Gap analysis is a formative learning model designed to reveal and measure what a learner knows about a particular topic – and, more crucially, what they don’t know. Gap analysis, as the name suggests, involves identifying gaps in an individual’s knowledge and the areas they need to work on to achieve competence in their role. Once an individual knows where the gaps in their knowledge are, they can address these.
In a previous article, e-Learning Director Stu Rolls looked at how the Aviva Development Zone utilises the gap analysis model to assess learners’ progress, benchmarked against their peers.
Although focusing on what you don’t know might seem a negative starting point, there is logic in taking this approach to learning.
Gap analysis involves understanding the areas an individual must work on, but, on a wider level, it also helps businesses highlight the areas where they might be at risk. It makes sense that if you know where there are gaps across your business, you will be better placed to fix these.
For example, it may be that a significant number of your staff do not fully understand how to handle complaints. If you have oversight of this, you can deal with it as soon as possible through appropriate training. If not addressed in a timely manner, this gap may adversely affect a customer and become a much wider issue, with potential financial, reputational and regulatory implications for your firm.
If you don’t know where the gaps are, how can your business protect against such risks?
By taking an initial gap analysis assessment first, learners have a basic benchmark score to show their initial level of knowledge. If they then undertake some learning – whether it be an e-learning course, training event or formal qualification – and focus on filling in the gaps of what they don’t know, then less time and expense is spent covering what they know already.
When a learning activity is completed and the gap analysis assessment attempted again, hopefully the learner will achieve a higher score than their first attempt. This model helps to provide the evidence that an individual has not only measured their knowledge (the initial gap analysis), but that they have evidenced this and improved (the gap analysis revisited).
Providing evidence of training is important, not only for personal and professional development, but from a regulatory perspective too.
The Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) came into effect in October 2018, introducing the requirement that all staff involved in insurance distribution record 15 hours’ CPD per year across eight core knowledge areas. Furthermore, the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR) will come into force for general insurance intermediaries on 9 December 2019 and brings with it new training requirements.
Firms must assess their employees’ fitness and propriety on appointment and annual certification is needed to confirm that they remain suitable for the job.
This will typically involve obtaining evidence of CPD, including any qualifications gained and training undertaken, and the individual’s level of competence.
The certificate issued will confirm that the individual is a ‘fit and proper person’ to carry out the Certification Function and will also detail the areas of the business in which the person will be involved.
Under SM&CR, firms will also be required to train their relevant staff on how the newly introduced Conduct Rules apply to their role. The gap analysis model is ideal as it helps individuals understand where they are currently and what they need to do to improve.