Performance, Assessments and OTJ Assignments

Jane Hart posted ABC: Keep it Simple Training a few days after my post on Business performance vs Certification requirements. The similarities between them strengthen my case and in her post Hart shares a link to Jane Bozart’s Nuts and Bolts: Design Assessments First that also makes an interesting case for starting with assessments instead of the content.

Lets start by looking at connecting performance goals with the assessment. With a blend of Kirkpatrick (the 4 levels) and Cathy Moore’s Action mapping we also get the idea of really starting with the business side of things, e.g. success indicators, business outcomes, critical behaviors and KPI’s etc. If you have all of these you should start asking yourself “what does the employee need to do?”. These should not be transformed into academic learning objectives but left as they are – as story questions.

“(…) poorly written or academic learning objectives drive assessment items. Objectives that use verbs such as “list,” “define,” and “describe” practically force the designer to load bulleted content onto slides, followed up with a multiple-choice test or Jeopardy!-style quiz. The content is easy to write, and bullet, and test … but the items aren’t testing performance.”

Jane Bozart

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The manager connects the pieces of 70-20-10

 “Practice doesn’t make perfect: it only makes it permanent. Practice is repetition, and if you repeat the same mistakes over and over again, you will just become very good at making mistakes. Along the way, you might learn a thing or two. Some single individual might get a revelation and be hailed as a genius. But for the most of us practice only make us good at doing something bad. If perfection is your goal – and I’m not sure it should be – then it is practicing perfection that makes perfect.”

David duChemin

What the best-selling author and photographer David duChemin says rings true to me and this strikes me as something that has been indirectly suggested in posts from my fellow L&D bloggers, but it hasn’t been expressed properly. I’m not bashing anyone but it deserves to be properly announced:

For the 70-20-10 model to work as intended in a workplace setting it needs a manager holding it all together. The manager is what connects the pieces of 70-20-10.


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Business performance vs Certification requirements

Training and formal learning of any kind is nowadays seen as something old-fashioned or an necessary evil. Old-fashioned because of course it should be social, through networks rather than hierarchies, extracted from work instead of added to work etc. However, in some businesses we’ve got something called certification requirements. You’re not allowed into the customer’s facility without that badge of certification to do any repairs or whatnot.

This is when we come back to the “necessary evil” side of formal learning. For your employees to be allowed to enter your customer’s facilities they need to be formally certified. This is the Why and the What but it’s not as clear cut regarding the How. I suggest the following:

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From Training to Performance partners

Browsing the web in search for insightful people I’ve came across Kirkpatrick partners (yup, the guys behind the 4 levels of measuring). Jim and Wendy Kirkpatrick wrote an inspiring post a few days ago – Learning Is Not the Holy Grail – and this post of mine is based on their post and extended with my own thoughts as well as those of Jane Hart and Robert O. Brinkerhoff.

Table Set for Seder

“You can find recipes, buy ingredients, set a table, and prepare dishes. What you can’t do is guarantee that people will eat your food.”


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Work-based learning

Niklas Angmyr’s (@Nilkas_Angmyr) model of Competence – Ability – Performance is interesting by itself and also in relation to my Multi-layer Learning. (His model is described in detail in Swedish on Niklas’ blog Below is my expanded version of his model.

Some key notions or starting points of mine; Knowledge cannot be stored. It’s more of a cracked pot that needs continuous watering for the plant of competence to grow. Competence is seen as knowing how to put one’s knowledge into fruition and Ability is to actually DO something with the knowledge and Performance is when you analyze the result.

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Multi-layer learning

This post follows the previous “How to make sure you don’t waste valuable time”.

We want to stop wasting the valuable time when we’re in a classroom by relocating all theory to a prelearning part of the program. In theory, no pun intended, this would leave the most expensive form of learning to focus on hands-on, tinkering with real machines and experimenting one one’s own.

So, how do we assure this isn’t just creating information dumps on each side of the smoking hot classroom?

First of all, it all has to be in the form of a clearly defined learning program. Everyone should know the path from “zero to hero”, what’s required of them in each step of the way and, lastly, how it’s all connected. Second, all content must be delivered in its own optimal way. There’s not a “one-size fits all”-solution, but more “This content should be a video, this should be in a PDF, this should be in both a webinar and an e-learning module and THIS…” etc. Third, this has to be allowed to take time. Learning isn’t a one-time-event and never will be. There’s not a magic pill that will ingest knowledge to the swallower. However, to sell this fact to the managers we need to make it clear for everyone involved that… Continue reading

How to make sure you don’t waste valuable time

Now, where could I find a bit more time to waste?

At my company the classic learning approach has been to have learners travel the globe to take 3-5 days courses in “how to repair this machine”. In some cases we’ve shipped the equipment and our instructor instead but the fact is that every bit of learning (or teaching) has been instructor lead and on-location.

Two things have happened the last 6 months that has gotten us to rethink this whole approach. The first eye-opener was that, after some analyzing of the numbers, we realized that the only reason we’ve gotten by as long as we have is that our customer stock – other companies within the group – haven’t asked for, or ordered, as much courses as they’re paying for beforehand. If that would happen, we saw with dread, we’d have to conduct five times as many courses as today. Since we’re barely making things work as is, that just wouldn’t work. Not to mention the fact that we don’t have five times as many classrooms or available training equipment.

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10 Key Learning Technology Trends

I was interviewed by Kineo’s MD, Steve Rayson, a couple of weeks ago as part of the work to create an e-learning insights report. Other interviewees were BP, Barclays, BBC, Vodafone, McDonald’s UK, British Army and many others. The report was published last week and, I must say, I really like what’s in there! That’s why I’m doing this walk-through of the 10 trends and I’ll start it of by using their own YouTube video.

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