What is Skill Validation and Validated Skills Development

An introduction to the outcome-based learning methodology that's improving the effectiveness and adaptiveness of corporate training programs.

Skill development—it’s a pressing topic across organizations worldwide. The need for rapidly developing skills has a huge impact on how Learning and Development (L&D) leaders, training managers and Instructional Designers are approaching upskilling.

Despite the focus on skill development, obstacles such as access to up-to-date content, ineffective training programs or low engagement due to training relevancy hinder individuals and organizations from reaching their potential. These obstacles pose a serious risk to organizations—and not just from a revenue perspective, but from performance, productivity, efficiency and security standpoints as well.

Here's the good news about solving this business challenge:

Skills gaps can’t run rampant in organizations that have training programs designed to continuously assess, develop, apply and validate a person’s skills and competencies while also building their confidence.

What’s the foundation of a program like this called?

Validated skill development.

What is validated skill development?

Validated skill development (also called validated learning or skill validation) refers to the process of assessing, verifying and documenting an individual’s competencies in a specific area. Learners demonstrate their competency by putting into practice the concepts and skills they’ve learned in training. Essentially, it’s saying to learners: “We’ve provided you with the information, now show us that you know what you’re doing”. Individuals who successfully put knowledge into practice are considered job ready.

The process of validated learning happens first by individuals being presented with new skills or knowledge. Learners then are encouraged to experiment and practice with these new concepts to complete a certain goal or achieve a desired outcome. Learners’ efforts are then assessed to determine how well the goal was met. This skill data can then be used to improve the training content delivery method or the learner’s competency level. Learners can repeat the process as needed until they achieve the desired result.

Use cases for validated learning.

Validated skills development can be used in the different functional groups within an organization and across numerous use cases, including:

Skill validation and certification prep

At the end of a course or learning path, learners can validate they’ve mastered the material. It can highlight areas where  additional development may be needed. Skill validation and performance testing are better for assessing proficiency.

Job readiness

People can demonstrate proficiency by proving they can properly use a platform, tool or software by performing real-world scenarios in safe environments.

Technical sales enablement

Test technical sales teams’ knowledge on product features and functionality before meeting with customers. This builds a consistent, verified level of knowledge across sales teams, and increases chances providing a better customer experience.

Customer support for proprietary software

Ensure customer support reps are ready for all types of customer calls by testing their ability to resolve issues before they start work.

Ultimately, this approach better positions individuals to develop the knowledge and confidence needed to correctly complete on-the-job tasks or present polished software demos to customers or partners.

How validated skill development is used in training.

For example, you can have people go through a security challenge of setting up and hardening a new Windows environment. Using the information presented during training, individuals demonstrate that they can harden a live, non-production environment and submit their new work once finished for review.

Instructors can then review the learners’ work and determine if everything was set up correctly or if the learner needs more training in a specific area like building firewalls or implementing multi-factor authentication. This all happens during training, ensuring learners grasp cybersecurity measures before starting work.

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Customer example of skill validation in action.

In response to the rapidly changing cybersecurity industry, Comtech, a telecommunication company, and their CyberStronger team designed a training program with validated skill development at its core. Their strategy included using hands-on training labs powered by Skillable that were designed from real-world security threats. Users were then taught about how to properly defend against new cybersecurity threats and then directly applied that knowledge within the training lab. Learners are taken through a specific, tailored journey with built-in feedback so both learners and Instructors can monitor and validate progress.

Ultimately, the approach resulted in 90-95% of Comtech’s learners showing real-world proficiency in identifying and preventing cybersecurity threats.

Read the rest of the Comtech case study.

Validated learning provides skilling insights for leaders and guides learners on where their skills are strong or still need improvement.

This approach provides HR, L&D, training managers and Instructors a powerful way to enhance learners’ skills and increase their confidence in their job and role. And with more confident employees is a higher performing one.

And that’s just the beginning of what the approach offers.

Discover the top benefits of validated skill development.

End-of-lab score reports provide learner-specific feedback and recommended areas for improvement while L&D teams can analyze organization-specific skill data at scale.

This is just one example of what’s possible on Skillable’s platform.

Take the guesswork out of upskilling with Skillable.

Stop guessing where learners’ skills are or how effective your training strategy is and start assessing, developing and validating skills throughout the entire learning lifecycle.

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