The days of throwing general training modules and courses on the walls of your organization and hoping they stick are over.

Learners are not engaged by a one-size-fits-all approach, which can cause problems for many organizations’ cookie-cutter approach to remote learning.

When it comes to getting your employees up to speed on the issues and skills that matter most to your organizational growth, it may be advantageous for your learning and development (L&D) team to consider innovative ways to personalize learning paths. Testing your employees “out” and “up” can maximize your learning investment.

So what do “testing out” and “testing up” mean? Testing out is the more recognizable approach, and it means giving learners the opportunity to skip past what they already know. Many companies already have a test-out option for at least some of their training. Going a step further, testing up means creating effective learning paths to upskill your workforce using a personalized approach. Both testing out and testing up have a place in corporate learning. By offering workers a chance to test out of training they don’t need, and the ability to master new skills through testing up, an organization can optimize the corporate learning experience for both the workforce and the bottom line.

Making Personalization Work

Most companies don’t have the resources to train thousands of workers onsite. Likewise, most employees don’t have hours of free time to devote to training. eLearning programs, especially those for mandatory training, suffer from a bad reputation: Many are under the impression that an entire workforce sits through the same training at once, and takes a standardized test at the end. Some may walk away with a high score, but having gained no new skills or insight that can be applied to their daily work. If workers don’t use their training, they will forget 70% of what they learned within 24 hours and 90% of what they’ve learned within one month.

It’s more important than ever for workforce training to be timely, engaging, relevant, customizable and measurable. Short (15-minute) training modules with personalized content keep learners engaged without wasting their time. That personalized content could include simulations of real-world scenarios that give learners the chance to apply their training as they learn. A robust simulation-based learning platform uses a person’s decisions in these realistic situations to assess their ability to apply skills. This data is then used to personalize training on the fly. When learners know they’re gaining knowledge they can use, they stay motivated to upskill.

Testing Out in Action

Testing out is an effective way to measure what your workforce already knows. It can also save money and time when deciding who needs which certifications.

Large companies with workers scattered across the world rely on testing out options that are scalable to reach a global workforce, customizable to accommodate regulations that differ across countries, and easy to modify and redeploy as necessary — after all, training needs aren’t static.

Testing Up in Action

Immersive simulations engage learners with relevant scenarios and objectively assess their ability to apply skills in context. Diagnostic simulations provide skill scores that trigger additional learning. For example, a learner may demonstrate very high communication skills, but the simulation could identify a gap in their ability to build trust. This allows the learner path to be customized to modules targeting that particular skill.

A large technology consulting company recently leveraged immersive learning to drive a . Scaling from 5,000 to 100,000 learners, the skills assessments in the simulations are reducing seat times by 27% while delighting learners with a net promotor score (NPS) of 81. The organization is targeting $13 million in seat time savings delivering a return on investment (ROI) in a matter of weeks.

Measuring Progress

Personalized training accommodates different learning styles and keeps learners engaged. But how does an organization know workers are getting the upskill they need? Too often, learning management system (LMS) platforms build performance analytics as an add-on service to their platform. Learners don’t see what they’ve done and don’t get just-in-time information on their performance. Your L&D team needs a learning model that collects and integrates performance information into the learning experience.

In addition, soft skills — such as critical thinking, agile working and data-driven decision-making — are vital for a competitive workforce, but can be difficult to assess with conventional learning tools. Using an immersive learning simulation and assessment platform, the consultancy effectively defined workers’ proficiency and accurately measured how they applied knowledge.

The ability to aggregate data can also enable L&D teams to understand where there’s room for improvement in the training itself. In-depth data analytics enable L&D teams to analyze learners’ personalized learning paths to determine what leads to accelerated pass rates. Measuring skills enables organizations to pinpoint issues so they can be fixed.

Your organization is under pressure to stay competitive and comply with regulations. These challenges won’t disappear anytime soon, and you can’t beat them using the same old approaches to corporate training. It’s time to toss out the old methods. Testing out is a way to measure what your workforce already knows and deliver training only to the workers who need it. Testing up is the deeper learning model of the future. Leaders who are evaluating the ROI of their current learning programs or considering immersive solutions should partner with a learning simulation platform provider that can effectively deliver both.