Now what if you found out that of the 10 percent that Person A answered incorrectly, he simply didn't know the information, but of the 10 percent Person B answered incorrectly, he was confident in his answer but the information he held was incorrect? "In this case, who is a greater danger to the public?" asks Warr.
Knowledge Factor's CBL system creates awareness of what liabilities and strengths are for a given individual and their information quality. "It is our position that mastery is the only acceptable outcome for training, before we put law enforcement professionals on the street," Warr says. "In the last example, Person B scored 90 percent, which is enough to certify for law enforcement, but if that individual scored in doubt, his ability to perform is substantially lower than what we thought it would be."
To truly learn something, an individual must leave the classroom with a level of confidence in the subject matter. To illustrate this point, Webster describes a college student discussing the Theory of Relativity in a learning environment. The individual leaves the classroom with some knowledge of this theory but lacks enough training to teach a class on it. "That's not because he doesn't know it at all," he explains. "It's because he lacks confidence in that knowledge."
If education occurs by simply having an instructor lecture from the front of the room, the teacher tells students what they need to know before they enter the field to practice it. But if nothing is done to nurture or truly measure student performance, when learners enter the workforce, they may not perform as expected. "Confidence-Based Learning increases knowledge but also nurtures confidence," says Webster.
The CBL difference
The entire Knowledge Factor learning program is conducted online, eliminating the need for customers to load software. Knowledge Factor works with its clients to create content for specific programs and then develops a portal for students to retrieve their customized learning program. "People have access to their content any time they want," Webster says.
At the beginning of every Knowledge Factor course, an assessment is performed to ascertain what learners know about a given topic, and the quality at which they hold the information. Students receive the assessment results to find out what learning opportunities remain. The program then uses these findings to tailor curriculum to each student's individual needs. Whatever questions learners miss the first time are covered in the new material, and when they complete this coursework, they are tested again. "This becomes an interactive process that guarantees every single person has the opportunity to reach the level of mastery," says Webster.
"What we've done is eliminate the bell curve," explains Warr. "Nobody is left behind with Knowledge Factor. It's simply a matter of going through the program the number of times necessary to close out all the gaps."
Exam questions, as shown in the Sample Question at the tope of Page 158, appear slightly different than traditional "multiple choice" questions. As illustrated in this example, students can answer each question in seven different ways. They can answer with certainty that A, B or C is correct, select a combination of answers — A or B, B or C, or A or C — with partial confidence, or simply answer "I don't know."
"This type of evaluation program promotes truth telling," says Warr. "It encourages people to answer honestly."
Once all questions are answered, a weighting system goes on behind the scenes. Students receive maximum credit if they answer correctly with confidence. If they select an answer with confidence and answer incorrectly, they receive a maximum penalty. If they note they are partially sure, it means they have some knowledge of the subject but don't hold it to the degree of commitment they need in order to act upon it. In this case, students receive a partial reward for an accurate answer; because though they are correct, their confidence is low. But if their choices are completely wrong, the system assumes they are guessing and assesses a maximum penalty. If students select "I don't know," however, the program assesses no reward and no penalty.