Macro Level Benefits of Skills Label

When you create an original concept, you think how it solves a specific problem – on a micro level. But later, as it gains momentum, you start to see how it solves bigger problems – on a macro level. The idea of learning labels is intriguing.

The genesis idea of learning labels was based on trying to reduce the amount of typing in a tasking application (Skills Based Approach). But the learning labels solve a bigger problem. There is not a standardized display (representation) of learning expectations. (For a point of reference, examples of standardized displays include a nutritional label for food or resume for professional evaluations.)  There is no basis of comparison between traditional and emerging learning resources. Over the past couple of years, I realized these learning labels have even more potential.

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New Personalized Grading

I am creating new personalized grading with the learning labels technology. It is easy to think of new features for a product, the difficult part is narrowing the list and focusing on ones that add the most value. There are clear reasons why this feature adds value.

With learning labels, I work to convince practitioners we need to track learning on a discrete level – a task level. To accomplish this, there needs to be a mechanism and navigation to connect learning labels into a series – so they represent a project, learning plan, or course. I think this was the biggest influence in adding personalized grading into the platform. It is possible to create a series of labels, connect them based on performance, and grade each learner. Then, a learner navigates through the series based on their achievements.

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Keep a Record of Learning

I like to see the progress and movement we are experiencing with competency-based learning. In 2011, I started Skills Based Approach; I do not think there is much difference in what the phrases represent.

A key aspect of this type of learning is an assessment – evaluation or estimation of a person’s ability. It is intriguing to play a game, complete a project, or take a test and through an assessment get an accurate portrayal of a competency – like taking the SAT, GMAT, or LCAT, which produces a score of a capability in a field of study. But these standardized tests have a similar shortcoming in that they do not consider the context behind the knowledge –experiences.

For this reason and others, I think there is significant value in tracking the successful completion of learning tasks – a record of learning. An assessment might be included within or after a task or series of tasks.

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Get Ahead With a Mentor

I am fortunate to have had two tremendous mentors in my life. My experiences had such a powerful, lasting impact on me, I feel compelled to share my stories and promote mentorships. I created this graphic without doing any research or reading articles on mentoring, this was based on purely personal reflection of my experiences.

I believe all students and professionals benefit from a mentor, regardless of their field or discipline. When I first conceived Skills Based Approach (almost five years ago), I put mentorships squarely in the building stage. In A Skills Based Approach to Developing a Career, I dedicate a section to discuss how mentorships work with acquiring skills. I am convinced for many technical skills, learning from a mentor is the quickest, most effective way. You learn from a master who shares their methods and applications. (Besides the technicalities, is there much difference between an apprenticeship and mentorship?)

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Getting Learning Standards on Labels

Recently spoke with an education administrator about getting education standards on learning labels; I got a response “Ahhh”, an unsaid: How do you do that?

Well, this video is my answer. With learning labels it is possible to start with skills and get standards or start with standards and get skills. This video demonstrates the latter.

It is also worth noting that the Skills Label framework is meant to work with any set of standards. Currently, it works with Common Core and NGSS. There is an interface where a practitioner can setup their own standards (called ‘dynamic standards’). Of course, I would be happy to work with you to get them up as well.

Skills Learning Applications Work Together

Thought of the Skills Based Approach SM (“SBA”) methodology in 2011 as I was creating a platform for personal websites. Early on, I recognized skills as a critical element of a personal website. In an abstract way, I see much of the content behind a personal website as presenting and validating skills (two stages of SBA). There are other elements. (For them, there is a framework – Online Personal Brand: Skill Set, Aura, and Identity.) I still feel strongly that most individuals should have a personal website for credentials and signaling skills.

SBA is a methodology centered on constantly cycling through four stages with an evolving skill set. Over the years, SBA has garnered a worldwide audience. I have developed SBA as a basic website application. (And I have been waiting patiently to get this up and running as a mobile application. Ideally, students manage learning tasks on their mobile phones using the SBA methodology.)

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Inspiration Behind Learning Labels

Inspiration Behind Learning Labels

I hear the remark: “So these Skills Labels, they are like nutritional labels but for learning (education)”. As I made clear the inspiration did not start with a nutritional label. Though later it had some influence. A nutritional label is a highly effective standard display, it: reads well – understandable to children to adults, informs, creates uniformity (measurements), and aids in making a basis of comparison. And these are also target attributes of learning labels.

I think the learning labels have significant other attributes:

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