authoring tools, learning paths, and integrations.

Read More: 8 LMS Features That Improve ROI And Reduce Risks 

Here are just a few popular features for current LMS platforms:

    • Offline learning trackers – giving learners the ability to work through content when they are not connected to the internet
    • Automated alerts and notifications – sending alerts and notifications to the user’s desktop or email to keep them updated and on track
    • Remote or mobile-workforce ready – giving learners the ability to work through content on their phone or tablet
    • Authoring capabilities – allowing training professionals to design and create learning content within the LMS
    • Branding – customize the look and feel of the LMS to match your organization’s brand colors and logos
    • Surveys – integrated surveys to collect feedback throughout the training programs
    • Social learning – the ability to share accomplishments, badges, or certificates with peers through the LMS or social media (LinkedIn)
    • Gamification – the ability to integrate games, quizzes, badges, or leaderboards
    • Customized reporting – giving admins the ability to organize their reporting dashboards and print-outs

Read More: Top 29 Learning Management System Features 


Popular Learning Management Systems

Adobe Captivate Prime

Location: San Jose, California

Year Founded: 1982


  • Adobe Connect
  • API
  • Okta
  • Outlook Calendar
  • Salesforce CRM
  • Slack
  • Zoom

Supported Specifications:

  • AICC
  • SCORM 1.1
  • SCORM 1.2
  • SCORM 2004
  • SCORM 2004 3rd Edition
  • SCORM 2004 4th Edition



Location: San Francisco, California

Year Founded: 2012


  • API
  • BambooHR
  • BigBlueButton
  • G Suite
  • Google Calendar
  • GoToMeeting
  • GoToTraining
  • GoToWebinar
  • Mailchimp
  • Okta
  • OneLogin
  • Outlook Calendar
  • Paypal
  • Salesforce CRM
  • Shopify
  • Slack
  • Stripe
  • WebEx
  • WooCommerce
  • WordPress
  • Zapier
  • Zendesk
  • Zoom
  • Zopim

Supported Specifications:

  • SCORM 1.2
  • Section 508
  • xAPI/Tin Can API



Location: Toronto, Ontario

Year Founded: 2005


  • Adobe Connect
  • API
  • BambooHR
  • G Suite
  • Gmail
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Calendar
  • GoToMeeting
  • GoToTraining
  • GoToWebinar
  • Okta
  • Paypal
  • Salesforce 
  • CRM
  • Shopify
  • Slack
  • Stripe
  • WebEx
  • WooCommerce
  • WordPress
  • Zapier
  • Zendesk
  • Zoom

Supported Specifications:

  • AICC
  • SCORM 1.2
  • SCORM 2004
  • xAPI/Tin Can API



Location: New York, New York

Year Founded: 2013


  • ADP
  • GoToMeeting
  • Office 365
  • Oracle Sales Cloud CRM
  • Salesforce CRM

Supported Specifications:

  • SCORM 1.1
  • SCORM 1.2
  • SCORM 2004
  • SCORM 2004 3rd Edition
  • SCORM 2004 4th Edition


SAP Litmos

Location: Dublin, California

Year Founded: 2007


  • Drupal
  • Google Calendar
  • GoToMeeting
  • Mailchimp
  • Okta
  • OneLogin
  • Salesforce CRM
  • Shopify
  • WebEx
  • WordPress
  • Zendesk
  • Zoom

Supported Specifications:

  • AICC
  • SCORM 1.2
  • SCORM 2004
  • SCORM 2004 3rd Edition
  • SCORM 2004 4th Edition
  • Section 508
  • xAPI/Tin Can API


iSpring Learn

Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Year Founded: 2001


  • API
  • Outlook Calendar
  • Zoom

Supported Specifications:

  • SCORM 1.2
  • SCORM 2004
  • SCORM 2004 3rd Edition
  • SCORM 2004 4th Edition


Absorb LMS

Location: Calgary, CA

Year Founded: 2002


  • ADP
  • API
  • BambooHR
  • Google Analytics
  • Namely
  • Okta
  • OneLogin
  • Salesforce CRM
  • Zoom

Supported Specifications:

  • AICC
  • SCORM 1.1
  • SCORM 1.2
  • SCORM 2004
  • SCORM 2004 3rd Edition
  • SCORM 2004 4th Edition
  • xAPI/Tin Can API

7 Amazing Newsletters For Learning Pros In 2022

Are you looking to fuel your professional growth in 2022? Subscribing to amazing newsletters may be precisely what you need! 

Our team at Roundtable Learning has assembled a list of the top 7 newsletters for learning professionals to subscribe to in 2022. This list covers topics from learning, leadership, and business.

This article will explore the top 7 newsletters that Roundtable Learning recommends for learning professionals in 2022.


