About Smart Standards

Smart Standards are part of NIMS Smart Training Solutions, an innovative framework for modernizing training to keep up with the pace of emerging technologies and building a bridge between educators and employers.

Smart Standards are strategically structured and defined based on a set of rules and guidelines that reveal a level of content that is just right for industry experts to agree on. The framework is duty-based, whereas the term “duty” is synonymous with “standard”. Duties define responsibilities associated with an industry and are organized into job roles. NIMS built a suite of industry job roles based on how employers assign duties to employees within the workplace. Customized roles can be built by selecting from our repository of duties.

How do we develop our standards?

Industry standards are often defined by the tasks (competencies) an individual must be able to satisfy. But what competencies of a given occupation should be required? The answer to this question will vary by company. Industry standards written as rigid sets of competencies are all-in-one requirements that eventually lead to what industry cannot agree on.

To help you better understand how our standards work, consider a duty that requires someone to install electrical components. Now consider how many different types of electrical components can be associated with this duty. So what competencies are the right ones? This depends on workplace activities, which differs by company. Our standards are developed based on what you do and decisions you make per duty. This is what industry can agree on. Click Performance Measure to learn how we drill down to competencies.

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Advantages of Smart Standards


Occupational training is often approached by defining standards that dictate what someone must be able to do and know to master an occupation. But... what duties of a given occupation should a master be able to perform? The answer to this question will vary by company. Smart Standards live in a flexible framework that provides a menu of standardized duties which allows companies to customize training based on how they assign duties within the workplace. Regardless of how roles are customized, they are still standardized, because each duty is an individual standard.


As technology continues to emerge, new occupational duties will continue to be added and existing duties will continue to change. So… can anyone truly master an occupation? The velocity of emerging technologies may change your perspective. New technology is emerging faster than the pace an average individual can learn and retain. We call this the “Complexity Gap”. Employers combat the “Complexity Gap” by breaking down the vastness of occupational duties into roles they need to meet production requirements. These roles are performed by several employees, where no individual is required to master them all. Smart Standards live in a flexible framework that empowers organizations to modularize standards to align seamlessly with your operations.

Dynamic Updates

How often should industry standards be updated? Is every five years frequent enough? How about every two years? Better yet, every year. Regardless of the frequency defined in your policies, the period of time between updates may not keep pace with emerging technologies. Smart Standards live in a dynamic framework where each duty is an individual standard that can be updated independently from any other standards. Updates are made dynamically as technology evolves.