Thinking In Skills For The Future

Thursday, 05 September 2019 1826 Views

Sometimes a potential partner or client decides to wait for the next best concept (sometimes without giving you a chance). Sometimes they are simply phishing (have no intention of taking a next step). My team is trying to establish a standard representation of learning expectations and build a community of conscientious learners who apply skills properly, so our strategy depends on building awareness; usually do not hold back in communicating our vision. Started to hear a phrase 'future proof' and thought how this applies to our skills applications.

I have made the case for the relevancy of skills in education, higher education, and professional development in many previous posts; here are a few of them:  Where Superintendents Stand on Key Issues Workforce Strategy Focuses on Skills Root Causes of Skills Gap Forecast Hire and Train Based on Skills , and Why Skills Mapping.

Why do I think the skills concepts my team is working on have staying power?

Skills-Based Approach SM is a methodology based on cycling through four stages with an evolving skill set through education, higher education, and career. There is value in working with skills and competencies because they connect the stages together in a logical, coherent way. Since I introduced the methodology, I have followed many of the latest trends in learning – experiential, adaptive, and personalized learning, assessments and outcomes, e-portfolios, micro-credentials and badging – all of them fit into the context of the four stages. Looking to the future, as new applications and technologies are introduced, simply plug them into the relevant stage.

Skills Label TM is a system to track and manage skills. The learning labels technology was established as a novel, useful technology in 2016 and 2017 when patents were filed, and a study was conducted by Syracuse University. Recently, four sets of national education standards were integrated into the framework. The core idea is to define learning in skills, competencies, and their underlying methods and applications; this is currently a highly effective solution in education and higher education. In fact, I call the framework a ‘wheel’ for defining skills to learning and recommend we use the technology to define all learning in a uniform way.

Looking to the future, I see this an effective platform for the constantly changing demand for skills; as new skills or competencies are defined, simply add them to the framework. I see Skill Points ® (a numerical learning gain) as a next generation learning measurement, something that transcends across education and career stages and combines all learning in and out of the classroom.

Skills Culture SM is a growth mindset to learning. I started this as a community in 2016. The ethos is:  "Every experience is an opportunity to apply skills.". This means to be conscientious and ‘in the moment’ as we practice and apply skills in experiences, which might occur while working, learning, or playing. This clearly differentiates from a traditional education model (with a lot of rote memorization) to an experiential model where you apply what you know (in skills). This philosophy is enduring.

Being a leader, I think calling your applications ‘future proof’ is challenging. According to the Future of Jobs 2018 report, there are “complex feedback loops between new technology, jobs, and skills” (AI, machine learning, and IoT); this addresses the uncertainty, but still, skills are one of the components. I think the applications my team is working on provide a solid foundation for many years into the future. And I have a vision of how these applications evolve. For example, already planning how to construct Skill Points ® 2.0 and designed a mobile application for Skills-Based Approach. Contact us if you are interested in partnering with us.