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eLearning Industry

eLearning Industry is a popular publishing platform for learning professionals. With articles, eBooks, and webinars spanning all learning topics you can imagine, including technology, instructional design concepts, trends, news, best practices, and more. These resources are curated through contributions and expert writers, such as Christopher Pappas.

You can sign up for daily or weekly newsletters here:


Pursuing Performance By Guy Wallace

Guy Wallace is a Performance Analyst and Instructional Architect with a long career of award-winning work, including the Honorary Life Member Award from ISPI – the International Society for Performance Improvement.

His blog is updated daily with learning, development, and leadership topics through interviews, videos, posts, and book recommendations. There is always something new to learn! You can visit his website and subscribe to his blog at


Training Industry 

Training Industry is a website, and print publication is known for being a trusted source of information on the business of learning. Their website has webinars, articles, continued education events, and more for learning professionals. 

Training Industry’s weekly newsletters can be catered to topics that interest you and include free events, news, reports, and resources –


Harvard Business Review

Our instructional designers recommend that learning professionals pay attention to fundamental business trends. There is often a strong tie between what goes on in the business world and what instructional designers are asked to develop for their organizations. 

That’s why we recommend Harvard Business Review as an excellent resource that can be delivered right to your inbox. Owned by Harvard University, the publication focuses on information and insights needed to excel in business. While users can access a few articles a month for free, you will need a subscription to access more content.

Harvard Business Review has 20 different newsletters that you can subscribe to based on your interests:


Brené Brown

Brené Brown is a renowned expert in leadership and development. She is known for her work as a professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host (and she is popular with the Roundtable Learning Team).

Her website has tons of information about leadership, creativity, courage, and more in the form of articles, videos, art, and podcasts. You can subscribe to her newsletter to stay up to date on her latest conversations and insights:


Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek is the author of Start With Why and The Infinite Game and is an inspirational speaker. His goal is to “Inspire people to do the things that inspire them so that, together, each of us can change our world for the better.”

Simon Sinek’s website has live and on-demand classes, books, podcasts, and a Facebook Community. You can subscribe to his daily newsletter here –


The Monthly Roundup By Roundtable Learning

We couldn’t have a list of newsletters without bringing up our own Monthly Roundup!

Whether you are building a budget, planning metrics, or adapting to new technology…our training experts are here to help you. 

We work to create articles, calculators, whitepapers, and guides to help you establish and elevate your training program. Our monthly newsletter recaps our recent resources, learning technology articles, and news updates –


What Newsletters Would You Add To Our List?

This article has reviewed 7 newsletters that our team at Roundtable Learning recommends you subscribe to in 2022. Whether you’re looking to improve your leadership skills or stay up to date on learning news, we hope this article has helped you discover newsletters that can help you grow professionally. 

Looking to get in touch with our team to learn more about professional development opportunities? Contact one of our experts or check out more resources in our resource center.


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What Is The Cost Of Mercury Extended Reality System? Pricing And 3 Cost Factors

As VR is more widely adopted for training, there are a growing number of management systems for your team to consider.

As the creator of Mercury XRS, our team at Roundtable Learning understands the importance of cost when implementing a new XR training program. While the cost of an XRS depends on several factors, we’re here to help you understand what to expect when signing up for a Mercury XRS subscription.

*Cost ranges are general estimates; each training program is unique, and costs can vary. Please seek a professional quote for more specific and reliable costs.

This article will explore the cost of Mercury XRS, discuss 3 factors that affect the cost, and explore what is included when your organization purchases a Mercury XRS subscription. 


What Is The Cost Of Mercury Extended Reality System?

Mercury XRS helps organizations effortlessly manage, deliver, and report on their virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality training, all from one web-based platform. 

The cost of Mercury XRS is heavily dependent on several factors, from the number of headsets your training requires to the scope of integration. These factors could take the overall cost of Mercury XRS from $1,500 per month to $10,000 or more per month. 

Let’s break down these 3 cost factors in more detail. 


3 Main Factors That Affect The Cost Of Mercury Extended Reality System

1. Number Of Headsets

The main cost factor of Mercury XRS is the number of headsets your training program requires. Apart from the headset cost itself (e.g. Meta Quest, Pico Neo, HTC Vive), your organization will have to pay for the installation and hosting of the Mercury XRS platform on each headset. 

2. Scope Of Integration

The scope of integration refers to both the number of systems and the data that will be sent both to and from the Mercury XRS system. The more your XR training is a part of your business process/decision making, the more you’ll want that data available to your other reporting solutions. This takes into account any HRIS, LMS, BI, or LRS systems and the amount of information moving from one system to another.

