What replaces shelves of books you keep from education and higher education? The shelf where that dusty chemistry or finance book rests, which brings back memories of long hours of frustration (and that you never look at again). How do you keep track of learning for games you play online, activities in a classroom, or lessons outside of a classroom?
I propose a collection of Skills Labels – an electronic catalog for all learning, essentially a summary of learning and index (and perhaps storage) to the resources themselves. And this not limited to books, but also includes games, activities, VR, experiences, and any discrete task where learning takes place.
Skills / Learning Labels is a step towards tracking lifelong learning. It is patent pending utility which involves creating a label, assigning learning expectations / outcomes, verifying the accuracy of the assignments (optional), and designating a credential. Let’s breakdown each step:
- A label itself is a standardized display for any discrete task or experience.
- On the label (and landing page), there is a link to the resource itself.
- Learning expectations are largely expressed as a ‘Skill Line Item’, which is based on skills, their underlying methods and measurements. It is also possible to anchor them to standards.
- An algorithm (perhaps with AI) is being built to verify the learning expectations are valid. (The initial phase involves discretion made by the person creating the label.)
- Upon successful completion (of the task or experience), the learner has access to a credential. This might be a badge, award, or certification.
Either through a LMS system (like Google Classroom), a skills tracking system (like Skills Based Approach), or the Skills Label user interface, users can easily find, access, and collect these labels over time. There are a few advantages:
- LMS systems in K-12 and Higher Education is fragmented, so students are using varying systems. Skills Label is a standardized representation. (It is possible to import a Skills Label as an assignment in Google Classroom, for example.)
- A significant amount of learning takes place outside of the classroom, not in the jurisdiction of school assignments. Students / professionals should get credit for this learning.
- There is no way to compare traditional and emerging learning technologies. Many of the new applications– online games, VR experience, etc. – do not explicitly state learning objectives.
- Being largely based on skills and methods, the labels work laterally across subjects and disciplines and vertically across education and career stages. The labels are meant to have continuity, so are not only useful in depicting learning from a task but also bridging past, present, and future learning.
- One measurement, Skill Points, is meant to capture the overall learning of a task in a single number. Using Skill Points, time taken, and cost, a student can make an immediate ROI on any education resource.
- A platform to ‘stack credentials’.
The whole matter of ‘tracking’ is unobtrusive, controllable by the user, and (with validated labels) has significance. It is unobtrusive meaning a user simply finds the label, consumes the resources, and stores the label in a collection. (If the student is at a store, simply scan a QR code to access the label.)
A series of labels, representing completed tasks, assignments, and experiences, is a convincing way to track lifelong learning. Later, the data collected from a label and interpolated over time provides valuable insights regarding personal learning. This has advantages:
- Measuring and using skill competencies creates agile workers. For any career change, a worker accesses a current learning path (data from a collection of labels), finds gaps in skills, and then fills them. (Faster and more efficient than going back to get a degree.)
- Students / professionals have access to the learning resources that impacted them the most.
- Shareable with a counselor, teacher, mentor or supervisor as a personalized learning track.