This recipe blends instruction with a way to demonstrate skills. Real-life skills are what excites me, not someone’s ability to pass a quiz. Skills are what pay the bills. They’re much more valuable than an LMS report showing the quizzes you passed.

I’ve used this blend in a number of different contexts. I first started with a manufacturing client. We were teaching new operators how to perform the different steps in the manufacturing process. They’d watch videos and read through slides in an online module, but the final step is to actually perform the task in the real world.  New operators would practice, then when they were ready, they’d call over an on the job trainer and demonstrate the skills.  The OJT was the only one who could complete a screen like this.

We built a quiz with a fill in the blank question that used a secret password at the end. The learner couldn’t pass the online module without some help from an experienced person who verified that they could do the work.

There’s a quiz at the end of the module, to pass you had to show you could do the work, not just answer questions about it.


  • coach / mentor / manager or other experienced person
  • checklist of tasks for the learner to demonstrate
  • rubric to help the coach or mentor
  • online module with foundational material
  • time for practice
  • secret password for quiz


  1. Identify tangible, real-world skills that you need the learner to demonstrate
  2. Design the materials to give the foundation
  3. Insert a fill in the blank quiz with a secret password that only coaches / mentors / managers know.

Karl’s Tips

We found that using a number as the secret password worked best. Since we were using iPads, it would display our secret password as we started typing it.  Using a number instead removed that “helpful” predictive text.

Scheduling this may be tricky. Be sure to set the module up so that it automatically resumes the last slide or build in navigation that immediately takes you to the verification screen.

Take Aways

This is a simple way to accomplish a blend of an online module and a skills checklist.

You could use any number of technical options… google forms for coaches to check off on, observation checklists built into an LMS like Cornerstone, but the idea is to find a way to get the learner performing key tasks on the job, then verify they have the skills to get the job done.


2 Comments on “Skills Pay Bills

  1. Your “recipes” harken back to when I was the training manager of skilled trades at General Electric. We seemed to cover all of what you mentioned, but in a much lower-tech way.

    These were all seated classes at the time, but we did have the training material that we used in a shared folder for anyone to review, even the rating sheets.

    For the final evaluation we had the team lead, not the instructor, out in the shop to observe if the tasks could be performed by using a task checklist. It was pass/fail–they could either perform the task at a masterly level or would need more practice.

    We held our classes once per week so they could practice on their own out in the shop before the following class. The employee would decide when they wanted to be tested.

    ——Roger Buskill

    • Love it. Practice then test out. It’s a timeless recipe that’s brought results for years. One we shouldnt lose site of as we adopt new tools.

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