3. Non-Standard SSO For Profile Syncing Or Content Assignment

Part of the initial setup of Mercury XRS involves profile syncing or content assignment to specific users within the system. While you may use single sign-on to populate profiles, this login system may not provide enough information about users, requiring a secondary user feed. 

When a secondary user feed is required for profile syncing or content assignment, you can expect the cost of Mercury XRS to be higher given the non-standard authorization of users from that secondary feed. 



What Is Included In A Mercury Extended Reality System Subscription?


Seamless Content Management

Imagine an app sitting on the home screen of your mobile device. Mercury XRS similarly sits within a device after a simple installation and registration is completed. Within the Mercury XRS app, administrators have the ability to launch, access, and manage content within the system on their own. 

Content can be assigned according to a user, device, and location, allowing organizations to have more control over the delivery of content. This key advantage of Mercury XRS lets organizations maintain access to content, as well as assign specific content to learners. 


Ability To Make Updates And Develop Content

When you purchase a Mercury XRS subscription, your organization is gaining the ability to not only send updated content to the app, but also source content on your own with a Mercury XRS software development kit (SDK). 

Read More: Is An XRS The Best Way To Update VR Content?


Automatic Collection Of Analytics

Tracking vital training metrics is critical in proving the success of your program – Mercury XRS allows you to do just that. 

Mercury XRS gives organizations the ability to collect analytics and disaggregate them to your backend systems (e.g. LMS, LRS, LCMS). With Mercury XRS, organizations can automatically receive data, process it, and display it in easy-to-read graphs, charts, and tables. 


Standard xAPI Access To Learning Records

If your organization’s LMS or LRS supports xAPI technology, Mercury XRS can send learning records and completions as xAPI statements. With xAPI, organizations can capture and send key learning data to learning records for each learner. 

Even as XR data collection becomes more specific (e.g. tracking environments, objects, user actions), Mercury XRS is capable of tracking and packaging these metrics for each user. 

*Cost ranges are general estimates; each training program is unique, and costs can vary. Please seek a professional quote for more specific and reliable costs.


Is The Mercury XRS Price Right For You? 

We hope that by reading this article, you have a clearer understanding of how much Mercury XRS costs and what factors affect this cost. Moving forward, our hope is that you are better prepared to ask questions and make an informed decision when it comes time to make your investment. 

The only way to know the exact cost of Mercury XRS for your training is to schedule a meeting with an expert from our team. If you’re looking to try out XR training for yourself, feel free to book an on-site or virtual demo with our team today! 

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What Is A Performance Gap? Less Than 100 Words

Ready to learn more about performance gaps? Let’s dive into what performance gaps are, examples of performance gaps, and 3 types of gaps to look out for. 


What Is A Performance Gap?

A performance gap is the difference between an employee’s current performance and their desired performance. Put simply, an employee has a performance gap when they have to perform a certain task in their role, but they don’t know how to complete it. 

Often used as part of a performance management process, performance gaps are a result of a lack of knowledge, expertise, or skill in a specific area pertaining to an employee’s role. 


How Are Performance Gaps In Employees Formed? 

Performance GapPerformance gaps could be the result of a variety of issues, including:

  • An employee doesn’t know the expectations of their role
  • An employee doesn’t have the necessary tools (e.g. software, internet access, equipment) to complete job-related tasks
  • An employee doesn’t complete comprehensive onboarding that trains them on critical information (e.g. hardware operation, software usage, completion of key processes)
  • An employees doesn’t have the knowledge and skills to be successful

To close performance gaps, we recommend that organizations examine their existing workforce’s performance by scheduling employee evaluations with employees and their manager. Additionally, organizations could look into completing a training needs analysis to unveil whether or not performance gaps are a training issue. 


3 Examples Of Performance Gaps In Employees

Although it varies across industries and positions, common examples of performance gaps include: 

  1. An employee needs to keep checking their email, but doesn’t know how. 
  2. A sales employee has a quota to meet, but comes up short that month.
  3. A retail employee is expected to complete taking inventory in 4 days, but it takes them 5. 

Read More: Is A Training Needs Analysis Really Worth It? 3 Reasons To Conduct A TNA


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4 Recommended Strategies To Create A Successful Hybrid Learning Environment

While in-person learning is the preferred style for some employees, not everyone thrives in this scheduled, traditional learning environment. In fact, 85% of employees want to be able to choose training times that fit their schedule. 

A hybrid learning model helps organizations provide the best of both worlds by combining individual, self-paced learning with in-person learning. 

At Roundtable Learning, our learning and development experts know what it takes to build a successful hybrid learning program. Every day, we’re tasked with developing effective learning solutions that successfully meet the evolving needs of organizations and their learners.

This article will define hybrid learning, provide key benefits of hybrid learning, and discuss 4 recommended strategies for creating a successful hybrid learning environment.


What Is Hybrid Learning?

