We often think of a student when someone refers to a capstone project. We think of someone finishing the last year of a 4-year college or the final year of a master's program. It's generally a way for the student to take all of their knowledge and put it to work in a hands-on project or experience. But why don't we do that in the real world, the working world?
It is vital to have your learners complete a capstone project/summary during their training and development. It helps reinforce learning while also providing some real-life, hands-on experience. A capstone summary is a culminating set of experiences that summarize and demonstrate understanding and application.
Benefits of a Capstone Summary
A capstone summary's first and most important benefit is that it prepares the individual for the next step. The capstone summary is an opportunity for individuals to compile knowledge and put it into practice through training. Learners should be aware of this summary before the training program begins so they can start planning early. Early planning will help guide learners through the course so they're ready when it's time to begin the capstone.
Another important benefit of the capstone summary is confidence-building. When learners know they will be doing a capstone as a part of a training curriculum requirement, they will be more likely to ask questions and gain a deeper understanding of skills and concepts throughout the course. While the capstone can be challenging, learners will often experience a boost in their confidence when taking the learning skills to their respective jobs if they feel they understand them.
Capstone Projects come in all shapes and sizes; there is no "best" way. As you consider capstone projects, remember how the learners will use the information once the training is complete. For example, will they be working independently, or will they be working in a group setting? If your learners work independently, consider an independent capstone summary per learner. On the other hand, a group capstone project might be more helpful if they work in groups.
At AEU LEAD, we use an individual capstone summary at the end of our 26-module micro-learning offering. This Supervisor Skills offering takes learners through a series of short training modules that provide valuable supervisor skills needed to help them do their jobs effectively. We focus on soft skills or "people skills" that aren't often taught when new supervisors are promoted. The training course is designed for the learner to navigate through the content on their own and at a pace that works well for them. Therefore, each learner will complete their own capstone summary. AEU LEAD asks participants to report their experiences and takeaways from the Supervisor Skills Program and provide their personal action plans for the future. In doing so, AEU LEAD helps ensure that the learner has paid attention, understands the content, and has a plan for putting what they've learned into practice. The capstone helps hold the learner accountable and ensures they have effectively worked through the course.
Much time and money is spent on training and developing employees. But what good is it if they don't retain the information? Capstone summaries and projects are a great way to ensure employees internalize the content to put what they have learned into practice. Consider this approach the next time your employees participate in a training program.
AEU LEAD is a division of The American Underwriters, Inc. dedicated to the leadership development needs of mid and front-line managers.