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Mind the gap – Skill-gap testing in eFront 4.5

Skill-gap Tests in eFrontPro

Your employees have skills — but are they mutliplying?

And what about the skills they lack? Do you know what those are? What kind of training will be needed to get your workforce ready to work on your next product line or to tackle a sudden business pivot? If you’ve got anything above a few dozen of employees, these questions can be quite hard to answer.

Or, rather, they used to be hard to answer. Because, as of last week, the latest update to your favorite Learning and Talent Development Platform, affectionately known as eFront 4.5, is here to help you answer exactly those kinds of questions, thanks to its brand new skill-gap testing engine.

Skill-gap testing 101

Skill-gap tests are exactly what they say on the tin: tests to determine any gaps in your learners’ skills. Who would have thought, right?

Similar to placement tests students have to take in order to be placed in the correct class for their level, skill-gap tests are designed to give you insight into your employees’ know-how of particular topics (or lack thereof).

Using this information, decision makers in your organization can work with instructors to create or adapt training programs to better respond to the company’s and its learners’ needs.

The results of skill-gap testing can also be used for employee (and potential/new hire) evaluation, job assignment (for promotions), and, last but not least, for assessing the efficiency of a completed training program.

Of course, besides assigning certain necessary courses to help fill in any learning gaps employees may have, skill-gap tests are equally important for the inverse: avoiding to burden employees with courses on stuff that they already have a good grasp on. Thεse complementary results of skill-gap testing work together to speed up Talent Development.

Skill-gap testing in eFront

Seeing that the feature is fresh out of the oven, you probably lack the skills to create skill-gap tests in eFront. Joking, well, kind of.

Fret not, however, because, as with most things in eFront, it’s really quite easy.

Just visit the brand new “Skill-gap tests” page in the administration panel, and click the “Add skill-gap test” button.

Skill-gap test in eFront

You’ll need to give your new test a name; list the skills that it’s supposed to test and the users that will have to take the test, though you can also select those later; and set a deadline for its completion. Last, but not least, you need to set an action for when a user fails the test, like suggesting specific courses to them.

The “Save and select questions” button, just as one would expect, saves the test and lets you select the questions it will include.

There are also a few more advanced settings that you’ll see on the test’s edit page. Those include standard settings that you’ll be familiar with from regular eFront tests (question traversal options, mastery score, time limit, etc.), but also the important, and exclusive to skill-gap tests, “Assign Skills” checkbox.

By checking that, you’re telling eFront to automatically assign learners any skills that they have successfully submitted answers for.

Skill-gap tests in eFront

Building your test

Populating a skill-gap test with questions is quite similar, actually almost the same, as populating a regular test. You get to choose from the question pool with your predefined question, add questions of various types, etc.

What’s different is that any question that you select and add to the skill-gap test can, optionally, be associated with one or more specific skills.

Skill-gap tests in eFront

At the moment you can only use questions already defined in your courses for your skill-gap test; though, of course, you can always add a new question to a course and have it immediately available for your skill-gap testing.

Questions that are not associated with any particular skill count towards all skills mentioned in the “Tested Skills” setting of your skill-gap test — as seen in the second image.

Skill-gap testing from the learner’s perspective

Depending on the test’s deadline setting, users assigned to it will either be forced to complete it upon their next login or merely be informed that there’s a test pending for them that needs to be completed before a specific deadline,  perhaps even at their own convenience, if you opted for the laxer “whenever” setting.

Skill-gap test in eFront - Notification

Similarly, users that complete a skill-gap test either get assigned its associated skills (in case they pass) or are shown a list of suggested courses that will help them build their skill set (if they do not pass).

Conclusion

In this post, we had a look at eFront’s 4.5 skill-gap testing functionality and went through the basic setup and use.

Skill-gap testing is a great weapon to have in your Talent Development arsenal, as it can really help you automate skill-gap analysis, and attend to knowledge and skill deficiencies in your organization faster and smarter.


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