Gamification Happy Online LearnerHybrid learning, also known as blended learning, is a learning experience that combines multiple learning modalities into one training program. This is a great way to combine self-paced, asynchronous activities (e.g., eLearning, reading articles, videos) with in-person, synchronous learning activities typically held through instructor-led training (ILT) or virtual instructor-led training (VILT). 

The hybrid learning model isn’t limited to full in-person instruction or full virtual instruction, but rather blends both styles. Hybrid learning bridges the gap between in-person classroom instruction and self-paced, asynchronous learning to create a comprehensive training program for all learning styles and to keep up with ever-evolving work environments.


What Are The Benefits Of Hybrid Learning?

  1. Increases the flexibility of learning – A significant benefit to hybrid learning is that it offers more flexibility regarding time, content, and language.
    • For example, asynchronous learning activities allow learners to complete the training when convenient for them and do not interfere with other job duties.
  2. Leverages existing training resources – Hybrid learning allows organizations to repurpose existing training assets to re-imagine their existing assets for a hybrid training program.
    • For example, Suppose an organization has traditionally used a weeklong in-person training program for its new leaders, but the organization can no longer support that model. The organization could repurpose some of the existing content into several different experiences (e-learning module, self-reflection) and still present some of the material in an instructor-led format, substituting shorter VILT sessions for a weeklong face-to-face session.
  3. Provides a richer synchronous learning experience – Well-structured hybrid learning provides a richer synchronous learning experience.
    • For example, organizations can assign learners an asynchronous learning activity (e.g., reading relevant articles) prior to their synchronous learning session. This structure allows the synchronous learning activity to be more discussion-based and engaging because learners come to the session ready to engage in the learning material. 
  4. Cost and time-effective – Hybrid learning can be a cost-effective training method. By presenting information via less costly modalities and reserving the use of instructor-led training for discussion between participants, organizations can capture the benefits of face-to-face learning, while still realizing the cost and time savings of digital and self-paced learning. 

Read More: 3 Ways A Blended Learning Program Can Benefit Your Organization


4 Recommended Strategies To Create A Successful Hybrid Learning Environment

While hybrid learning is highly context-based, on a high level, there are several steps we recommend that your organization takes to ensure success. 


1. Take Inventory Of Existing Learning Assets

Suppose your organization is looking to adopt a hybrid learning approach. In that case, one of the first steps we recommend is to take inventory of all of your existing learning assets (e.g., slides, modules, performance support materials) and determine the following:

  • Which learning activities are most successful?
  • Which training topics and learning activities are most important to learners’ success?
  • Which activities have the highest engagement levels among learners?

Once your organization determines which learning assets are most important to your training, you should sort through which topics are best suited for self-paced learning vs. synchronous, in-person learning. 


2. Understand Your Employees’ Learning Preferences

To succeed, hybrid learning needs to be highly contextualized to the needs of learners and the specific learning situation. It’s critical to keep your learners’ preferences in mind when developing synchronous and asynchronous learning activities. 

Research VendorsTo discover your employees’ learning preferences, we recommend that your organization:

  • Evaluates training data to see which programs received the highest positive rating
  • Sends out surveys to gain current insight into employees’ preferences
  • Reviews past training sessions to see which had the highest participation rate

Perhaps your learners prefer eLearning for the asynchronous learning portion of the training, or they may prefer reading educational articles and receiving printable job aids. Either way, it’s critical to understand their preferences to ensure they’re motivated to complete their asynchronous learning. 


3. Create A Culture Of Accountability

In a hybrid learning environment, employees are typically asked to complete a self-paced, independent learning activity. Whether it’s reading articles, watching videos, or writing in a learning journal, employees are responsible for completing learning activities on their own time prior to the instructor-led, synchronous session. 

Imagine the following scenario. Prior to a training session, learners must complete a short reading that previews key concepts that will be discussed in a group. If only half of the learners have completed the reading, it will be difficult for participants to have a meaningful conversation.

To prevent this from happening, organizations can create a culture of accountability by:

  • Tracking completion of pre-work
  • Sending out communication that promotes the relevance of the pre-work to participants’ job function
  • Engaging leadership and asking them to communicate with participants

Every learner must commit to completing the asynchronous portion of training, or else your organization will lose value in the synchronous learning activity. 


4. Ensure The Asynchronous Learning Is Relevant And Applicable

Your organization needs to make asynchronous learning relevant and applicable to their roles to keep your learners motivated and encourage them to complete their self-paced learning. 

For example, a broader article on leadership styles may not be as beneficial as a more job-specific article with key, actionable takeaways for a team leader to walk away with. This way, you avoid wasting your learners’ time and energy by giving them highly applicable learning materials that relate to their role. The same applies to other asynchronous materials, such as watching short videos and writing on message boards. 

