Apr. 14, 2010 Who'll be the best fit for the company? While human resources experts often find it difficult to identify suitable candidates or evaluate existing employees' talents and skills, assessment centers undoubtedly provide a useful tool for appraising competences.
However, assessment centers are only useful if they are tailored to the individual needs of a specific company. A one-size-fits-all approach is inappropriate, since standardized tests simply cannot reflect the precise structures and working practices of a particular firm. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau have now released a program that equips companies with a time-saving and cost-effective tool for carrying out objective assessments of their workforce.
The EDMedia Assessment Center is a new addition to the IDMT's Educational Media (EDMedia) functional learning environment -- a learning content management system for intuitive, individual computer-based learning in which users can search for content in accordance with their personal abilities and learning preferences, and choose whether to work alone or in virtual study groups as they exploit the multimedia learning tool. The EDMedia Assessment Center works in a similar way: Multi-level, individualized and standards-based tests completed online at the interactive user interface allow human resources experts to divide their employees into groups according to competency profiles and direct their subsequent professional development in keeping with their respective needs.
Dr.-Ing. Fanny Klett, head of the Data Representation and Interfaces business unit in the IDMT, says: "The EDMedia Assessment Center serves as an infrastructure for competency management within a company and helps devise personal career paths for individual employees." The standardized software makes it possible for companies to pool resources to develop tests -- not only across different locations, but also across company boundaries -- and allows the system to connect with other EDMedia functions or external programs. The Assessment Center is also eminently suitable for multinational firms, as it takes into account country-specific data protection regulations.
Klett continues: "Competency Management systems are already the norm in all U.S. firms." Since October 2009, she and her team at the IDMT have been supporting the U.S. Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative in an effort to advance and standardize educational and competency technologies on the international scene as well. She is firmly convinced of the benefits of ADL technologies and predicts: "These new, technologically-advanced competency management tools will soon prove their worth and become indispensable aids to human resources planning in German companies too."
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