In a recent article posted on HRM Canada, Koreen Pagano, the Product Management Director at D2L identified “seven major trends dictating the online learning space”. Naturally, we were intrigued not only to learn, but to shamelessly see how our Underwriting Training Program stacked up !
Before we delve into the seven online learning trends and rate ourselves (shamelessly, remember), it’s important to consider what type of learning we are discussing. Usually when we think of learning, we harken back to grade school (awkward), high school (totally not awkward acid-washed jeans), or post-secondary (Frisbee in the quad!!).
This type of learning is fundamentally the same as it’s been for 3000 years - the “sage on the stage” model. One expert/teacher/professor lecturing to students. The benefits of this style are well documented (it’s been around for over 3000 years for a reason!!), but it’s important to note how vastly different learning experiences have become with the advent of modern technology. In fact, most would argue we don’t even truly know how we all learn online given how relatively new we are to it.
In addition, there are many different types of learners and our learning styles evolve as we exit the ‘traditional’ academic settings we are used to, and enter into professional workplaces where training and education becomes much more hands on, experiential, results and performance-oriented. With all this confluence of factors happening, any online learning in its nature needs to be flexible, fluid, adaptable, self-critical, and ready to change with its users.
With that said, let’s circle back to the seven trends Pagano identified above, and see how LOGiQ3’s online Underwriting program stacks up:
1 - Video Based Learning
Phew, right out of the gate we’re in good shape!! All courses that make up our Underwriting program are all delivered exclusively through video. The student never has to be online at a specific time, and can pause and start again whenever it’s convenient for them. This means our courses are designed to be completed around the learner’s work and personal life responsibilities. Plus, our videos feature actual Underwriters walking the student through how to assess risk when fielding life insurance applications.
2 - Personalization
In the article, Pagano notes “now, learning is focused on developing each individual’s skills, and creating career paths to drive engagement, improve those skills, and make both the organization AND the individual successful”. We have designed our Underwriting Training Program in a way that addresses both the organization and the individual through defined, clear learning paths for the Junior, Intermediate, and Senior underwriters.
Mirroring the Junior, Intermediate, and Senior levels of Underwriters, our program has different levels of assessment for each skill level, and can be customized to introduce an individual to the underwriting profession (Junior), progress someone from Junior to Intermediate, or even give a Senior Underwriter access to new content and case studies that apply to their day to day production underwriting.. Our program has even been used by some organizations as a recruitment and selection tool when hiring Underwriters!!
Immersion. Simply put, if you make learning too theoretical, and NOT applicable to someone’s work, it will not resonate. Our program puts the individual – regardless of skill level or experience in Underwriting – in the role of the Underwriter. Our current case studies allow the learner to underwrite applications in the exact same way they would on the job, only with coaching, mentoring, and one-on-one feedback.
This way, organizations and individuals can be confident that upon successful completion of our program, their underwriting skills and ability to assess risk, will be exceptionally high. Plus, we have some new additions to the program coming soon that will allow for even greater immersion into the world of an Underwriter. Stay tuned!
4 - Performance Objectives, Not Learning Objectives
In a previous post, I mentioned how our learning objectives have evolved from being simple statements of content the learner will see, into now being actionable, and more importantly, measurable. Each objective begins with a statement we stand behind: “at the end of this course, you will be able to…”
5 - Big Data
This is an area that has been perhaps the biggest shift in my work. With technology today we are able to draw data daily, weekly, and/or monthly to analyze students progress through the material, their performance on assessment, and even how long they have spent on a single content piece. All of this information helps us understand the student’s experience so that we can continuously improve the content and format of courses to better benefit them. It can also give managers an idea of the time investment required when planning for their team’s training needs.
6 - Gamification
Oh man, we were doing so well!!. Total transparency here, games are not an area we have explored in detail for our program. Not for lack of want, just a simple matter of resources. However, as we develop new content, we are always keeping an eye on how to evolve the design and delivery of said content. Ideally, I’d love to hear from people in the field what types of games they could envision helping them succeed in this kind of learning environment. Hint hint – let me know in the comments section below!!
7 - Addressing the Retirement Wave and New-Hire Skills Gap
Our industry is looking at a 23% decrease in underwriters over the next couple of years, which is equivalent to a decline if 512 underwriters in US and Canada alone, in possibly 3 years’ time. In addition, census results show that 38% of underwriters have between 21 and 30+ years of experience. Bottom line:
Our industry is in dire need of new people with the right training.
Our program has evolved significantly since its inception in 2007 and our online design, focus on experiential exercises, and opportunities for one-on-one coaching and mentoring produce exceptional graduates ready to join your team today!
Still skeptical? Or unsure of how you and your team might benefit? Download the course syllabus to see what it’s all about, or take it for a test-drive, totally free!