You can measure the relevance and applicability of your asynchronous activities by examining whether or not your learners are able to apply what they’ve learned to their roles right away. 


Are You Ready To Adopt A Hybrid Learning Model?

This article defined hybrid learning, provided key benefits, and discussed 4 recommended strategies for creating a successful hybrid learning environment. We hope you can get started with your hybrid learning program today.

If you’re looking to learn more about hybrid learning, feel free to schedule a meeting with one of our L&D experts or check out more of our resources on all things training today! 


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What Is Mercury XRS? Manage Your Extended Reality Training With Ease

Are you interested in implementing an extended reality (XR) training program but are worried about managing training content? Perhaps you want to track key metrics that provide insight into your learners’ experience, or you want to easily push content updates as processes evolve. 

Meet Mercury XRS! Mercury XRS is a one-of-a-kind extended reality system that opens up a new world of managing XR training. 

Our team at Roundtable Learning helps connect organizations to the latest-and-greatest technologies that lead to successful training. As an experienced VR and AR training provider, we know the importance of managing your XR training with ease. 

This article will explore what Mercury XRS is, 3 main capabilities of Mercury XRS, and the key features of the Mercury XRS system. 


What Is Mercury Extended Reality System (XRS)?

Mercury XRS helps organizations manage, deliver, and report on their virtual reality and augmented reality training, all from one web-based platform. A critical tool to enhance corporate training, Mercury XRS is the first of its kind to help organizations efficiently manage their training content and implement training on a large scale across their organization. 

Imagine an app sitting on the home screen of your mobile device. Mercury XRS similarly sits within a device after a simple installation and registration is completed. 

Mercury XRS is compatible with: 

Ultimately, Mercury XRS is the key to manage, deliver, and report on your XR training with ease. 


What Are The Main Capabilities Of Mercury XRS?

While Mercury XRS comes with a wide range of capabilities, these are the 3 main features that help organizations unlock the full potential of their XR training: 

  1. Deliver and update training by user, device, and location, allowing learners to access their training from any desktop or headset, cutting the cord for manual delivery. 
  2. Collect and visualize your top training metrics in real-time through customizable dashboards and reports.
  3. Experience multi-level compatibility with numerous headsets and modalities, allowing learners to start their training on one device and finish it on another. 

Typically, training professionals have to access their XR devices in-person to perform tasks manually, or they’re stuck juggling multiple training apps, making for a clunky and inefficient experience. Mercury XRS eliminates those scenarios, making it easier than ever to deliver, collect, and update XR training across various locations.


What Are The Key Features Of Mercury XRS?


Single Sign-On

Mercury XRS allows learners to log into the system to access their training easily. Single sign-on (SSO) means that learners log in with a single set of credentials (login code and password) to access their XR training. 

In Mercury’s current version, learners log in by pointing their VR laser and selecting each individual character in their username. The same applies for entering their password. 

In its new version, Mercury XRS generates a unique authentication code for each user. With this code and password, learners can log in to their account on a separate device to activate their account. Then, the headset automatically logs the user in. 


Conveniently Deploy Content Directly To A Device From Any Location

Mercury XRS helps organizations deliver consistent and repeatable training activities to learners near and far. From employees across the office to those around the globe, Mercury XRS eliminates the need for in-person meetings or sideloading content one device at a time. 

Organizations can deploy and organize content based on:

  • Device Groups
  • User Groups

After each device is registered and licensed in the Mercury system, organizations can deploy training content directly onto the device through the Mercury XRS app that sits within the headset. 


Real-Time Session Data Collection

Metrics are critical to proving the value of your training program. With Mercury XRS, organizations can conveniently track these detailed measurements for XR training. 

  • Session completions
  • When courses are completed
  • Time per session
  • Course score
  • Devices used (e.g., users could start the activity on an Oculus, then finish on their desktop)
  • Eye-tracking
  • Dwell time

This data collection provides valuable insight into each learner’s unique experience completing their XR training and removes the need to manually record and enter training KPIs. This frees up time for your L&D team to analyze insights, improve the instructional design elements of training, and better align training with your learners’ needs. 


Access To Reporting Dashboards And Reports

As with any training program, it’s important to quantitatively prove the value of your training activities. Reporting metrics and key KPIs help you do just that.

With Mercury XRS, organizations no longer have to track and record XR training metrics manually. Instead, the software does it for you and publishes easy-to-read reports to your web-based dashboard.

Once collected, metrics and other user information can be viewed in easy-to-read reports that come in any of the following forms, including:

  • Graphs
  • Tables
  • Charts
  • Sheets

These user dashboards and reports are unique to the Mercury XRS platform and provide organizations with customizable, valuable insight into their training program. 


