Subject and Skills Searches

Wednesday, 12 February 2020 1145 Views

Typically, you search on a subject or field of interest to find learning resources. There is a full context-based search with the learning labels application and further planned functionality. But what if instead, you search on desired skill sets? 

There is now another, separate search targeting this functionality. This search function is more relevant for certain types of resources, like: online and console games, interactive books, VR experiences, and all kinds of activities or projects – where there is an emphasis on applied learning.

The current learning labels system is well suited to manage the two components of knowledge: facts and information (perspective); and skills. The first, subject matter, gets covered in different fields: like a knowledge gain, standards, and a skills context field. And there is a rich, deep integration in defining skills and their methods and standards.

I understand there is progression in learning subjects (which might be the biggest concern from learning practitioners); for example, first you take Micro-Economics, then Macro-Economics, and finally an Economics Strategy course. For these courses, there is an umbrella ‘economic analysis’ skill. Though each includes their own unique skills: Micro-Economics (Problem Solving), Macro-Economics (Policy and Analytical Thinking) and Economic Strategy (Critical Thinking and Business Strategy). Beyond supporting referencing slightly different skill sets, learning labels also support progression in two ways: create series of labels and reference all prerequisites on a label.

I do not have the research to back precisely the effects of searches on skills versus subject matter (yet). My take is to continue the process of defining learning the same way, include all components of knowledge with a learning label. Also, continue evolving both search functions already established on the website. Once there is enough content in the database (learning labels), use both searches, see the differences in the search results. This could answer many questions related to skills:

Are skills truly transferrable? What are some of the most transferrable skills?

Can skills be learned in different ways? Can users find learning resources based on personal needs or preferences?

Are there more effective learning paths to acquire skills? Can users pivot from one field of study to another? How to pivot into another education or career track based on your skills?

Is it possible to just learn skills, and get domain knowledge later? Will the use of intelligent systems and vast amounts of online information elevate the need for skills (and less the need to remember facts and information)?

As said earlier, I am not sure of the answers to these questions yet. I suggest populating the database by defining the learning in skills (using learning labels), then see the skills correlations and the effect of the searches. Feel free to try both searches functions (working on getting the content in place):