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6 easy steps to integrate a foundation skills catalogue in corporate training

Foundation skills encompass the core skill sets people need to be successful in business today. They provide the foundations for general business literacy. In a modern, corporate environment where we need to be flexible to thrive, these foundation skills catalogues provide the necessary tools.

The advantages of foundation skills catalogues

Foundation skills catalogues are made up of e-learning modules covering a wide range of subjects essential to employees at all levels.  They are created to a high standard by industry experts and can be used to drive up standards within your organisation. They represent best practice not simply in the content they deliver, but also in the way they optimise learning, retention and transferability of skills. They incorporate best practice in learning design to attract and engage learners and make the subject matter relevant to the tasks people need to perform.

Catalogues are constantly updated and expanded to cover new areas and to keep pace with the changing corporate environment.  They come ready to use but can also be customised to reflect an organisation’s culture and priorities.  The range of skills offered helps plug gaps in performance and their quality ensures a consistent approach across all skills areas, raising standards across the board.

But while foundation skills training catalogues come ready to use and can be plugged into your existing training programmes and systems, you still need to consider how best to integrate them fully into your organisation’s L&D and corporate training.  Here are some basic steps to make that happen.

1. Look at what you have and what you need

Before you can properly integrate foundation skills training catalogues into your corporate training infrastructure you need to do some preparatory work.  This means primarily identifying where your skills gaps lie and assessing what training content and systems you have in place already. Where do these new elearning modules fit?  How can they be delivered and tracked? How ready is your digital infrastructure?

The fundamental message here is don’t replace what’s working, but instead, identify places where the new skills catalogue provides a solution.  The catalogues should enhance, not replace your existing training provision. For that to work, you need the involvement of your L&D team. This isn’t about pushing them to one side, but rather giving them additional tools to do their job.  And their expertise will be vital in assessing the various elearning modules and working out where and how best to deploy them. It’s L&D too who will drive any customisation of the catalogue.

2. Motivate your learners

Simply making the foundation skills elearning training available won’t ensure that people will use it, no matter how good or well-designed it is.  There needs to be a concerted push to roll out the training. This should involve explaining why it’s being introduced, stressing its relevance to the organisation and making it a requirement for those in need of training.

This drive can begin with new employees at the onboarding stage.  It’s important to make them see that training is part of working within the organisation and not just a nice-to-have or something to be endured then forgotten.  

But don’t forget about established employees.  These may be harder to motivate. One way of overcoming resistance from this significant cohort – remember, the greater the experience the more influence people have over their colleagues – is to tie foundation skills training to a CPD scheme.  CPD offers recognition and reward and can be a pathway to career development.

eLearning modules are also designed to be self-paced and learner-centric, so if you can motivate people to take them, they will find they offer far greater involvement and control than traditional instructor-led training.  The modules give people the opportunity to be more responsible for their own training and the option of taking it when (and where) it suits them.

3. Improve access to the right material

The appeal of self-directed learning will only be fully realised if you facilitate access to training.  The advantage of digital content is that it can be delivered across systems on a variety of devices. This flexibility makes it possible for people to access Foundation Skills Training when and where they need it.

Given the ubiquity and portability of mobile devices, it makes sense to encourage people to use them in their training.  Also, by providing your own approved content on these devices you reduce the reliance on search engines and information-sharing websites as a source of quick, but potentially unreliable information.  In forestalling these random quests for information and enabling access to the right information, you help standardise knowledge and procedures across the organisation. So, you’re both opening access to knowledge and guiding people to reliable sources.

4. Re-use and re-purpose content

To make training fully accessible across devices and platforms, you need to make sure your content is adapted and adaptive.  One of the clear benefits of digitised content is its flexibility and adaptability. Make sure you consider options to re-use content and to re-purpose it so that it’s usable in a variety of circumstances.

You can, for example, break up the skills training modules and reconstitute them as a set of resources for reference.  They can be repackaged as FAQs for quick reference on the job. Quizzes can be created to test prior knowledge or equally as a form of summative assessment tied to some formal recognition of attainment like CPD.

Using and reusing content in imaginative ways helps make learning a more personal experience, allowing learners to identify and meet their own learning needs.  It also configures training in general from being a one-off, one-size-fits-all event to a process that is continuous. This helps break the cycle of training, forgetting and re-training.  It increases access and helps realise the vision that training is part of work.

5. Move training in the workflow

Removing barriers between work and training is critical if we’re to create a workforce that is flexible and skilled enough to meet and embrace change.  Making training a component of work can be more easily achieved if training and learning sit inside the workflow.

This represents a departure from the traditional dichotomy between the two, where first you do the training and then you do the job.  If we were to up- or re-skill our people, we need to re-imagine training and work as a single component that is constantly recharged.

From an organisational perspective, this means integrating training into general work processes and structures.  It makes sense to have foundation skills modules fully available and accessible on the job, just in time and at the point of need.  There’s no better way of demonstrating the relevance of training than to use it to support performance directly in the arena of work, fully integrated into the workflow.

6. Evaluate and re-evaluate

The final step is not to rest on your laurels.  We’ve seen how adaptable foundation skills elearning can be, but that doesn’t mean the solution to your training requirements is complete.  

You need to make sure that you build evaluation into your virtuous circle of continuous training.  This means analysing learner completion, access and achievement data to know what’s working and, equally important, what isn’t.  Analyse the findings and use them to anticipate changes and foresee gaps (particularly if skilled staff are leaving or you’re hiring a new batch of employees).  Make sure you avail of the regular updates and extensions to the training catalogue and give feedback to the providers on what new areas you need to be covered.

In a corporate environment that requires continuous learning, you can’t and mustn’t stand still.

Full integration

Foundation skills training catalogues provide the basis for continuing development of both the organisation and the people that work there.  Integration maximises the benefits that the catalogues offer. The introduction can start at the onboarding stage, but it needs to be continued to every area of the organisation, bringing training fully into the workflow. Breaking down the false wall between training and working provides the key to establishing learning as a continuous process ready to meet current skills gaps and future challenges in corporate training.

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