Integrate With An Organization’s Existing Information And Learning Management System (LMS)

Mercury XRS can integrate with existing data from your HR Information System (HRIS) for a more customizable experience that reflects your brand, updated employee information, etc. 

For example, with the use of xAPI or AICC communication technology, Mercury XRS can connect to your existing LMS platform and access a variety of information, including:

  • Employee IDs
  • Job Titles and Teams
  • Employees’ Work Locations

With this information, our team can set up different filterable reports according to specified roles, teams, locations, and so on. This helps with organizing information in a customized, readable format. 


Software Development Kit (SDK) For Headsets

Mercury XRS comes with a software development kit (SDK) that allows organizations to create their own XR content in one installable package. An SDK may include content libraries, training samples, guides, development tutorials, and more. 

By coming with an SDK, Mercury XRS allows organizations to experience the following benefits:

  • Offers the tools and software needed to create customizable XR activities
  • Allows organizations to make updates to their existing XR content

Ultimately, an SDK comes with the fundamental tools to build and design XR training, granting organizations the freedom to create, update, and manage their training. 


Mercury XRS Is The Key To Managing Your Training Like Never Before! 

As this article has discussed, Mercury XRS unleashes the full potential of your XR training program by allowing you to flexibly deliver, manage, and update your training like never before. 

Could Mercury XRS be the solution your organization is looking for to manage your training? Reach out to an expert on our team or book your very own XR demo today!

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What Is An XR Authoring Tool? Less Than 100 Words

Ready to learn more about XR authoring tools? Let’s dive into what an XR authoring tool is, the capabilities of XR authoring tools, and popular XR authoring tools used by programmers. 


What Is An XR Authoring Tool?

An XR authoring tool is an application that provides programmers with a full toolset to develop extended reality (XR) experiences. XR authoring tools are designed to solve common problems for programmers so that they can spend more time creating the experience.

Programmers could create XR content without an XR authoring tool, but they’d need to spend time doing low-level programming to get the XR hardware setup. An XR authoring tool comes with this functionality included and provides the tools required to implement other components of the experience. 

Read More: Why Is It Important To Know Who Owns Your XR Training Content?


What Are The Capabilities Of XR Authoring Tools?

Generally, an XR authoring tool allows programmers to complete the following 3 capabilities: 

  1. Working in UnityProvides a means to build the executable application, perform physics interactions, play audio, and render graphics
  2. Gives the programmer tools required to interact with and manipulate XR devices
  3. Allows programmers to create custom functionality and build new systems that produce complex interactions

Almost every part of an XR authoring tool is the same across virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). The tools are designed to be broad to maximize the number of applications they’re compatible with. 

The only real differences across training modalities come from device-specific features. For example, a VR application might make use of haptics in the controllers, while an MR experience may take advantage of eye-tracking technology. 


Popular Extended Reality Authoring Tools

Unreal and Unity are the 2 main engines used to produce XR content. At Roundtable Learning, our team of programmers exclusively uses Unity to build immersive projects across various training topics, from safety and onboarding to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and technical training. 

For example, the following safety training program was developed using Unity to teach learners about getting ready on a job site. Throughout the activity, learners put on personal protective equipment (PPE) and walk through critical safety protocols. 


5 Benefits Virtual Reality Brings To Soft Skills Training

Did you know that more than 2/3rds of organizations have either already implemented or plan to implement a virtual reality (VR) training program for soft skills within the next two years? 

While the future of corporate training is ever-evolving, it’s evident that organizations are seriously considering the use of VR for soft skills training. 

At Roundtable Learning, we know the benefits that VR brings to all types of training, from technical and safety training to soft skills development. Our team of experts has seen firsthand how VR can transform traditional training through hands-on, realistic activities. 

This article will explore what soft skills are, how they’re traditionally taught, and 5 ways virtual reality benefits soft skills training. 


What Are Soft Skills And Why Are They Important?

Communication Soft SkillsSoft skills are the intangible elements or personal attributes that characterize our interactions with other people. Also known as “human skills” or “social skills,” soft skills stem from our emotional intelligence and individual character. 

Examples of soft skills include:

  • Communication
  • Empathy
  • Work Ethic
  • Adaptability

Soft skills are important because they provide employees with a basis for building relationships, solving problems, managing time, and driving productivity at their organization.


How Are Soft Skills Traditionally Taught?

Soft skills training is typically conducted through an instructor-led training (ILT) where employees engage in any of the following activities:

  • eLearning
  • Role-playing
  • Feedback and coaching

These activities give learners the opportunity to complete in-person exercises with others and test their understanding of key concepts. By collaborating with others, participants can learn synchronously with others and correct their mistakes in a risk-free environment. 

While these traditional methods allow learners to put their knowledge to the test through in-person activities, logistical hurdles come into play when learners are remote or uncomfortable building their soft skills with others. Luckily, VR offers a solution! 

