About Smart Standards
Smart Standards are part of NIMS Smart Training Solutions, an innovative framework for modernizing training to keep up with the pace 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. Roles are established based on how an organization assigns responsibilities to employees within the work environment.
How do we develop our standards?
Industry standards are often defined by the tasks an individual must be able to satisfy for an occupational level. But what tasks of a given occupation level should be required? The answer to this question will vary depending on workplace activities. Industry standards written as rigid sets of tasks are all-in-one requirements that attempt to standardize occupational levels. These requirements can be hit-or-miss for your program without just cause.
To help you better understand how Smart 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 responsibility. So what tasks are the right tasks? This depends on workplace activities relevant to your training program. Workplace activities differ by organization. Your commitment to Smart Standards ensures your workers or students can satisfy all the duties (responsibilities) associated with the job roles you are training towards.
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 occupational level. But... what duties of a given occupation should a master be able to perform? Your answer to this question will vary depending on your perspective. Answers based on traditions or biases will likely be different than answers based on what an organization actually needs to satisfy production requirements. Classic standards are all-in-one documents that attempt to standardize occupational levels. These requirements can be hit-or-miss for your program without just cause. Smart Standards live in a flexible framework that provide a menu of standardized duties that organizations can choose to customize training for exactly what they need. Regardless of how roles are customized, they are still standardized, because standardization is at the duty level, not the occupation or industry.
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 provides a menu of standardized duties that organizations can choose to modularize training based on how responsibilities are assigned in their workplace.
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 a separate standard that can be updated independently from any other standard. Updates are made dynamically as technology evolves.