I sat in a Learning Stage event that I wasn’t sure if it was going to be of interest or not and it ended up being something that was very simple, yet changed how I looked at a possible tool. It was about the concept of taking a person from the point of not having any experience around a skill and getting that person to a point of competency in about half the time you might normally take. They called it a Learning Mastery Roadmap.
The normal process usually involves first providing the learner with the fundamental basics. Then, you introduce the systems and processes with which they need to be familiar. Lastly, you offer activities and review the results of those activities. This design model can take a little bit of time – typically time the corporate world does not offer to learners.
LEARNING MASTERY ROADMAP
I had a chance to speak with Bill Parry of pdq-pro.com. Here is a video of what he shared with me. By the way, I took that dashing photo of Bill and his business colleague, Ed, on their web site.
Essentially, this roadmap lays out the skills a learner is expected to acquire and then you offer three things:
- Knowledge – What exists and where to find it
- Skills – Show them how to do the skills you need them to acquire
- Quality – Have the learners demonstrate to a facilitator that they now possess the skills you need them to have
Let’s take a look at the various items that help you develop your learning roadmap.
IDENTIFY THE ROLE
Your first goal is to define the job role you want to impact. The important thing to remember here is that this person needs to be productive in this role in 30-60 days (possibly less). Don’t define the role too wide and thus creating a situation for yourself that your learners can’t meet the goal. You are better off creating multiple sub-roles that create the single job role.
IDENTIFY THE MASTERS (ROCKSTARS)
Essentially, you need to define for yourself what excellence in this job role is. How can you expect a learner to be a rockstar without a picture of that mastery defined for them? You are looking for people that either are masters now or have been previously. These are also people that can take on the role of mentor, if needed.
WHO DOES THIS ROLE IMPACT?
Unfortunately, we often work in silos. An example of this might be Nicki and Mike. Nicki is responsible for order processing and Mike is responsible for order fulfillment
These two people may not ever speak or even know each other. But, the work the first one performs affects the work of the second person in the chain. Nicki is probably unaware that if she enters order information into the system incorrectly, Mike now has to spend an extra two hours dealing with the challenge created by the error.
What if you connected these two people during the training process? Would Nicki’s performance change if she was aware that a 1-minute double-check of the information on her end would save Mike a hours of rework? If they had some sort of connection, the door would be open for ongoing dialogue that may even improve the overall process for both parties.
WHAT DO THEY REALLY NEED TO DO?
Most job roles have 10-20 skills that make that role productive to the organization. Your goal, as a designer is to identify these skills and define them for your learner.
Remember, this is not about teaching someone everything they need to know. That is impossible. The goal is to get them QUALIFIED to do the role as soon as you can.
WHAT DO THEY NEED TO KNOW TO PERFORM THESE SKILLS?
Next, you identify the resources, physical skills, and decision making a person needs to have or be aware of to become qualified to perform the 10-20 skills you have defined as the minimum requirements for the job role.
Part of this step is also to identify the library of information for the learner. As they attempt to acquire the skills necessary, they need to know where to go to learn more.
Then, once you have this information, you design the program to deliver that content to them.
QUALITY CHECK YOUR LEARNERS
After a period of time, you need to identify if they are actually qualified to represent your brand in the way you need them to for them to be successful in their new role. Part of this process is defining the activities you need to administer to know that they are qualified. It might be as simple as spending 20 minutes face-to-face with the learner and asking them about situations, reviewing the results of the hunt for information, or physically watching them perform a required task to a specified acceptance level.
At the beginning of the training process, you can offer a job aid/verification tool. Essentially, it would define the role, define the various tasks they need to perform, along with the sub tasks. Offer ongoing certification of these skills by a supervisor or facilitator. Then, once the learner can demonstrate all of these tasks, they are qualified for the role and their manager can sleep well at night.
THIS SOUNDS PRETTY FAMILIAR, ACTUALLY…
It is not really a new concept – merely a new way of looking at existing ideas and repackaging it.
A really solid analogy the presenters offered was around the concept of a Cub Scout Merit Badge book. Each of the tasks is akin to each of the various badges. You perform the activities and someone verifies that you did it successfully. Then, you get a badge. If there are 10 skills, that equates to 10 badges. You get the 10 badges and you move on to the next level of skill.
HOW WILL I USE THIS?
I have two ways to immediately use this.
First, in my day job, I can work with our instructors to identify these roles and skills for our clients. Then, focus what we provide as our entry-level offerings around this type of model.
Second, for eLearning Deconstructed, this will eventually become a job aid we offer to you, our audience, that focuses on the various skill sets an eLearning professional needs to have to be effective in their roles. Then, over time, we will probably develop a system that allows you to go through our content and qualify yourself to move on to the next phase of your career growth. Along with this, it seems that we would need to develop a way for us to certify your skill acquisition if you want that that level of assistance. Look for this tool in the not too distant future – It’s a good idea for us!
If you consider yourself an eLearning or ID professional, please share with us some of the things you think might need to be on this Top 20 skills list for the various roles in our profession.