Monday, April 3, 2017

Learning Pathways (eLearning Trends 1 of 5)

In the oil and gas industry, the need to stay up-to-date with skills and safety training and regulations is critical. Any gaps between what workers know and what they should or are required to know increases risks to safety, productivity, quality, and compliance. A single gap can seriously jeopardise every safety and quality improvement effort and a company’s good standing with regulatory compliance agencies. Along with global organisations in all sectors, the oil and gas industry is facing challenges to training and development from dwindling budgets, limited resources, and a changing workforce. Forward looking companies know that they must leverage technology in smarter ways to help lower costs, mitigate risks and strengthen their development ambitions. 

Intelligently incorporating the eLearning functionality of learning pathways, means doing just that. Rather than just offering a “one size fits all” approach, learning pathways offer new ways to structure learning content to accommodate each learner’s unique needs. Personalising the learning pathways leads to accelerating the time it takes to develop proficiency. In fact, Learning Paths have been proven to reduce time to proficiency by 30-50%. [Williams, Jim; Rosenbaum, Steve (2004). Learning Paths Increase Profits by Reducing the Time it Takes Employees to Get Up-To-Speed. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.]  By integrating personal learning pathways into training and development, oil and gas organisations could see reduced time-to-proficiency, reduced costs, and achievement of their compliance and organisational goals.

The basic goal of implementing learning pathways is to lead learners to proficiency in the most efficient way. Two fundamental principles form the basis to create this efficiency:
  1. Only train the learner on what they need to know.
  2. Do not train them on what they already know Learning pathways do this by tailoring the content to the learner.
The Content:
First, the knowledge requirements for each job role must be defined in a curriculum. Each job role has specific knowledge that is required to fulfil the job role with proficiency. In eLearning, these specifics can be segmented and mapped into learning modules. By defining what learning modules would fulfil the knowledge requirements we now have the entire content and can create a pathway starting from the most basic knowledge to full proficiency. Additional requirements can be managed and tracked in the pathway such as site-specific parameters, pre-requisites, re-training time frames and alternate courses.

Tailoring to the Learner:
Next, the learner’s proficiencies and gaps must be determined. A mastery assessment/pre-test compares each individual’s knowledge to the job-specific knowledge requirements identifying gaps and proficiencies. Once the individual’s unique knowledge gaps are identified, a personal learning path is dynamically and automatically generated to close those gaps. Proficiencies allow the individual to move ahead without taking training they don’t need. A personal learning pathway is created for each learner to progress to complete proficiency in all required job-specific knowledge. The technology makes this a dynamic environment that responds to changes in abilities and provides immediate feedback to learners. The choice regarding which learning modules need review and which have been mastered is not left up to the discretion of a supervisor, or even the learner themselves. All knowledge needed for the job, as well as the unit and site (including best practices and compliance mandates), is conveyed to every learner in that job role at a pace that suits each learner. Rather than following a ‘A to B to C path,’ any areas where the learner is already proficient are excluded and the topics where he/she is not will be remediated. 

For example, suppose a job requires the ability to perform math calculations. It would be a waste of both the learner’s and the company’s time to be trained on basic math skills when he/she can already add, subtract, divide and multiply at a high school level. Instead, having demonstrated math proficiency in a mastery assessment, the personal learning pathway moves that learner on to higher level math operations.

The personal learning pathway is more than a just a series of steps that lead to the learner being able to reproduce knowledge or action. It allows individualised pathway that only delivers training needed, not skills already mastered. It’s a focused approach that uses time and resources far more efficiently. 

The result is an eLearning environment that accommodates each learner and can deliver:

  •     Efficiency – Learners are up-to-speed and ready for work in less time
  •     Reduced costs - Elimination of time wasted on redundant or unnecessary training
  •     Competency and Compliance - Gap identification and remediation assures competency and compliance with safety and regulatory training
For information on how PetroSkills RDC Solutions uses Differential Learning to create learning paths>>
Our Differential Learning methodology assesses each learner's range of existing knowledge, identifies knowledge gaps, and prescribes an appropriate learning path that delivers targeted content to achieve and maintain 100% proficiency. These personal learning paths eliminate redundant or unnecessary training activities and provide learners the opportunity to learn more efficiently. This approach reduces learner time-to-proficiency and develops a better qualified workforce.
Differential Learning incorporates:

  •     Mastery Assessments
  •     Knowledge Gap Identification
  •     Dynamic Personal Learning Plans
  •     Remediation to 100% Proficiency
Robert Cooper, Solutions Manager at PetroSkills - UK, Europe & Middle East