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One year on from Learning Pool’s acquisition of HT2 Labs: How far we’ve come

It’s almost been one year since Learning Pool acquired the Oxfordshire-based learning innovation company, HT2 Labs and its market-leading products. A lot has happened and much has changed in the 12 months since HT2 Labs, led by Dr Ben Betts and Alan Betts, and its team of 40 joined the Learning Pool Group. From an increase in employee and annual revenue growth to a phenomenal awards season, there’s certainly been a lot to celebrate. But the one thing that’s remained constant is the company’s commitment to developing innovative and pioneering elearning solutions that revolutionize the way modern organizations train and develop their staff.

In June 2019, Learning Pool acquired HT2 Labs with a strong sense that the two companies were stronger together; combining a culture of innovation and a passion for doing what’s right for the L&D community and the clients we serve. 

One year on, HT2 Labs Inc has officially been renamed under the Learning Pool Group and we thought we’d take this opportunity to reflect on the events from the last year and share some exciting updates from the business. 

A landmark year

Following the takeover, 2019 transpired to be a landmark year for the business with a number of significant milestones to note. Our client base grew by 30%, our annual revenue growth increased by 26% and this latest merger saw our employee numbers rise to over 200, with further plans to expand this by 25% in 2020. We now serve more than 800 organizations and over 2.5 million learners worldwide. 

A wave of industry recognition 

In recent months, we’ve won a vast number of awards. Most notably, we achieved the Gold standard in the Deloitte Best Managed Companies 2019; we took home Gold for ‘Most Innovative New Learning Technologies Product’ at the Learning Technologies Awards 2019 in partnership with TUI; we scooped Silver in the 2019 Brandon Hall Awards for ‘Best Advance in Emerging Tech’. 

Already in 2020, we have also achieved Gold for exemplar customer service at the 2020 Stevie® Awards and topped both the ‘Top Content Provider for Rapid eLearning’ and ‘Top Content Provider for Mobile Learning’ lists by eLearning Industry. 

An ecosystem for the modern learner 

As HT2 Labs merged with Learning Pool, their award-winning Learning Experience Platform, Curatr integrated Learning Pool’s own LXP, Learning Pool Platform. Combining the tech in both platforms, Learning Pool then relaunched the rebranded, Learning Pool Platform. With the best in personalized and social learning, first-class authoring, curated content and a range of tools to enable learning in the flow of work, HT2 Labs and Learning Pool together were able to create a market-leading product, a genuine Learning Experience Platform that is already being used by more than 100 organizations. 

As we relaunched our LXP, we also introduced a couple of new integrations to the platform that offers flexibility to modern organizations. Waves is an automation tool that enables you to plan, launch, nudge, and manage your learning effectively, giving you control over the delivery of learning experiences, personalizing your learners’ journey depending on their responses and engagement. Flo is our personalized learning chatbot, linking learners to content using natural language search and directing them to assigned learning, all as part of their daily routine. 

Aimed at helping organizations keep their workforce up to date with the changing skills landscape, our Curation as a Service (CaaS) was first announced in February 2020, enabling organizations to mix curated content with their own content and content specially created for their needs. 

Initially, 20 topics were pre-curated with instant rollout following an analysis of a range of soft skills competency models. In the next few months, a new content library for Future Skills will also be released, for which Learning Pool has created 13 skills which are vital to the development of all organizations in the next few years. 

Ben Betts, former CEO of HT2 Labs and now the Chief Product Officer of Learning Pool commented:

When Learning Pool acquired HT2 Labs last year it was our stated intention to move forward as one company – Learning Pool. We thought this was the best way to align the two companies to a shared vision and get us pulling towards the best possible products and services. We firmly believe that our coming together created a ‘greater than the sum of its parts’ moment and, a year on, we think that’s come true. Our teams have blended together brilliantly and, as has been demonstrated in the challenging environment we all find ourselves in today, this effective teamwork continues today, even though we’re remote. Ticking over to May 1st, our new financial year, and bringing the HT2 Inc incorporation full circle to become Learning Pool Inc completes the process from an administrative point of view. But it also signals how far we’ve come together. We are truly one company, taking on a new sense of what normal is, looking to capitalize on the world’s movement to digital learning. 

The Learning Pool Labs initiative 

Keeping HT2 Labs’ pioneering spirit alive within a much larger organization, Chief Product Officer, Ben Betts officially launched the Learning Pool Labs program in August 2019 as a call to action, seeking new ideas from across the business.  

Our vision, slightly tongue-in-cheek, was to solicit innovations that would help ‘Learning Pool Save the World’ and centred on three key themes; how to save your brain; how to save L&D; how to save the workforce. 

After a number of submissions, the winning idea was for Flo v.2.0 to deliver learning interactions within our ‘learnbot’ to improve engagement and learning through ease and speed of access. Every year, we intend to re-open submissions, to gain insight into what our customers need best from the people who deal with them on a daily basis and to keep Learning Pool at the forefront of innovation within the L&D industry. 

Expansion to the North American market 

In acquiring HT2 Labs, Learning Pool also gained an office in Boston where some of our sales team are based. This offered an ideal entry to the North American market for Learning Pool and to solidify our efforts, earlier this year we hired Sharon Claffey Kaliouby as VP, North America to help guide this expansion. 

Thriving in the face of uncertainty

The current times are challenging, to say the least. Like all organizations, the staff at Learning Pool are adhering to Government guidelines and have been working remotely for the last 7 or so weeks. Our workforce has had to adapt to remote working with almost no prior warning and we know it hasn’t always been easy. 

Our team has needed to be flexible and open to change over the course of the last few weeks and this was showcased brilliantly with our Learning Pool Live virtual event, hosted through Stream LXP, in March. Cancelling our face-to-face Learning Pool Live Local events wasn’t an easy decision to make but we knew it was the right thing to do and we’re truly proud of our wonderful team who transformed the last two events into one single online experience in just a matter of weeks. 

At Learning Pool, we’re passionate about our people and the responsibility we have to make the world a better place and that is why we launched the Coronavirus Essentials Library to help protect other organizations and their people worldwide. Modules include Coronavirus (COVID-19), Remote Working, Remote Working for Managers, Display Screen Equipment, Healthy Lifestyles, Conference Call Etiquette, Email Stress and Mental Health Awareness. The content in this library has been sourced from global authorities and is available for free for up to 90-days so that organizations can share only accurate information relating to the virus and reduce the impact of misinformation that can cause unnecessary fear and panic. 

If you have any thoughts or comments about the official name change from HT2 Labs Inc to Learning Pool Inc please get in touch via [email protected]

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