In coming up with Skills Based Approach a few years ago, I always had a wide lens for talking about skills (never exclusively worked with a technical view of skills). I see skills as the underpinning in everything we do; in every experience, we apply skills. They define how we think, play, converse, engineer, create, build, design, analyze, solve problems, etc. Types of skills include: foundational thinking and soft skills, transferable, technical, and behavioral skills. Here are some of the advantages in working with skills:
- Definable – every skill can be defined and has related underlying methods and applications. Much of learning (traditional and new age) translate best to skills, including: gamification, badges, and adaptive and personalized learning.
- Standardized – skill sets are concrete. Skills summarize education and employment needs. Educators, recruiters, and employers understand skill sets.
- Portable – most social media platforms (LinkedIn, Google +, Facebook), job boards, and personal websites include skill sets.
- Searchable – skill sets are highly effective as tags to content.
- Flexible – new skills are created all the time. Many skills today did not exist five years ago.
- Longevity – skills connect education, higher education, and career learning expectations.
Skills Label™ is an effective, standardized display for learning resources. Much of the display is dedicated to skills and skill competencies. (Once again, drawing on the nutritional label example, skills take the place of vitamins in the layout.)
I agree with educators who stress the importance of helping learners develop lens, perspectives to properly evaluate their circumstances – essentially drive their growth as a person. To some extent, this involves memorizing relevant facts and information. There are places on a Skills Label™ to capture this ‘other side’ of knowledge. First, for each skill line item, a teacher can add ‘skill context’ to describe what is learned for that skill in the experience. Second, below the skills section, there is descriptive ‘knowledge gain’ section to summarize an overall learning objective.
Skills act as the ‘verb’ in knowledge; it is the action part of knowledge. Arguably, this becomes the biggest factor because we are already seeing technology augmenting our ability to retrieve facts and information.
Photo Credit © Camrocker, DmitryPoch, diego_cervo, Wavebreakme