The Necessity of Hands-on Learning Experiences
Reinforce skill development, improve skill retention and accelerate job readiness by providing safe practice environments.
Organizations need better ways to assess and validate skills, and learners need more opportunities to practice applying new skills in safe, live environments.
Today’s corporate training programs bring learners thousands of hours of on-demand videos and multi-day classes designed to transfer knowledge and concepts, but the opportunities to practice what they’ve learned have been limited. One of the problems both learners and organizations face is around skills validation and knowing if they’re building and applying skills correctly and can demonstrate that they can do the job.
It’s time to get back to the best way to develop, practice and validate skills: hands-on learning.
However, the entire industry has faced obstacles of scalability, accessibility and cost, but those are now in the past with the advancements and maturity of hands-on learning platforms.
And here’s why it’s critical you incorporate hands-on learning and performance-driven learning metrics into your training ecosystem:
Traditional training isn't equipped for today's rate of change.
To equip employees, customers and partners with lasting skills, organizations need to provide practical training based on real-life scenarios and tools used in their roles along with effective assessment and validation of skill development.
Rapid digital transformation is shortening the lifespan of skills.
As organizations transform worldwide, the demand for technical knowledge and skills continues to grow. It’s even stunting growth as 54% of global organizations report talent shortages are preventing them from expanding. For Learning and Development (L&D) teams, this creates a need for increasing digital dexterity, or, in other words, creating ways for employees to learn and utilize new digital tools quickly. Additionally, the rate at which technology and software are changing has shortened the lifespan of skills, with most tech skills lasting only two and a half years.
Unlike passive methods, hands-on learning enables people to put their training into action and practice what they’ve learned. High-quality hands-on experiences challenge learners to solve real-world problems using real-world tools, a method that strengthens retention and learner confidence. Additionally, hands-on skill development shortens the time to skill mastery with immediate feedback, assessments and/or scored reports. With this data, L&D and training managers can pinpoint where to focus future training efforts, ensuring learners have the skills the organization needs to accomplish key objectives.
Knowledge-based training doesn’t mean skills are job-ready.
Learners can complete numerous training courses, but until skills are put to the test, there’s no meaningful way of telling how well they can apply their skills. If learners are put into your live work environment unchecked, it can lead to:
- Increases in errors and misconfigurations
- Growing frustration and/or stress
Which can then lead to problems, including:
- Delays in projects or hitting milestones
- Increased operating costs due to errors/misconfigurations
- Decreased productivity/efficiency
- Security incidents and breaches
- Higher employee turnover
- Drain on managers
- Ability to build strong teams
- Lower customer satisfaction and/or employee morale
“Hands-on keyboard” learning increases skills retention and learner engagement. By keeping learners actively involved in the learning process and encouraging them to critically think through how to solve the problem or challenge, it results in higher knowledge and skill retention, but it also builds more confident learners.
How hands-on learning benefits learning and development teams.
With the right tools, L&D teams can generate and capture organization-specific data to build tailored and adaptable learning programs. They can leverage automated scoring to validate if a learner can properly perform a skill or series of skills instead of using resources such as Instructors to manually check a learner’s work. This frees Instructors, Instructional Designers and other L&D staff to provide higher-value support to learners or build new training materials.
Move from knowledge checks to skill demonstration and validation.
For example, Skillable’s scored labs provide learners and Instructors with end-of-lab reports, highlighting where individuals excelled and where more training is needed.
These insights move you away from knowledge checks to skill application. Individuals are demonstrating they have both learned the material and can correctly apply it to a real on-the-job scenario..
What are the types of hands-on learning experiences available today?
- Sandbox environments
- Step-by-step labs
- Scored labs
- Automated scored labs
- Collaborative labs
- Attack/defend simulations
- Red vs. blue team scenarios
When evaluating different tools and hands-on learning platforms, it’s critical for organizations to identify their desired training outcomes. Are you looking to improve security? Increase job preparedness? Fast-track training? Whatever it is, it’s crucial to define your final outcomes upfront as this will not only help you choose the right tool/platform for your organization, but also meet business objectives.
Ready to get the outcomes you want with hands-on learning?
With skills not lasting as long as they used to and the need for digital dexterity, hands-on learning has become a critical component of accelerating skills development.
With Skillable, you’ll have the capabilities and support needed to deliver hands-on learning experiences, creating practice environments and offering skill assessment and validation for your entire workforce, customers and partners.
And you’re closer than you think.