The LTA establishes how fluent legal professionals are with the basic technology tools of their trade: Word, Excel, and PDF. The LTA is both a benchmarked assessment and a training platform. Benchmarked results can be used for marketing, professional development, team assembly, onboarding, rate negotiation, invoice review, provider differentiation, etc. Primarily, however, results should be used to ensure that legal professionals are getting the training they need. The LTA pairs competence-based assessments with synchronous, active learning in order to provide an effective, tailored training solution (see the Training Edition).
The LTA is taken in a completely live environment on exemplar documents. The LTA is digitally-signed Word plug-in that can be downloaded and installed on the user’s own computer or on a group computer provided by their organization (e.g., training laptop, computer lab). Alternatively, the LTA can be delivered on the cloud via Microsoft Azure. The instructions are contained in a Word document with a control panel on the side (as explained in the video below).
As explained in the video, the LTA software automatically opens and closes separate exemplar document on which work is completed. On the first task, for example, the instructions to (i) turn off track changes and (ii) delete comments are presented in the instructions document while the software automatically opens another the Word document (see below) in which the user is to turn off track changes and delete comments:
The LTA is fully customizable, and we are adding features at a rapid clip. The features tested in the standard LTA modules are as follows:
When taking the LTA, each user has a unique username (their email) and password that enables individual score tracking. At the completion of each module, the user and/or their organization is sent their score. The score sheet identifies specific deficiencies and enables the creation of individually tailored training curriculum. A sample score sheet for Assignment I (Word) is below:
Performed Correctly. Whether or not the user completed the task correctly. In the example above, the person did not properly complete Tasks #6 and #11.
Target Time. Approximation of how long the task should take a qualified user. Target time is double an expert time rounded up with a minimum of one minute and thirty seconds despite the fact that many of the tasks can be completed in a matter of seconds (gives users time to read and think about the task).
Actual Time. How long a task actually took the user.
Default Time. Approximation of how long the task would take a beginner. The default time is substituted for (not added to) the actual time when the task is performed incorrectly. The theory is that the individual (or their firm) will reach the right result eventually, it will just require more time.
Assessed Time. Equals the actual time if the task is performed correctly. Equals the default time if the task is not performed correctly. All assessed times that exceed the target times, even those where the individual performed the task correctly, are highlighted in red. This is a quick, visual cue to indicate where the user needs to improve. The individual score report is not only a record of how well the user performed, it is also a mechanism to create an individually-tailored learning plan.
Both Assessed Time and Target Time are totaled and rounded up to the near 6-minute increment (i.e., 0.1, 0.2). Total Assessed Time is then compared to Total Target Time to segment users into certification levels. The Procertas certification is the Certified Operator of Basic Office Technology (COBOT). COBOT designations are earned on individual modules–i.e., a user can be COBOT Qualified on Word without ever taking the Excel module.
A competent user can get through a single assessment module in 10 to 12 minutes. An Expert designation is therefore earned with a Total Assessed Time of 0.3 or better. A Qualified designation is awarded for a 0.4 or 0.5. A Novice designation results from a score from 0.6 to 1.0. Any score above 1.0 marks a Beginner.
By pairing competence-based assessments with synchronous learning the LTA augments traditional training in a number of ways.
Sorting mechanism. Not everyone is a poor end user of common software. Some have training. Others are self-taught. In onboarding, the LTA can distinguish between previously trained and untrained users. On a go-forward basis, the LTA segments trainees by skill set, which includes letting users test out of training they do not need.
Lose your illusion. Most users don’t know what they don’t know. They are not intentionally avoiding the quality-enhancing, labor-saving features available in common software. They are simply not aware these features exist, let alone how to use them. They believe that the way they are operating is right (or close to right). They are wrong. But they don’t know they are wrong. Consequently, they do not recognize the need for training. The LTA can create that recognition.
Tailored training. One of the easiest ways to lose a training audience is to start by teaching them things they already know. Yet, most training classes begin with the basics for good reason: some audience members are likely to be unfamiliar with the basics. Meanwhile, everyone else checks out. This shotgun approach to training reduces engagement. Not only does the LTA demonstrate that training is needed, but it also pinpoints what training is needed. The LTA identifies specific deficiencies and enables the creation of individually-tailored training programs. It even offers a way to deliver that training in the form of the Training Edition.
Active learning. Answers can be memorized. Skills must be practiced and learned. With lecture-style info dumps, trainees are passive. The LTA dramatically increases retention by engaging trainees to actively use the skills they are trying to acquire.
Validation. With traditional tech training, all we know is that the trainees sat in a room or watched a video for a prescribed amount of time. Whether they learned anything is a matter of speculation. Time is a poor proxy for learning that is unnecessary because we can measure learning direclty. Competence-based assessments both establish a baseline and measure progress against that baseline.
Self-direction. Different people learn different ways and will struggle to different degrees. Some thrive with a live teacher. Others are too embarrassed to ask questions. As long as sufficient training resources of varying modalities are made available, the validation component of LTA allows trainees to self-direct their remedial efforts and substantiate how effective those efforts were.
Technology training continues to grow in importance in legal organizations (read more). Training is important for everyone, including staff, younger attorneys who grew up as ‘digital native’ (read more) and more seasoned attorneys who directly oversee delegated work (read more). Unfortunately, traditional approaches have cast training in a poor light (read more). Competence-based testing (read more) paired with synchronous, active learning (read more) is a new, superior approach to an important issue.