Read More: 6 Best Practices To Get Started With A Virtual Reality Training Program



5 Ways Virtual Reality Benefits Soft Skills Training


1. Triggers An Emotional Response From The Learner

360 VR LeadershipVR can simulate any real-life experience in a highly accurate, true-to-life way. With this enhanced sense of realism, learners will feel as though they’re actually experiencing the activity in real-life, whether it’s completing an action or speaking to another person. This increased realism ultimately triggers an emotional response from the learner, which directly correlates to an increased ability to retain information

For example, a learner may complete a 360° VR training activity for leadership training where they must mentor an employee who’s having a difficult time showing up to work on time. This employee confesses that they’re experiencing some personal hardships and finding it hard to focus on work. 

By filming actors in real-life and experiencing the scene from a first-person perspective, the learner is likely to feel emotionally invested in the employee’s struggles and generate the appropriate solution based on the employee’s needs. This allows the learner to easily apply what they’ve learned in the VR activity to a real-life situation if it were to occur. 


2. Trains Learners Up To 4x Faster Than In-Person Instruction

In a study by PwC, it was found that VR trains learners up to 4x faster on average than traditional in-person instruction. This is largely due to learners being more focused on their training content given their immersion in the program through a headset, desktop, or mobile device.

When learners have a VR headset on, they can direct their attention solely on the VR content that’s presented in front of their eyes. Throughout the activity, learners can:

  • Use a VR controller in each hand to complete interactions with their laser pointer, triggers, directional stick, and more.
  • Use speech recognition to practice their vocal responses to the activity (e.g. practice tonality, expressions, loudness, etc.).

These interactions make the VR experience close to a real-life role play by fully immersing the learner in the experience and requiring their full attention.


3. Can Be Used In Conjunction With Other Modalities

Experts predict that VR will be an effective soft skills training tool that’s used in conjunction with other modalities to speed up learning in a blended program. While VR won’t entirely replace in-person instruction, it’s likely to blend with existing learning techniques to give learners a chance to apply what they’ve learned through interactive scenarios. 

For example, an organization may conduct an in-person ILT that introduces the various social styles employees on their team may have. To put ideas into practice, learners could complete a 360° VR activity where they identify common body language, speech, and indicators of each social style. As a follow-up to the VR activity, learners could respond to prompts within a learning journal that have them reflect on the ILT and VR activity. 



4. Reduces Logistical Hurdles By Reaching Remote Learners

Traditional soft skills training requires in-person sessions with learners, limiting the scalability of the program. Luckily, with VR training, organizations can scale their VR training across their entire organization to reach learners near and far. 

Oculus Meta QuestWith the appropriate hardware and software, organizations can reduce logistical hurdles of soft skills training with VR. Common hardware and software for VR training that increase scalability include:

  • Cardboard VR Headsets: Cardboard VR headsets provide organizations with an affordable access option ($7 – $12) that’s lightweight and easy to ship to learners with a compatible mobile device. 
  • Standard VR Headsets: While standard wireless VR headsets are heavier and more expensive, they can still be shipped to each learner and provide a fully immersive, realistic VR experience. 
  • Alternative Access Options: For learners who aren’t comfortable wearing a VR headset, organizations can provide desktop and mobile device access options through a URL. 
  • An Extended Reality System (XRS): An XRS is a platform that allows organizations to host, deliver, and track their VR training. Imagine an app sitting within your homescreen on your phone – an XRS acts similarly. 

Read More: 5 Hurdles to Scaling Virtual Reality Training & How to Overcome Them


5. Creates Consistency Across Role-Playing Activities

As with any training program, it’s critical that organizations are able to provide a consistent training experience to all of their learners. A major benefit to VR training is that organizations can easily scale consistent role-playing activities across their entire organization with an XRS. 

A traditional in-person role-play for soft skills training leaves room for differences across those who participate in the activity. One participant may look, say, or do something different than what’s intended, creating differences across the role-play. VR eliminates this risk. 

This way, learners can complete the same role-play activity in VR and develop the intended skills as a result of completing the same training as their peers. 


Improve Your Soft Skills Training With Virtual Reality!

VR has the potential to transform your existing soft skills training through interactive, realistic training scenarios that learners will remember. 

Is your organization ready to explore the potential benefits VR training could bring to your soft skills training? Book your very own VR demo with our team today or check out more of our resources on all things corporate L&D. 


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5 Ways Off-The-Shelf Training Can Save Money At Your Organization

While custom training has benefits regarding control over content, learning objectives, and the development timeline, off-the-shelf training offers convenient, on-demand training courses created by industry experts. 

