A Better Way To Train: Synchronous, Active Learning

training is important
. Competence-based assessments are a great technology
training tool. At the outset, assessments permit trainees to test out of
training they do not need. By identifying competencies and deficiencies, assessments
serve as the basis for tailored training plans
. Assessments then validate
that training has been effective.
As formulated above, training occurs separate from the
competence-based assessments. It need not be this way. Competence-based
assessments can be paired with synchronous, active learning to deliver an
immediate, individualized training curriculum.
Synchronous learning is premised on immediate feedback. A
standard assessment runs the trainee through a series of tasks and returns a
score at the conclusion of the assessment. The scoresheet identifies what was
missed and serves as a guide to remedial training. By contrast, a training
assessment informs the trainee after each individual task whether or not they
performed the task correctly. If the trainee performs the task correctly, they
move on. If the trainee performs a task incorrectly, the trainee can hit a Back
button and then a Help button to get immediate training (e.g., a video
walkthrough). Once the training is complete, the trainee can try the task
again. A synchronous training loop is created:
The “try” links in the loop are the active component of the
learning. Rather than passively taking in a demonstration, active learning permits
the trainee to practice the target skill. How much practice is needed varies by
trainee. The advantages of active learning for skill acquisition and retention has
considerable support in the pedagogical
To provide a concrete example, imagine training on a simple Word
function like Turn Off Track Changes. Traditionally, a trainer or video would
demonstrate the steps. Depending on how in-depth they wanted to get, the
demonstration might take between 1 and 3 minutes. A trainee utilizing a
competence-based assessment and already familiar with the function would
perform the task in about 10 seconds. They could move directly to the next task
instead of sitting through unnecessary training.
A trainee unfamiliar with the function would still be
prompted to try to figure it out. That is, the live environment encourages them
to explore and engage. If they are unable to come to the right conclusion
through their own efforts, they are, upon hitting the Submit button, informed
that they did not perform the task correctly. They can then hit the Back and
Help buttons to go through the training. The trainee then re-attempts the task and,
if necessary, reviews the training, until they complete the task correctly. If
they prove unable to get it on their own, the trainee and the task demand the
personal attention of a professional trainer.
In the above scenario, every trainee eventually demonstrates
the ability to use the function. In traditional training, all we know is they
sat through a demonstration. Likewise, in traditional training, ever trainee
sits through every demonstration regardless of their pre-existing knowledge.
With competence-based assessments paired with synchronous, learning, total
training time is drastically reduced because no one has to re-learn that which
they demonstrably know.
Importantly, competence-based
assessments paired with synchronous, active learning do not replace
professional trainers. The machine is an augmentation that ensures that the
trainer’s time is properly leveraged. First,
we are in the nascent stages of computer-mediated training. There are very few
tools for which competence-based assessment and synchronous, active learning
are currently available. Second, even when the machine can deliver training
content synchronously, the content being delivered is still the product of
professional trainers. Third, computer-mediated training is an intermediary
step that identifies who requires live training. The assessment convinces the
user of the need and provides the trainer with a list of identified
deficiencies that the user has been unable to address through self-directed
I want to make training more efficient and effective because
I am so convinced of its importance.
“Legal rules and procedures, when placed alongside ever-changing
, produce professional challenges that attorneys must meet to
remain competent.” Training is essential to meeting these challenges.

Casey Flaherty
is a lawyer, consultant, writer, and speaker. He believes that there is a
better way to deliver legal services. Better for the clients. Better for the
legal professionals. Better for the bottom line. Casey is creator of the
Legal Technology Assessment, an integrated Basic Technology Benchmarking and
training platform. Follow Casey on
LinkedIn and on Twitter @DCaseyF.

See also:

Strategic Sourcing in Legal: The Service Delivery Review
Deep Supplier Relationships in Legal
Law Firm Realizations
Structured Dialogue in the Law Dept/Firm Relationship
The Role of Nontraditional Stakeholders in Deepening the Law
Dept/Firm Relationship

Better Way: Competence-Based Assessments

from Blogger http://thomassmithblog.blogspot.com/2015/08/a-better-way-to-train-synchronous.html


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