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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What is Needed to Learn Skills

Some recent trends and highlights.

  • Explosive growth in online learning platforms. The market will increase from $107 Billion in 2015 to $325 Billion in 2025. Skills Based Approach is well suited for a digital classroom.
  • (Higher) Skills Gap for jobs requiring a college degree. Employers say students do not have the required skills. According to a Gallup survey: companies 33% disagree and 34% are neutral to the statement higher education graduates have the skills my ‘business needs’.
  • (Middle) Skills Gap for jobs requiring less than a college degree. According to the National Skills Coalition’s analysis of BLS 2015 data, “middle-skill jobs account for 53% of United States’ labor market, but only 43% of the country’s workers are trained to the middle-skill level”.
  • New programs to build skills more effectively and efficiently. There are: extended education programs where schools are aligned with companies (like P-Tech); boot camps (such as coding camps); traditional and new-age apprenticeships; micro-credentials and nano-degrees; and direct paths to certifications.
  • Competency based learning programs. Many higher education institutions are transitioning from degrees based on credit hours to competencies.
  • Progress with Common Core and NGSS standards in K-12. Learning standards create transparency and anchor learning expectations. Most states have adopted Common Core; some have replaced them with their own variant. Regardless, states are adopting learning standards based on foundation skills.
  • Gamification – learning by applying skills- is more common in classrooms and offices alike. It had a market value of $2 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $20.9 billion in 2026.
  • Badging. Students and professionals are using digital badges to validate their skills.

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Where Superintendents Stand on Key Issues

Where Superintendents Stand on Key Issues.png

I was excited to read Gallup’s national survey of superintendents because I have respect for the people behind the position and am keenly interested in how they are aligned on key issues in K-12 education. Most superintendents are highly educated and have decades of experience in education. Here are some insights from this Gallup report:

Like in higher education, high schools are increasingly playing an active role in ‘workforce development’. A primary goal remains preparing students for higher education: two and four year degrees. Although there is a recognition of alternatives: apprenticeships, boot camps, microcredentials, and training programs. According to the survey, thirty-five percent of school districts are partnering with employers who ‘recruit students directly out of high school into full-time jobs’ and seventy-three percent of school districts are ‘partnering with area businesses or institutions to help promote career and vocational training’.

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Workforce Strategy Focuses on Skills

Workforce Strategy Focuses on Skills

The World Economic Forum released their 2018 Future of Jobs report. It is a survey of business executives representing many of the multinational companies around the world to get a pulse on their workforce strategies for the upcoming period 2018 to 2022. An overarching theme of the report is how technology – particularly ubiquitous high-speed internet, AI, adoption of big data analytics, and cloud technology – is pervasive and impacting every facet of a company’s workforce strategy; according to the report, there are “complex feedback loops between new technology, jobs, and skills”…

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How Long Does it Take to Learn a Skill

A Skills Culture is about committing to learn and apply skills properly. As I rally practitioners and learners around this mindset, important questions someone might ask are: How long does it take to learn a skill? How long is the commitment? These are good questions for someone who is expected to spend time and resources towards learning a skill.

Before getting into the details, it is worth defining the commitment – a central premise behind Skills Culture:

You commit to learning a skill each step of the way. This could be on a project or even a task level. You might learn a skill for your own personal needs or wants, what’s needed for a project or job, or what’s needed for a career. Regardless, you do not have to become a master of the skill. (If it is not required learning) pivot into learning other skills if you are unsuccessful or do not want to continue.

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