At Roundtable Learning, we understand the importance of finding the right training content for your program. We’re frequently asked about the differences between custom and off-the-shelf training programs and work with our clients to discover the best solution based on their training needs

This article will explore the key benefits of off-the-shelf training content and discuss 5 ways off-the-shelf training content can save your organization money. 


What Are The Benefits Of Off-The-Shelf Training Content?

Off-the-shelf training is best suited for organizations looking to train their employees in more foundational topics (e.g. Microsoft Office, interpersonal skills, cybersecurity). Considered a “straight out of the box” solution, off-the-shelf training offers convenient, on-demand training activities created by industry experts.

4 benefits of off-the-shelf training content include:

  1. Convenient option for foundational training – Foundational skills are the basic skills required to understand and complete various tasks (e.g. create a new document in Microsoft Word, communicate effectively with other team members). 
  2. Typically less costly upfront than custom content – Off-the-shelf is considered a cost-effective option that requires less out of your pocket upfront. With off-the-shelf training, organizations don’t have to worry about hiring an internal L&D team or vendor to create the program or invest in course authoring tools. 
  3. Created by industry experts – When off-the-shelf training, organizations gain access to courses made by subject-matter experts (SMEs) who know the most updated and relevant information your learners need to know. 
  4. On-demand access that’s ready to deploy once received – After off-the-shelf training has been received and integrated with an organization’s existing learning management system (LMS), learners can access their training immediately.

While off-the-shelf training comes with these 4 benefits, it’s important to consider the benefits of a custom training program as well. By reflecting on your training needs and topics, your organization can decide which type of training content is best for your organization. 

Read More: The Top 5 Business Benefits To Outsourcing Corporate Training And Development


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How Can Off-The-Shelf Training Content Save Money?

There are cost benefits for both custom and off-the-shelf training, but for now let’s focus on how off-the-shelf training can save your organization money. 

1. Eliminates The Need To Hire An Internal Development Team

Project Management TeamWhen you outsource your L&D content, your organization won’t have to worry about hiring an internal development team. An internal team may consist of:

While some organizations prefer to have an in-house team of experts to develop their training content, other organizations may look to a vendor to produce their training materials. Ultimately with off-the-shelf training, organizations don’t need to worry about hiring or adding to their existing internal team, eliminating the costs and time associated with doing so. 


2. Doesn’t Require Time For Testing Or Revision

As a “straight out of the box” solution, off-the-shelf training is hosted within an LMS and is readily available to deploy once it’s bought. This increases your time to training and gets your employees learning quickly. 

While custom training may take weeks or even months to develop, off-the-shelf training is ready to use as soon as it’s purchased, saving time and money associated with developing training in-house. In addition, your off-the-shelf provider will ensure that the latest version of each course is available to you, cutting back on time needed to make revisions to content. 


3. Allows Access To An Expansive Content Library

As with most off-the-shelf training solutions, organizations can pick from an expansive content library of courses, commonly referred to as ‘Curated Lists’. Courses within a library are typically organized according to any of the following factors:

  • Training Topics (e.g. Mentoring, Risk Management, Teamwork, Accounting)
  • Languages
  • Seat/Learning Time
  • Rating
  • Price per course

Depending on your off-the-shelf provider, you’re likely to pay a one-time licensing fee that’s renewed each year. Providers like OpenSesame, for example, offer unlimited access to their most popular off-the-shelf courses through various subscription plans. 


4. Takes Stress Off Of The Internal Team

Employees planningOftentimes when developing a custom training program, organizations have a dedicated internal team that manages the project’s development, content production, timeline, etc. With off-the-shelf training, organizations don’t need to worry about a dedicated project team. Instead, employees can dedicate their time and energy elsewhere. 

For example, if you purchase off-the-shelf training and your organization already has an internal L&D team, they could focus on the development of other learning materials that supplement the off-the-shelf courses. 

These learning reinforcement materials may include:


5. No Need To Purchase Development Software And Tools

The cost of development software and tools is dependent on the training modality of your program. For example, an eLearning program may be developed using Articulate Rise 360, while a virtual reality (VR) training activity will likely use Unity. These softwares range in cost from as low as $649 to $4,000 or more annually depending on the number of developers. 

Off-the-shelf training, on the other hand, typically follows a cost model where organizations pay per license, then renew that license each year. Therefore, the initial upfront cost of off-the-shelf training is likely to be less than the cost of a comprehensive custom program. It comes down to whether or not your organization wants to buy an already existing training or build your own


Are You Ready To Save Money With Off-The-Shelf Training?

This article has reviewed the benefits of off-the-shelf training and 5 ways off-the-shelf training can save your organization money. 

Are you curious about whether or not off-the-shelf training is the right fit for your organization’s training needs? Reach out to one of our L&D professionals or explore more of our resources on all things training and development today.


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