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Developing competencies

Robert Frost defined education as "hanging around until you've caught on." Poets can get away with that kind of schedule, but most of us can't. Seasoned managers are aware that a competency is not merely cognitive knowledge and a modicum of skill—the level that might be picked up with a little hanging around. Anyone who has called an online help desk knows that.
     Whether the subject be bloodborne pathogens, cross-contamination in food preparation, regulations governing the sale of variable annuities, or programming a digital key telephone system (all topics we've worked on for clients), employees who lack what has come to be called emotional intelligence, for example, are not going to be able to handle some tasks. It follows that some competencies cannot be taught very well, or at all, by e-Learning—or by traditional classroom instruction, for that matter, but may respond to coaching and other small group methods.
     The task of developing competencies is often not simply training, but involves assessment, direction and supervision. Most of all, some competencies depend on real on-the-job experience (that sounds a lot like hanging around, doesn't it?) and a feedback or coaching system to support and shape those competencies.
     Determining whether the competency (and the corporate culture) is one that lends itself to
e-Learning, perhaps supported by group interaction and/or coaching, is not always an easy task. Some competencies, such as using a insurance ratebook to quote a premium for a relatively complicated coverage such as Disability Income
, are easily accomplished by e-Learning. Others are not. Our goal is to help you tell the difference.


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