Using Skills and Skill Points to Define and Quantify Learning

Yesterday read an article on how our current administration is suggesting policy with nutritional labels – placing them on the front instead of the back of packaging; each of the last four administrations conducted policy regarding nutritional labels. Their utility in building consumer awareness cannot be overstated.

The inspiration for learning labels formulized as I was working on tasking in an application (Skills Based Approach). I wanted to reduce typing of information for each task, so with a learning label, one person creates the label, and the information becomes available to all the users.

I hear the remark: “So these Skills Labels (learning 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 (some of the observations in an article published by Syracuse University). And these are also target attributes of learning labels.

Learning labels have significant other attributes:

  • Optimized for a digital experience. They are interactive, scalable vector graphics that appear well on any device.
  • Data can be interpolated over time. As learners consume resources, the data collected from the learning labels becomes available.
  • Link to education / training standards. Most set of standards should work with learning labels.
  • Learning gain calculated as a number. Each label has calculated Skill Points® to represent learning (the return part of a ROI).
  • Interface to manage labels. Separate interfaces for learners and practitioners to manage labels.

Back to the nutritional label discussion. Could there be similar value with learning labels? Learning is digital, online, mobile, and immersive, so there is a current need for a standard representation of learning expectations; this does not mean to standardize the learning itself, but rather, how it is represented. How do we track learning across education, higher education, and career stages? How do we verify learning resources do what they are supposed to (now games, VR, etc.)? Is it possible to put learners in control?

A big leap (and why our platform is patent allowed) was to design a learning label so skills and Skill Points are the primary focus to quantify and define learning for a task or experience. Sure, at this stage, someone might argue quantifying calories, vitamins, fat, carbs, and protein is based on pure scientific measurements and currently, defining and quantifying skills and Skill Points requires some level of interpretation (by practitioners and peer reviewers). But in the future, with more science, data, and standards to work with, it is not unrealistic to propose learning labels get there (and we do in our patent applications).

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