6 Takeaways from Skillable’s “Better Way to Learn” Webinar

Completion-based training isn’t meant for today’s digital world. The future is performance-driven, evidence-based upskilling.

One of the main questions learning and development (L&D) professionals are being asked today is whether learners have the skills needed to complete on-the-job work. That question may not always be answerable—even with data. The reality is, so long as organizations are relying on completion-based training, it’s difficult to tell whether learners are truly skilled or not.

This was the topic of a recent webinar hosted by Skillable’s Danny Abdo and Ashley Neace and Pearson VUE’s Bryan Ochs, The Better Way to Learn: Shifting from Completion-based to Evidence-based Skills Validation. The discussion was focused on the limitations of completion-based training and why it’s time to make the switch to evidence-based training, an approach that provides proof of learners’ current skills. By making the switch, organizations can lessen the impact of the shortening half-life of skills.

1. The half-life phenomena has created a need for a skills-based mentality.

Skills don’t last like they used to. General skills have been found to last about five years, but tech skills last less than three years. The shortening lifespan of skills happens for a few reasons, including:

  • New and emerging technology causes job roles and skills to shift and employees to learn, or unlearn, skills which is also creating skill shortages.
  • The rapid pace of digital transformation creates a need for a continuous learning cycle.
  • Traditional training programs not capable of providing the environments to properly develop technical and digital skills.

To combat the shrinking lifespan of skills (and to stay competitive), organizations need to rethink “show and tell” training. Refocusing on hands-on learning enables organizations to attract, engage, skill and retain employees more effectively which reduces skills gaps and the impact of the IT skills shortage.

2. The IT skills shortage impacts several areas of your business.

According to IDC, the IT skills shortage has a deep impact on everything from product development to revenue growth. Their research also found that 45% of companies experienced a delay in developing new products or services and 44% had a delay in deploying new software/hardware due to lack of IT skills. 

Ultimately, the IT skills gap caused 38% of companies to experience a loss in revenue, something that could be avoided by implementing skills-based practices.

3. Traditional training can't keep up with shifting skills needs. Challenge-Centric Learning can.

The rapid pace at which technology is changing means organizations need to rapidly upskill and reskill employees or risk being left behind. Traditional training approaches simply can’t keep up with this rate of change. Pursuing a challenge-centric learning approach and evidence-based training, on the other hand, can.

Using real-world scenarios that assess tasks and skills proficiency, supported by scoring reports and in-depth data highlight exactly where individual learners are excelling and where they need additional help. Rather than wasting time teaching learners skills they’re already proficient in, Instructors or training managers can focus efforts where it’s needed. This increases learners’ speed to proficiency, allowing them to be more confident and job ready faster.

4. Validated, hands-on learning is the key to creating confident learners.

With revenue and product development at stake, it’s risky to assume learners have the necessary skills to perform work. Moving from completion-based training (where learners mindlessly check off boxes or click-through presentations) to evidence-based reduces that risk.

Learners “prove what they know” by completing real-world scenarios with the same tools they’ll be using on the job that are scored. Providing learners with more opportunities for hands-on learning coupled with validation increases learner engagement, retention and confidence, and increases the effectiveness of business’ training programs.

5. Bringing modern hands-on experiences to training strategies is easier than you think.

When L&D stakeholders and learners hear “labs” they picture, or remember, hands-on experiences that were:

  • Difficult and expensive to scale
  • Experiences designed “to work” rather than to effectively teach learners
  • The activities weren’t focused on validating skills, more following perspective instructions


This is not the case with modern hands-on experiences and virtual training labs. The reality is that evidence-based learning is entirely attainable—and choosing the right tool.

For example, Skillable’s platform includes tools that enable you to track, measure and validate learners’ skill where and when you want to include a hands-on event. Capabilities like scored assessments and real-time feedback provide evidence of where learners’ skills are at and where they need more training.

Additionally, Skillable’s experiences range from beginner to expert, allowing users to start on the difficulty they’re most comfortable with and move on to the next one once they’ve mastered skills. This ultimately provides learners with a more scalable, personalized learning experience.

End-of-lab score reports for immediate feedback.

6. How Pearson VUE, the largest test provider, uses skills validation to improve exam readiness.

Pearson VUE uses hands-on validated learning to help their customers with exams and exam preparation. On the exam side, the organizaiton has found that validated hands-on experiences provide a more immersive learning experience for students. “It makes so much more sense going through an exam when you actually experience the technology,” Byran Ochs, Pearson VUE’s director of product management, said. “Because the questions are not just memorization…it provides a higher level of mastery.”

When preparing for exams, students have more opportunities to actively experiment with software or technology which increases both learning retention and engagement. Bryan describes how Skillable Challenges has helped improve certification exams: “What we’ve seen with Skillable Challenges which we’ve incorporated into our certification prep offering is the ability to have a very flexible lab approach. It provides a flexibility you don’t have with a traditional lab product because you can use it at a self-paced, Instructor-led or even a hybrid format which has worked great for our customers.”

Additionally, students can clearly see how technology will be used in real-situations, making prep work more real and applicable. “It’s a great way to provide potential test takers with not only the knowledge and skills they need but a confidence booster as well,” Bryan said. “Learners can say: ‘I’ve seen this concept enough different times that I feel very confident about actually performing it in the test.’.”

How to bring performance-driven learning and evidence-based skills validation to your organization.

Now is the time for organizations to leave behind completion-based training methods and towards evidence-based learning. Creating learning/training opportunities that leverage this methodology enable organizations to not only identify skills gaps, but create targeted, adaptive and hands-on skills development opportunities.

Skillable helps you get started with scored labs that not only provide hands-on practice, but also validate learners’ progress throughout the entire skills development lifecycle. Skills are then mapped to an organization’s larger skills taxonomy which more effectively uncovers skills gaps/deficiencies and highlights where training can be improved.

This is just a portion of what was covered during the webinar. Watch the whole discussion here for more information on hands-on, validated skills development, experiential learning and how to bring the approach to life.

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