Posts in 70-20-10
How do you store created skill practices for informal learning?

Thank you to everyone who attended the ATD webinar "Create Informal, Competency-Based Learning in Only 1 Day".  (Link to the recorded webinar)

Once you start creating skill there advice on how to store them for reference?That is, how do you operationalize them? 

The reality is that you can store them in any shared location (networked file server, intranet, SharePoint, Box, etc.).  What’s important is connecting users to them.

Method #1: If people are self-assessing against the competency model and identifying skill gaps for the job they have or the job they want next, this is the perfect time to connect people to skill practices, embedded within their Personalized Learning Plan, so they can download and start using them in one click.  What’s great about this is that you’re leveraging all the intrinsic motivation that someone has when they identify a skill gap.  Now they WANT to get better and they themselves know they need to take action.  You’re giving them an action plan that doesn’t require taking time away from their job – they get to do their work AND build that skill.  In this way, you both communicate availability and operationalize their use.

Method #2: Embed them into the activity to be performed. 

  • Skill practice for building a dashboard in your ERP application – put the link to the skill practice right into the application’s help page, or if you can customize the instructions, embed a link there
  • Skill practice for preparing for a sales presentation – put a link to it on the appropriate page of your or other Customer Relationship Management application or portal
  • Skill practice for how to perform some process most effectively – if there’s a checklist or set of work instructions on how to do it, embed a link to the skill practice right in the instructions

It’s all about making them available at the point of need.  This is the future of learning.

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
How to create competency-based learning in only 1 day
shutterstock_62709148 for PPT.jpg

The question continues to arise, “I know that application on the job is the best, most effective way to learn, but how can I create those types of opportunities?”  Enter skill practices - one of the most useful ways of accelerating learning transfer via workflow learning.  That is, a skill practice enables people to learn in the context of the activity they need to do as part of their job.  While traditional "on the job training" makes use of this practice, it has not historically provided sufficient structure to provide best practices.

If you’re looking to create competency-based learning to close a particular skill gap, check out the free recorded ATD webcast.

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
How do I create competency models that address needs of different business units with shared development goals?

Think of this process as a many to many relationship.  On the one side, you have an inventory of skills, and on the other side you have an inventory of learning opportunities across the 70-20-10 spectrum.  One skill may be required by multiple roles across different business units.  One learning opportunity may close the gap of many skills across many different roles.  It is the competency model process that identifies which skills best define a job role.  And it is the competency-based learning mapping process which defines which of the learning opportunities are best suited to close a specific skill gap for a job role.


News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
3 Traits That Will Make You A Learning & Development Rock Star In 2020… START NOW!

A friend asked me to visualize the learning organization in 3 years and what their Learning & Development (L&D) department should do to get ready.  As I thought about the answer, I realized there are 3 traits that will make you and your department a Rock Star in 2020.

Be Customer-Focused/Learner-Focused

The learning department will be 100% customer-focused and the “customers” are the employees (not the departments).

  • Each person will get exactly (and only) what they need and want.  There will no longer be role-based “learning plans”.  There will only be a personalized learning plan – 1-size-fits-one.
  • End users will own their learning and hold themselves accountable – the learning organization will exist to make this possible.
  • Learning will not tell customers what to do – the customer will tell Learning what they need.  All pull, no push.
  • To support this customer-focused approach, the learning organization will have an agile, customer-focused mindset – rather than creating content that may be quickly obsolete. L&D will be highly responsive and can pivot quickly. (More on “Agility” shortly.)

This customer-focused approach can only exist when L&D can provide customers with the organization’s expectations for their role in terms of, “how do I do the job?”  The expectations are the tasks they must perform, the behaviors that make the tasks executable, and the required levels of proficiency.  That’s a competency model.

Be Curious

 The Learning organization will get curious and start to explore the industry of the company they are in and the audience they serve – not because they have a course to create, but rather to be intimately familiar with customer (learner) needs, maybe even before the customer knows the need exists. 

This will facilitate responsiveness and customer-focus… all in the context of what L&D knows their customers need to be able to do (the competency model).  Competency models help L&D know how to serve their customers.  They will become aware of what materials exist or need to be created for competency-based learning.  They can pivot quickly to meet changing needs.

Embrace Diversity

The Learning organization will provide materials that reflect true customer needs: ~70% will be activity-based, there will be support for the ~20% collaborative, and ~10% will be formal.

