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GASP! I just created learning that doesn’t transfer and they can’t get up!

If you create learning that doesn’t transfer, then you too will keep your target audience from “getting up” in skills and business results.

In a Deloitte study[1], less than 25% of Line Managers believed their Learning & Development (L&D) departments were critical to achieving their business goals. That is not surprising given related findings on learner disengagement. It is cause and effect.

If the employee doesn’t believe that the content is relevant to their job and their needs, they will be disengaged in any learning.

--> If the employee is disengaged in the learning process, then L&D efforts are mitigated – any learning opportunities will have minimal effect.

--> If minimal effect occurs, then skill levels do not improve.

--> If skill levels do not improve, then business results do not improve.

--> If employees participate in training programs, and positive business results do not follow, then Line Managers are likely to lose faith in the ability of L&D to contribute.

Why does this happen?  It’s a likely scenario when you don’t know what skills people need.  If you don’t know what skills they need, how can you possibly help them develop the right skills?  How can you create content that is relevant to their job?

Even if you know what skills they need, but you don’t actually know where skill gaps exist and have no supporting data, then how can you measure whether skill levels and business results improve?  That is, how can you measure that the programs you’re providing are closing skill gaps and driving results?

The solution

First, you create a competency model for each role, which defines the skills required to execute their part of corporate strategy.  In other words, the competency model is the connection between skills and strategy.  A competency model describes what it looks like to be great in that role.

Next, you create competency-based learning to increase the likelihood that each person CAN accomplish their goals.  This is where the learning objectives of activities are tied to the specific skills and behaviors in the competency model. 

Creating competency-based learning ensures the content is relevant to their job.  But remember that if the employee doesn’t believe that the content is relevant to their job AND relevant to their needs, they will be disengaged.  We’ve solved the first problem, now we have to solve the second.

In order to make content relevant to each person’s needs, you need to enable them to self-assess against the competency model and identify their specific skill gaps.  And you need to automate the identification of content relevant to their needs, known as personalized learning. 

If you create competency-based learning and enabling personalized learning, you will drive learner engagement and accelerate learning transfer.  And if your competency model is any good, then it will impact skills and business results.

What’s more, the aggregated skills data combined with business results over time will let you measure the impact of learning.

If you ensure that you only create content that supports the competency model for a role, you will never again create learning that doesn’t transfer.  If you use a competency assessment tool that personalizes learning for each person, you will maximize learner engagement, accelerate learning transfer, and you WILL be able to measure the positive impact on skills and business results.

[1] Bersin by Deloitte. (2015).  Reimagining L&D Capabilities to Drive Continuous Learning.




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