A one size fits all approach to learning is rarely effective. Not only does every student have different needs, but every student retains information differently. In order to optimize the learning of each individual, there is an increased focus on using a learner-centric approach, which will allow each student to build their own learning pathway.
In today’s business landscape, the majority of training is based on a one size fits all approach. Instead, companies should offer training to their employees that adapts to their individual learning style, speed, and preferences, by letting them leverage learning tools that are best suited for them. These tools should be innovative and intuitive, and designed for how students prefer to consume information today. When looking at traditional classroom-based training alone, it misses the mark. It does not factor in that students come to class with different levels of understanding and various expectations. Learning offerings should utilize a more adaptable approach called competency-based learning. In this approach, learning is broken down into job ‘competencies,’ or skills. This has a variety of benefits for students: it is personalized to each individual, it takes into account any existing knowledge and skills that a student already has, it is specifically designed around job competencies and skills, and most importantly, it is not time-bound.
Using a competency-based learning model, content is taught using short, discrete modules. These modules are specific to a skill or task. This approach focuses on teaching the ‘why’ and not just memorization of the ‘how’. Adult students need to know why they are learning something, and they learn best by doing, so the modules need to involve the student in solving real-life problems they will encounter in their job. Instead of requiring the student to parrot back step-by-step information, this approach immerses the student in a specific business problem and encourages them to use what they have learned in order to solve it. This will help them apply these skills to their job, and this will benefit companies because employees will have training that directly helps them apply skills to their job.
Learning modules can easily be arranged and combined into different ‘competencies’ or programs. Unlike traditional classroom training courses, which will teach the same topics to all students, competency-based training will encourage the student to learn specific skills they need at that given time. Once they master a competency, they can move on to other competencies as needed. For example, a new user may start with a ‘New User competency’, which would include modules geared towards learning basic skills, but someone more experienced who is only interested in learning how to load data could move right to the ‘Loading Data’ competency. Because these modules and competencies are not inextricably tied to courses or topics it provides greater flexibility to the student to learn what they need when they need to learn it.
Focus on the Learning and Not the Time
In traditional classroom-based training, all students will start and end their learning experience at the same time. They will all be forced to learn at the same speed using the same approach. As a result, some students will master the materials, some will master some of the materials, and some students will master none of the materials.
Competency-based topics are not time-bound. Students can gain mastery of a competency regardless of the time needed. This is accomplished by providing interactive content students can go through at their own pace, as well as acknowledging the fact students all start the modules at various levels of aptitude for a specific topic.
For example, assessments should be built into the training to verify students’ proficiencies. Students can take these assessments before starting a module to see if they really need to complete the module. Students can also continue to take assessments multiple times after completing the module to assess whether they have mastered the specific competency. Instructors can then use those results to cater office hours and instructor time to the topics the student needs most support on. In addition, since competency-based topics are not time-bound, students can continuously learn new skills when the need arises. This type of learning benefits companies by making their employees more adaptable to changes in the workplace – they can easily learn new competencies as needed to meet new business needs.
Want to learn more about how Qlik handles learner-centric training? Visit our Continuous Classroom!