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The Self-Directed Learning Engine™ (SDLE)

Make your competency model actionable in just hours

To be actionable, your model must be accessible and assessable. That means getting it off the PowerPoint, out of the spreadsheets and into your employees’ hands. Quickly. Easily. Elegantly. Our competency assessment system, the SDLE, facilitates scale so you can do this for thousands of employees, working at their own pace, over and over as skills change and corporate strategy changes.


Competency Assessment / Skills Assessment

We are at the crossroads of an unprecedented change in required skills.  Artificial intelligence and automation are creating a new revolution. CEOs have finally recognized that talent skill gaps may render them unable to compete.  So, there’s never a better time to assess the skill gaps in your organization (know how big the problem is) and measure progress over time. 

According to Gartner, the #1 employee expectation of work changes as a result of digitization is “I need better upskilling.”  The question is, how much upskilling?  Without a competency assessment, you won’t know.  And what you don’t know CAN and WILL hurt you. 

A role-based competency assessment communicates job expectations and best practices so everyone knows what great looks look like and how to get there.


Personalized Learning Across 70-20-10

Once your data is loaded into the SDLE, you automate personalized, competency-based learning for everyone at scale. Link learning objectives to the behavioral examples of skills in your competency model. As a skill gap is identified through the competency assessment, the SDLE recommends learning opportunities across the entire learning ecosystem, supporting the 70-20-10 model.


70-20-10 Model


According to Gartner, 57% of employees think learning is hard to find and hard to access. The SDLE overcomes this huge barrier to a culture of learning.



When employees search for a course on presentation skills and get a resulting list of 30 items, the volume is simply overwhelming, with little apparent differentiation, which typically leads to the employee giving up. This may be misinterpreted as lack of desire for certain activities.

The SDLE presents the employee with ONLY what is relevant for their skill gaps as it relates to their job. It aggregates formal and informal development assets, regardless of where they are located, into one place, with links to launch them. This makes learning and development activities useful, which drives adoption, engagement, and increased proficiency.


Personalized Learning Benefits

  • Create a professional development plan that is meaningful, useful and relevant
  • Increase feelings of empowerment
  • Eliminate the opportunity cost of participating in unnecessary training activities
  • Eliminate search time locating appropriate development activities

Personal and Team Analytics


The perfect measure of learning success is whether it measures results

But results are lagging indicators that often take months or years to measure.  Leading indicators, the behaviors and actions an employee takes to produce results, are easier to track and change.  By focusing on leading indicators and connecting them directly to lagging indicators, you can help people connect to their role in executing corporate goals and strategy.

The SDLE lets individuals see their own analytics and gives easy visibility for managers to team analytics.  The organization can look across the entire population.  And as people develop and re-assess, you can measure changes in both leading and lagging indicators.


SDLE analytics help you:

  • Become more strategic
  • Link learning opportunities to changes in skills
  • Link changes in skills to business results
  • Know who to put on what project
  • Build effective teams with the right skills to succeed
  • Deliver business intelligence to the organization, matching capabilities to initiatives
  • Identify what skill gaps may be hindering goal/target/quota achievement
  • Automate needs assessment
  • Enable strategic workforce planning

Manager Coaching

Managers may be reluctant to conduct a coaching conversation due to lack of specifics on what and how to coach each direct report. They might cite "lack of time" as the reason for infrequent coaching.

With a data-driven list of skill gaps in the SDLE, managers have more confidence and are more willing to support employees regularly. The SDLE prevents them from spending time coaching the wrong things.

Today employees want more frequent touches and more specifics. Without the SDLE, this could feel like a daunting task. The more a manager talks to employees regularly about their development the more likely they are to stay.

The SDLE enables the manager to conduct frequent 1-on-1s in a structured manner, leveraging employee input that continually drives toward shared goals.

Managers cite emotion as a barrier to frequent coaching. If a manager tries to coach on areas where the employee feels they have no gap, it could create dissension.

The SDLE makes it easy to discuss perceptual differences, converting emotional conversations into data-driven conversations about what behaviors they should perform. So the manager can say, "Give me an example of something you've done that demonstrates this particular level of proficiency" to level set expectations.


It creates a great opportunity to promote a coaching dialogue and rhythm within the context of development ... the right type of dialogue for our “leaders of people” ... low to no subjectivity and a more purposeful and prescriptive development plan”

– VP Sales Force Effectiveness


Collaborative Learning


The future of learning will have everyone serving as both mentors and mentees, sharing their expertise and learning from others.  But how can you facilitate that capability at scale?  Use the SDLE’s ability to find task based mentors in one click and track mentor relationships. 

The SDLE uses assessment data to enable managers to locate task-based mentors and easily build bench strength. The SDLE empowers everyone to grow as a mentor in those skills where they are strong. High performers, who may have few skill gaps, can continue to grow as they develop mentoring skills.

Do people learn certain skills better when working with others in your organization?  Now you’ll know.


Career Planning


According to CEB, a lack of future career opportunities is the primary driver of attrition, topping compensation and manager quality.  According to Bersin Research and Glassdoor data, career development and learning are almost 2X more important than compensation, benefits, and work environment. 

People need resources, tools, and support to envision their futures. Managers need to know how and when to help employees navigate opportunities. 



“We encourage employees to own their careers and design them, but they become frustrated when we can’t deliver on their aspirations. They feel like we’ve broken our contract with them.”



  • The SDLE signals when career planning may be appropriate, based on few to no skill gaps and high levels of proficiency.
  • The SDLE enables each person to explore other opportunities across the organization without being reliant on their manager or HR to guide them through it.
  • The SDLE helps someone who is struggling in their current role to locate a better fit. When someone is struggling with performance, often it’s a good employee in the wrong job. Most organizations lose these people. The SDLE helps identify how to keep them.


“Career development is a necessity now. It's a bottom-line issue and, as report after report shows, an engagement and retention opportunity. Organizations' futures may depend on their solutions and their ability to offer career development to everyone.”

– Beverly Kaye, Lindy Williams



Get Started Quickly

Our competency assessment system takes just 2 weeks to implement. We provide everything you need to be successful, including communication toolkits and best practices tailored to all levels of the organization – employees, managers, and leaders.