It’s not how much your corporate learners know, but how they use that newfound knowledge in their real lives. In this article, I’ll share 9 tips to develop competency-based online training for your organization.

How to develop effective competency-based online training

Competency-based online training centers on practicality and real-world application. Employees get the opportunity to master one skill, topic, or task before moving onto the next. This allows them to focus their full attention on talents and abilities they require in the workplace instead of having to absorb theoretical knowledge that fills up their mental schema, but doesn’t improve their productivity or proficiency. Here are 9 tips to develop effective competency-based online training.

9 Tips to develop competency-based online training
  1. Evaluate pre-existing knowledge and skill gaps

    You must know where to allocate your online training resources to achieve the desired results. This involves an in-depth analysis of current knowledge and skill gaps that hinder employee performance. Conduct e-learning assessments, on-the-job evaluations, and training needs analysis to identify the pain points. Then figure out how competency-based online training can alleviate the problem and give employees the targeted online training resources they require. You should also consider your Big Data, such as LMS reports that help you identify patterns.

  2. Identify core competencies that are valuable to your organization

    Organizations typically value certain skills or talents above others. This depends on their objectives, industry, and compliance issues. As such, you need to identify which core competencies are on your organization’s priority list. Do your employees need effective negotiation skills to hit their sales targets? Is IT troubleshooting a precious commodity to your company?

  3. Conduct frequent e-learning assessments to monitor learner performance

    Think of e-learning assessments as built-in progress trackers. Pre-assessments create the benchmark, while final exams indicate whether an employee is proficient. However, evaluating employees after each online training activity or module allows you to continually monitor employee development and intervene when necessary. For example, provide supplemental online training resources so that corporate learners can master the basics before advancing to the next topic.

  4. Align online training resources with job duties and tasks

    Competency-based online training centers on pragmatism rather than theoretical knowledge. Thus, online training resources should involve job duties, tasks, and essential skills. One of the key traits of competency-based online training is that it is extremely focused. Meaning that each online training activity explores a topic, task, or skill in greater detail instead of merely brushing over the discussion points so that employees can move on to the next online training course. Furthermore, online training resources must allow for real-world application so that corporate learners can build experiential knowledge and put it into context.

  5. Offer self-paced online training plans

    Employees are more likely to benefit from competency-based online training when they go at their own pace instead of having to keep up with peers who possess different skills or experience levels. Develop personalized online training contracts or plans that outline every step of the process but still give employees the power to choose their own online training activities and goals. Include relevant online training resources and individualized timelines so that corporate learners can achieve organizational objectives without competition becoming a detrimental factor. Every member of your organization gets the opportunity to create a plan that works best for them and their personal areas for improvement.

  6. Use real-world activities to improve practical proficiency

    The primary goal of any competency-based online training course is to impart knowledge that empowers employees and improves their productivity. Corporate learners are encouraged to participate in self-guided online training activities that involve real-world situations and challenges. Thereby, allowing them to put their skills into practice and gradually build on their existing knowledge. Include real-world examples, case studies, simulations, branching scenarios, and serious games to facilitate practical proficiency. These tools also give employees the chance to demonstrate their skills and strengths while highlighting weaknesses.

  7. Provide an online training library for ongoing development

    Employees need to refresh their memory and reinforce key concepts even after they’ve mastered each competency and proven their proficiency. As such, you should consider an online training library that encourages ongoing development. These microlearning online training repositories feature separate categories for every competency so that employees can quickly access the online training materials. You can also break the list into tasks and skills if they consist of more than one competency. For example, your IT techs must perform a diagnostic that ties into numerous skills, processes, and compliance protocols. As such, the diagnostic microlearning online training resources must feature all relevant competencies.

  8. Use e-learning feedback to create individualized competency resources

    Surveys, LMS metrics, and manager evaluations can help you develop personalized online training resources for your competency-based online training. For example, survey findings which show that a significant percentage of employees lack sufficient product knowledge or sales skills. In response, you deploy online training tutorials and video demos to help them achieve their sales targets and memorize product specs. You can also use focus groups and e-learning assessment results to gather the feedback you need.

  9. Create competency-based milestones to motivate employees

    A key component of competency-based online training is that it boils skills and task knowledge down to the basic elements. A long-term goal or outcome must be divided into more manageable milestones, each consisting of a complete learning unit. Milestones also help motivate employees, as they’re able to track their progress and handle one sub-topic at a time rather than having to examine multiple facets. In fact, it may be beneficial to let employees develop their own milestones based on organizational objectives. For instance, they must be able to perform a complex procedure by the end of the competency-based online training. Their personal milestones involve related skills and compliance topics that they need to demonstrate their proficiency, but currently lack.

Learning technologies have taken competency-based online training to a whole new level. Now you have the ability to evaluate task performance and practical skill application without putting your customer satisfaction scores at risk. You can even personalize the entire process so that employees get the online training resources they need to fill crucial skill gaps.

Are you in the market for a new Learning Management System with robust analytics and reporting features? Read the article 6 LMS Metrics eLearning Professionals Should Look For to discover the 6 most valuable LMS metrics that your Learning Management System should measure.

Author: Christopher Pappas

Christopher Pappas is founder of The eLearning Industry’s Network, which is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning Industry. Christopher holds an MBA, and an MEd (Learning Design) from BGSU. eLearning Blogger | EduTechpreneur | eLearning Analyst | Speaker | Social Media Addict