Marc Teer, FAIA

Founder & CEO, Black Spectacles

Carol Shea

Olivetree Insights

John Moser

The Ohio State University –
Center On Education And Training For Employment

Melissa Majors

Melissa Majors Consulting

Success Stories

Black Spectacles

Curriculum Design/Learning Strategy/Analysis

Black Spectacles is on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s Fastest Growing Companies. Their subscription learning programs to prepare candidates to take the ARE licensing exams were ready for an update. BKS goal is to increase their subscription base, increase student success (pass rates, especially on the most challenging exams), increase learner engagement and persistence in the certification preparation process, and promote excellence in the profession.

The solution included an array of related activities:

  • Align all learning to the certification test blueprint for the licensing exams
  • Organize objectives from the certification test blueprint into things architects need to KNOW and things architects need to DO, then leveraging the expertise of practicing architects to document the critical information related to these competencies
  • Leverage this robust analysis to create video tutorials, flash cards, practice exam items and coaching support to help candidates master the skills and information needed for the exams and beyond.

American Electric Power

Workforce Development Strategy/Analysis

AEP is a major investor-owned electric utility, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP identified employee development as a 5-year Breakthrough Objective for four functional areas in SCPFO (Supply Chain, Procurement, Financial Organization). What skills do employees need? How do these skills change as an employee progresses along a career path? AEP needed a system to identify job tasks, career pathways, and link these to knowledge, skills, and competencies.

OSU’s DACUM job analysis methodology provided part of the solution, but AEP needed a repeatable solution that expanded this methodology of looking at a single job to learn what skills were needed by multiple jobs/job families, what skills are common across jobs, and how these link to other AEP systems and solutions (e.g., AEP competencies, Procurement Competency Model).

The custom methodology we designed and piloted leverages existing systems and identifies shared knowledge and skills so that training can take advantage of economies of scale. We expanded this methodology to explore completing all analyses at a distance in the wake of COVID-19.

American Electric Power

Leadership Development Strategy/Analysis

Leadership Development had taken a back seat to other pressing activities at AEP. As part of the 5-year Breakthrough Objective on Employee Development, leaders wanted to ensure the identification career pathways and skill development for leaders at all levels.

We applied the DACUM Plus job analysis methodology to identify what leaders do. One challenge included representing leadership in all contexts, including those that work with represented employees, as well as headquarters vs. field staff. We also identified enabling knowledge and skills and competencies that contribute to success at all levels of leadership. The next step is to map these identified KSAs to existing training programs so that managers (including newly purchased content), in collaboration with their supervising managers, can prioritize skill gaps and take advantage of training or other skill development opportunities (e.g., mentoring) to close those skill gaps.

In both of these AEP examples, the analysis documentation is designed to be a powerful tool to communicate expectations and identify gaps. It is foundational for all further employee development efforts.

Meeting Professionals International

Learning Strategy/Curriculum Development/Analysis

Meeting Professionals International is the largest meeting planner and event planner industry association worldwide. It provides career-enhancing education for members and others. MPI planned a robust certificate-level training for members on planning inclusive events to enhance the portfolio on diversity and inclusion. The vision for this program included that it be focused on business-proven strategies and practical, performance-based strategies and tactics rather than what we sometimes see in diversity and inclusion—values-based, concept-based education.

The first phase of the solution was a Thought Leader Summit, in which 100 leaders from around the world gathered to learn and share knowledge around diversity and inclusion in event planning. We planned the agenda so that participants learned from experts in the field, explored research conducted by NYU, and shared their own best practices on planning inclusive events.

We translated the fruits of this summit into a four-hour certificate training on planning inclusive events. This training is performance-focused and highlights evidence-based strategies and techniques. One key feature to this interactive session is a job aid summarizing the most useful and relevant actions that meeting professionals take to get results.


Learning Strategy/Curriculum Development/Analysis

Ellucian’s on demand subscription library included dated assets that were difficult for partners and end-user customer to use as they implemented a new ERP (enterprise resource planning) technology solution. In addition, these assets did not reflect contemporary best practices in learning and development. Measures of success include decreased time to value, increased customer satisfaction, and subscription sales.

The solution was to create a performance-focused microlearning curriculum that focused on the tasks most often used across university functions as users did their work. Easy to access, searchable, short lessons were grouped by organizational function, job family, and work tasks. Users could access the lesson when they needed it and review the short video segment and download or print a Quick Reference Guide for future use. This change won CEdMA’s Business Impact award for training’s having an impact on the business.


Certification/Analysis/Curriculum Development

Ellucian’s implementation partners needed an enablement program to gain the skills Ellucian’s customers required as well as a mechanism to demonstrate competency in important skill areas. Past ad hoc training left gaps in important knowledge and skill, and the anticipated growth of the partner program provided a great opportunity to invest in partner development.

The solution was to analyze key job roles that partners fulfilled and create on-demand training assets for the most critical tasks. We also created a matching performance-based certification program that allowed candidates to demonstrate their proficiency and earn a coveted badge demonstrating this competence. As a key part of the partner enablement program, these activities supported defining requirements for partners, defining requirements for skills and abilities of individuals that partners employ, communicating expectation, providing training and development opportunities, and give customers the peace of mind that their consultants had the skills to lead them through their software implementation.

Portland Community College

Analysis/Curriculum Development

Portland Community College is the largest post-secondary institution in Oregon, serving over 70,000 students. Like most community colleges, PCC aims to educate a skilled workforce, prepare students to move forward in their education, and enrich the community by providing opportunities for lifelong learning. One challenge is ensuring “program viability;” in other words, making sure that the skills learned in academic programs are aligned with and relevant to hiring organizations.

The solution we implemented, in partnership with The Center on Education and Training and Employment at The Ohio State University and PCC faculty and staff, was to analyze the tasks and skills needed for employment for this occupational role, validate the analysis, then compare findings to what is currently taught to determine needed changes. This process, designed to be conducted at a distance and consistent with university and stakeholder requirements, will be repeated by PCC for other curricula. Measures of success include number of students who enter the program, number of students who persist to graduation, and percentage of graduates working in the occupation.