How To Develop Competency-Based Online Training
Competency-Based online training emphasizes what an employee can do rather than how much they know. In order for a corporate learner to progress to the next online training module they must first master the task or process at hand. There are no time limits and keeping up with their peers is not a priority. As such, it gives employees the chance to improve their performance and productivity at their own pace. This makes it the ideal online training strategy for organizations who need to boost employee retention rates, broaden their skill sets, and streamline work processes utilizing minimal resources.
- Carry out a skills assessment beforehand.
Employees already have unique skills, knowledge, and talents that they bring to the table. This is why it’s essential to carry out a skills assessment before you develop your competency-based online training course. Otherwise, you run the risk of covering topics that they’ve already mastered or excluding members of your audience who have not yet developed the necessary skills. The primary goal of skills assessment is to identify this gap: What do they know now and what do they need to learn in order to achieve their goals? That is the key question you must ask. Competency-based online training focuses on tasks and skills that employees can develop over time. So, make sure that your assessments focus on abilities or processes that can be transferred or learned.
- Create a flexible eLearning assessment system to track corporate learner progress.
You must have and track the progress of your employees while they are participating in competency-based online training. This should come in the form of flexible eLearning assessments that cater to a wide range of learning needs and preferences. Online self-assessments are an effective approach, as they allow employees to take the online test when it’s most convenient for them and periodically conduct knowledge checks on their own. Ideally, there should be a good mix of eLearning assessment types, such as scenarios, short answer/essays, simulations, and eLearning games that analyze every angle of the online training program. For example, an interactive scenario would test their ability to apply the information in real world settings, while a short answer exam might gauge their comprehension levels.
- Become a facilitator rather than an instructor.
Competency-based online training is all about personalizing the experience. Every employee within your organization needs something different out of the online training course in order to become proficient. Trainers take on the role of facilitator to guide employees through the competency-based online training course rather than control every aspect of the online training experience. This allows your employees to play a more active part and explore the tasks, process, skills, and ideas on their own. They are not forced to keep pace with their peers, but are given the opportunity to fully comprehend a topic before moving forward. In many respects, competency-based online training is extremely learner-centric. Thus, trainers must change their approach to meet the learning needs of their corporate learners instead of taking a "one-size-fits-all" online training strategy.
- Develop personal online training paths.
For a competency-based online training program to be truly successful you must determine how each employee is going to get from point A to point B. Point A represents their current skill sets, talents, and abilities. Point B is their true potential, or the stage at which they are the most productive. To do so you should be ready and willing to develop a personal online training path for each and every member of your audience. Use surveys, focus groups, online assessments, interviews, and workplace observations to pinpoint the gap and figure out how you can fill it via the competency-based online training initiative. The online activities, materials, and exercises employees must complete greatly depend on their skill gap and individual goals. For example, an employee in the sales department will have an entirely different competency online training path than an employee who is working in the IT department. Likewise, everyone in the IT department will have their own personal plans that they must follow to bridge the gap.
- Pinpoint the "universal" competencies for your organization.
Though every employee should have their personal online training path, there are some competencies that are the same across the board. These "universal" competencies must be learned by every member of your team, regardless of their position, rank, or experience level. For example, each employee should know the main points within the company's handbook or develop their customer service skills. Healthy and safety is another common "universal" competency, as every employee should know the rules and regulations in order to avoid workplace injuries. This core set of competencies should be in every personal online training path, and the importance of them must be stressed so that employees make them a top priority.
- Provide links to supplemental online training resources.
Employees who need more information or wish to broaden their skill sets should have access to supplemental online training resources, such as links to articles or eLearning videos that may be beneficial. In fact, you may wish to create a comprehensive list of resources that is divided into subcategories, such as by skill set or subject. Employees can use this list when it’s most convenient for them and during their "moment of need". For instance, an employee who needs assistance with a repair can quickly click on a video link to view a tutorial.
Competency-based online training gives you the power to focus on practical knowledge instead of theories. Rather than concentrating on seat time, you can ensure that every member of your organization has the information and skills they need to reach their true potential.
Are you sure you know exactly the type of skills your employees need to develop? Read the article Online Training Needs Analysis For Each Of The 5 Stages Of Employment to discover different online training needs for 5 diverse employee groups.