  • Learning will identify activities and experiences, along with tools, templates, checklists, and the like to support learning on the job; in fact, when a new need is identified, an L&D Rock Star will first ask, “What activity could this person perform to learn this skill?”
  • Learning will provide technology that supports identification of task-based mentors; everyone in the organization is likely to be both a mentor and a mentee on a regular basis – it will simply become a part of the organizational culture.
  • Learning may still create content, but more will be microlearning – short content that can be easily consumed in bite size pieces.  The course as we know it today may still exist, but be used sparsely, mostly for large complex topics or for those who are new to the industry/field/equipment.

Part of embracing diversity is recognizing that you don’t have to own everything your audience needs.  As an L&D Rock Star, you can become Master Of The Universe.  L&D Rock Stars will think of themselves as brokers – curating the best content and resources (tools, templates, job aids, ideas for activities), internally and externally.  When a need arises because of a change in the environment, (see “Agility” above) the Learning team will be so responsive that they can provide some resources within days to meet the new need.  Maybe it’s as simple as a link to a YouTube video, industry article, and blog post.

So if you want to be a Learning & Development Rock Star in 2020, start now.

  • Identify what people need to be able to do (provide a competency model)
  • Let them identify and own what they can and can’t do
  • Let them be accountable for closing their own gaps, achieving aspirational goals, and preparing for the next step in their career
  • Use that information, and deep awareness of their competency models, to provide competency-based learning with flexible options that reflect the way people learn (70-20-10) and make sure it’s easily consumable (microlearning)
  • Make it fast and easy by providing one click access to everything they need, recognizing that you can better serve the audience by becoming the Master Of The Universe, linking to options throughout the learning ecosystem, rather than creating it all
News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
Beyond the frequency of a post training event follow up, what are tips to make learning stick?

(Question posted by participants in recent webinars)

If you are mapping the skills in your competency model across the 70-20-10 spectrum, and you conduct a formal learning event in the “10”, then at the end of that activity, you can recommend items in the “70” to help them practice on the job. 

If their manager was involved in assessing them against the competency model, and the learner elected to participate in this event because of a skill gap, then the manager has details – the behaviors of the mapped skill – to discuss and help ensure the learning is being applied.  Manager involvement is a key contributor to learning transfer.  The manager can also identify a task-based mentor to work with (“20”) – perhaps to review the activities.

Remember also that the motivation is significantly different if this method is followed.  If I identify my own skill gap, and I participate in a formal learning activity to close that gap, I will be far more likely to try to apply it because I said I needed it.

Here’s an example.  I do my self-assessment and find that I have a skill gap in Negotiating Skills.  I talk to my manager and we agree I should take a 2 day class on it.  I’m engaged and look forward to practicing what I learned.  At the class end, we were provided with activities using templates that I can use on the job.  One of them is a negotiation planner and the activity is to use it to prepare for my next contract negotiation, then review it with a peer mentor.  I fill out the planner with the details.  Then my manager finds a task-based mentor, a high performer in my role, who reviews and challenges me on how I completed it and makes suggestions.  I update the planner.  Then I share it with my manager and we role-play how I’ll use it.  Can you see how that works to make learning “stick” more effectively?

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
How do we motivate employees to take charge of their development? How do we hold them accountable?

(Question posted by participants in recent webinars)

This is an easy one.  Stop doing it FOR them.  Stop doing learning TO them. Stop dragging people to what YOU think they should do.  They then have 2 choices:  own their development, focusing on what they want and need, with the tools they have for doing it.  Or get passed by for promotions, and maybe even keeping the job, if they don’t have the skills (which are probably changing) and keep up. If they don’t do it, someone else will.  They either want to grow, or they don’t.

You can’t change the motivation of a complacent employee.  Only they can do that.  But if everyone around you becomes more engaged and learning new things, and having better conversations with their manager, and getting new challenges or even new positions, and you’re not… well, maybe that will change their intrinsic motivation. 

If they are close to retirement, and they lack the motivation to learn something new, make them a lead player in knowledge transfer and in being a task-based mentor to others.  Have others shadow them.

Another technique is to embed development into everyday work.  If the only things you offer are formal learning, including eLearning, you’re going to lose a lot of people who don’t respond to it.  Workflow and social learning are two of the ways millennials happen to learn best.  When I say workflow or experiential, these are job aids, check lists, skill practices (which we think work great), and performance support.  In other words, “help me learn while I’m doing the thing I need to do.“

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector