Employees need to both see how training helps them master new skills and continue learning on the job. How can we get learners to recognize progress without making them complacent?
Self-assessment, done properly, can accomplish both goals. One exercise that works in classroom and online settings is called Learning Barometer. Here's how to do it:
- At the start of your program, show participants a five-point scale. For example, you could use facial expressions, such as a growing smile—the first point shows a frowning face and the fifth shows a giant grin. In the classroom, draw this on a flipchart or slide. When working online, place these images on a slide.
- Ask class members to evaluate their confidence with your subject matter against the scale. For example, in a course on Excel, you could say, "Use this barometer to rate your confidence level with Excel on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being not confident at all and 5 being extremely confident."
- Ask learners to document their ratings. When using a flipchart, have learners mark their answers on sticky notes and place them in their participant guides. Online, have them respond through chat or indicate directly on the slide with their pointer tools.
- Debrief by stressing that you don't expect everyone to reach the top of the scale by the end of the course, because it would be an unrealistic leap.
- Ask learners to repeat the activity at the end of the program, reminding them of the expectations you set earlier. If they started at a 1 or a 2, explain that it's OK to leave the course as a 3 or 4 because they can apply learning on the job to reach the next level.
You don't have to use faces for your learning barometer—be creative.
One idea is to use a mountain. In this example, place the bottom of the confidence scale at the foot of the mountain and the top at its peak. Then, you can tell learners that even if they don't reach the peak during your class, they can still keep climbing.