Changing the E-Learning Narrative

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Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Competency-Based Learning and the Future of Instructional Design

Your career needs are always evolving. It’s the nature of life and business, as technology and skill requirements have to rapidly adapt to shifting circumstances. The only constant is change, and to thrive through that change as an individual or part of a team, you have to learn. How you choose to develop personalized and memorable training programs will have a marked impact on your future.

Your Learning Development Goals

The more specific you can get, the better your results tend to be. That is the basic principle of competency-based learning, training for specific traits that build better job performance. What are you trying to learn? How are you trying to learn it? These are simple questions with profound implications for your future. Which skills and training are essential to career path, which are frivolous, and which aren’t currently needed but might be useful later? What modules are used and how are they being introduced and applied?

The correct combination of experts, methodology, and technology can build a comprehensive online education experience for any vertical. Make no mistake, crafting the correct approach to fit a holistic skills development program is an involved process, but that is precisely what makes it so worthwhile. A well-rounded competency-based learning module doesn’t just ask students to retain facts. It utilizes case studies and scenarios that drive home the real-world applications, while specially designed assessments measure the student’s practical problem-solving ability with the acquired knowledge.

E-Learning to Meet Specific Needs

Since it’s inception, online learning has been a volume business, with MOOC modules that don’t take individual progress or ability into consideration. MOOC’s, or Massive Open Online Courses, form the bulk of the e-learning marketplace. Because of lax, generalized admissions standards, course enrollment in these programs can number in the hundreds of thousands. Some MOOC’s are crafted by reputable institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, and MIT, but even these are frequently distributed by third-party providers that offer little to no opportunity for feedback from actual faculty. While such courses can impart information on a specific subject through slides or video lectures, they severely limit the opportunity for specialized assessment. Quizzes are often automatically graded, with the individual strengths or requirements of students and real-world applications of learned skills not taken into account.

In contrast, competency-based learning modules offer the opportunity for targeted learning development. Whether for personal goals or as a manager of others in need of instruction, you’ll have the ability to identify knowledge gaps and chart the best course for skill advancement through custom plans. This will give both individuals looking to learn and firms looking to find training options a faster and more intuitive grasp of advancement timetables, and of their own or others’ potential to get results, mastering the needed skills or maturing into a future position.

An Opportunity for Change in Instructional Design

Covid-19 has already disrupted the traditional education models of many institutions. Mandatory school and college campus closures have kept as many as 1.6 billion students worldwide from attending class in person, many of them young, aspiring professionals in post-secondary and continuing education programs. The classroom model for education has stayed more or less static for the last century, and that there is little potential for personalized learning in that setting. According to a detailed report by the World Economic Forum, an estimated 65% of students currently entering primary education will end up working in fields that don’t exist yet. Individuals and firms looking to stay relevant through the span of these generational changes must look to the flexibility of their training programs. As online courses become more vital than ever, now is the time to look at the implementation of new standards of competency-based learning that do not simply mimic old models.

With the world facing an uncertain future, tailored skills training and online learning are becoming more vital than ever. Competency-based learning doesn’t just build a culture of adaptability, it helps mold employees who know how to learn, who feel comfortable rising to new challenges, and have the personal investment of acquired skills and knowledge in your company.

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