Today’s learners and association members live in a social world, and they expect their learning experiences to be no different. They want opportunities to connect with peers and experts and to get the information and advice they need to further their professional development.
But how do you make sure those experiences are really going to lead to improvement that sticks? One way is to use Social Assessment™, a modern feedback framework that harnesses the power of social learning to facilitate constructive feedback loops and drive powerful, lasting change.
Understanding the Learner
When it comes to feedback, we know two things. First, soft skills are becoming increasingly valuable in our changing world of work. Seventy-seven percent of executives surveyed by LinkedIn said soft skills are just as important as hard skills, and 44% of executives in an Adecco survey said a lack of soft skills represents the U.S. workforce’s biggest proficiency gap. Second, learners (especially younger ones) genuinely crave feedback, but don’t receive enough of it at work. Millennials specifically want feedback 50% more often than others but say that only 20% of the feedback they receive is meaningful.
This presents a valuable opportunity for your association to step in and fill those gaps. Social Assessment as a mechanism for feedback is perfectly geared toward helping your association members ask for and receive feedback on a regular basis in order to help them develop sought-after skills.
Building the Content
Broadly speaking, Social Assessment allows your association to utilize modern social tools, like video, to enable the regular delivery of feedback from all types of stakeholders—peers, managers, and even outside experts—at scale. Rather than being a once-a-year comprehensive review, Social Assessment allows members to gain insights into their day-to-day performance and work toward making iterative improvements in their knowledge, skills, and competencies. Part of the role of the association is to nurture that culture of feedback so learners feel comfortable and confident in the information they are sharing and receiving as part of the learning program.
- Peer-to-peer feedback focuses on personal, authentic examples and comments like “this worked well for me in the past” or “I really liked how you did this.” To make sure critiques are meaningful, it’s important to develop clear feedback structures and nurture a culture of trust so people will feel comfortable and confident sharing their unique perspectives.
- Expert feedback is particularly beneficial when there are specific facets of performance you want to improve. Experts can be senior leaders within the industry, peers with deep relevant experience, or even new members who may bring a fresh perspective to the table.
- Meta feedback is—in essence—feedback on feedback. It’s used primarily when you need to help those responsible for giving feedback to others develop their own skills, and is especially important for leadership development.
- Manager feedback is required as part of manager/employee relationships and is typically tied directly to performance.
In addition to considering the types of Social Assessment feedback that will be most useful for your association, you also need to think about rubrics. These provide valuable guidelines for scoring and assessment criteria and can be leveraged to ensure fairness and consistency. When putting a rubric together, think of the role or competency it’s targeting, identify tasks that are associated with it, pinpoint major areas of assessment, decide what type of rubric you want to use (grid system or point addition/deduction, for example), and, depending on the rubric you’re creating, assign section-specific and cumulative point values.
Delivering the Program
Ultimately, any Social Assessment framework comes down to giving room for a three-step process.
- Demonstrate the skill. This can be done using a variety of mediums, but here we’ll use video as an example. Let’s say your goal was to help members improve their presentation skills. First, you would allow each member to record themselves pitching an idea or product of your or their choosing.
- Solicit feedback. Once each member had finalized their presentation, you would get peers and potentially even outside experts involved. Peers could share their thoughts on how each of the presenters did, while experts could give their opinions on points that they would add.
- Incorporate feedback to improve skills. Now that your members have the information, it’s time for them to act on it and find ways to incorporate the ideas and feedback into their day-to-day professional lives.
Remember, Social Assessment is meant to be an inherently circular, iterative process. You’re enabling members to showcase their knowledge and skills, seek evaluation and advice, take action to improve their skills, and come back seeking additional observations and guidance to advance their proficiency that much more.