Association LMS: An Interview with Tom Grobicki of Avilar

BY Celisa Steele

If you’re interested in competency, check out the next in our series of interviews with association LMS providers we track.

In this video captured via Skype, I talk with Tom Grobicki, CEO and cofounder of Avilar, which offers the WebMentor LMS.

Tom speaks to the three topics we’ve asked all the interviewees:

  1. Who is Avilar, and what does the company do?
  2. What differentiates Avilar from other LMS companies working in the association space?
  3. What’s coming down the pike for learning in the next couple of years?

Tom also talks about competency, which is an important part of Avilar’s philosophy—after all, the company’s brand line is “The Competency Company.”

Learning is a time-consuming and expensive process. Everybody wants to justify why you’re doing the training, which should be measured not only during and immediately after the training, but down the road. What you’re trying to do with training is impact employee behavior. As a consequence, you have questions like, “Did you produce better leaders? Have sales picked up? Have you reduced the fault rate of your software?” These are all different strategic issues, but they’re all focused on why the training was done. All of these issues have a strong impact on the management of organizations. With the competency-based approach we advocate, you’ll have the facts that you need to improve your training process, achieve a better ROI (which is always important) but also make sure that it has a more meaningful impact on both employees and management. At the end of the day, management cares about how training is conducted, but they care more about the results. For associations, it’s often about career progression or some specific industry viewpoint.

Like Tom, I appreciate the need for associations to emphasize not just the what and how—the tactics and mechanics—of learning but also the why, which gets at the fundamental reasons any of us does what we do on any given day.


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